Justin Allgaier earned what he described as an emotional win Saturday at Martinsville Speedway in the NASCAR Xfinity Series.
Not only did he earn his sixth Championship Four berth in eight seasons but Allgaier earned his first win at Martinsville, a place he said he wanted to win at.
Not everyone was as happy as Allgaier and his team were post-race. The Championship Four battle tossed the concept of teammates out the window.
RICHARD CHILDRESS RACING
During the second overtime, Austin Hill and teammate Sheldon Creed restarted side-by-side – Creed up high and Hill down low.
In turn one, Hill drifted up the track into Creed. Creed, needing to win to get into the Championship Four, bumped Hill and sent him up the track in turn three.
When that didn’t work, Creed repeated the move in turn one and got underneath Hill.
Creed and Hill raced side-by-side down the backstretch. Then, Creed jumped out to the lead but backed up the corner and caused Hill to run into him.
While Hill crashed with a busted radiator, Allgaier snuck to the inside of Creed.
By 0.032 seconds, Allgaier dashed the hopes Sheldon Creed – and RCR – had for making the Championship Four.
“I thought we had it coming to the checkers but I don’t know. I’m not proud of racing like that but, a shot at a Championship Four,” Creed said. “He [Austin Hill]’s going to be mad but I want to fight for my guys all the way until the end.”
Sheldon Creed was right about Hill.
“I’m pretty excited for him to go to his next adventure at Gibbs and I don’t have to put up with him anymore,” Hill said.
After entering turn three in second with a chance at getting into the Championship Four on points, Austin Hill finished 21st and missed it by seven points.
“He didn’t give me a chance going into 3 or going into 1. It’s just uncalled for that to happen. And then to have neither of the RCR guys make the final four is just frustrating,” Hill said.
Team owner Richard Childress was even more frustrated. Dustin Long, of NBC Sports, captured Childress’s unfettered post-race frustration in one quote.
JOE GIBBS RACING
On the final restart, Sammy Smith’s Joe Gibbs Racing teammate, John Hunter Nemechek, appeared to block Smith as he tried making a move to the inside.
Nemechek locked into the Championship Four after stage two. Smith was -44 points to the cutline and needed to win to get into the Championship Four.
“They were telling me that he [John Hunter Nemechek] wasn’t going to make any enemies. I asked him if he was going to choose the top, and he said he wasn’t going to do that. I had a good run on him and he went to block me down to the bottom,” Smith said.
Nemechek will race for a championship at Phoenix Raceway next Saturday. Meanwhile, Smith will make his final start for Joe Gibbs Racing.
“He didn’t want to make any enemies, but I’m really frustrated right now. He definitely made one. I’m not going to let that one go, and we will see how things go,” Smith stated.
|Start of OT No. 2||Exiting Turn 3/Final Lap||Finish of Race/OT No. 2|
|Austin Hill (Leader)||Sheldon Creed (Leader)||Justin Allgaier (Winner)|
|Cole Custer +3||Cole Custer +1||Cole Custer +7|
|Justin Allgaier -3||Austin Hill -1||Austin Hill -7|
|Sammy Smith -42||Justin Allgaier -2||Sammy Smith -29|
|Sheldon Creed -65||Sammy Smith -44||Sheldon Creed -53|
|Chandler Smith -85||Chandler Smith -86||Chandler Smith -72|
While Cole Custer, John Hunter Nemechek, Justin Allgaier and Sam Mayer will race for the NASCAR Xfinity Series championship November 4 at Phoenix Raceway, the other eight playoff drivers are ranked as follows:
5. Austin Hill 2229
6. Sammy Smith 2215
7. Daniel Hemric 2208
8. Parker Kligerman 2188
9. Sheldon Creed 2187
10. Chandler Smith 2176
11. Josh Berry 2137
12. Jeb Burton 2101