Almirola edges Allgaier for Xfinity win
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[July 02, 2016]
By Reid Spencer, NASCAR Wire Service
Distributed by The Sports Xchange
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Aric Almirola
won his second NASCAR XFINITY Series race by much less than a nose.
But to the driver of the No. 98 Fred Biagi-owned Ford, that was a
vast improvement over his first victory in the series--when he
wasn't even in the car when the race ended.
In Friday night's Subway Firecracker 400 at Daytona International
Speedway, Almirola was inches ahead of Justin Allgaier off the final
corner in overtime when NASCAR called the eighth caution of the race
and froze the field because of a wild wreck on the backstretch
involving polesitter David Ragan.
Though Almirola was credited with a 2007 win at the Milwaukee Mile,
where he started the race in place of Denny Hamlin, who was
commuting from the Sprint Cup venue at Sonoma. But Hamlin took the
checkered flag after taking over the car, and Almirola has never
felt the win was rightfully his.
"I'm so glad to be back in Victory Lane here at Daytona," Almirola
said. "This is such a special place for me. I won my first Cup race
here two years ago, and for me, this is my first XFINITY win. I know
I have a win, but there's always been an asterisk next to it...
"I hated the fact that I got credit for that. When they called me
the winner, I didn't want any of the credit. (Crew chief) Dave
Rogers actually got the trophy. They tried to give me the trophy,
but I didn't want it. I didn't think I deserved to win the race,
because I wasn't in the car when the race was over.
"But tonight I was. Tonight we went to Victory Lane, and I'm here,
and I was in the car--so this is my first XFINITY win."
Almirola already was one of 26 drivers who have won at least one
race in each of NASCAR's top three series. Now he can feel good
Allgaier, on the other hand was on the short end of the video that
showed Almirola in the lead when the caution was called.
"When you lose 'em by that little bit, it's frustrating," said
Allgaier, who estimated he lost the event by "a sixteenth of a foot.
"But when you're disappointed with second, it's still a good day...
Man, when you're that close, it's really, really tough. We'll
keeping digging. At some point we've got to maybe pull one of these
Ryan Sieg finished third, matching the career-best result he
achieved in this race two years ago. Joey Logano led a race-high 46
of 103 laps but was shuffled back with fewer than 20 laps left and
recovered to run fourth. Brendan Gaughan came home fifth.
Ragan led the field to green to start the overtime but quickly lost
his drafting partner and surrendered the top spot. Subbing for Matt
Tifft, who had come out of brain surgery for a tumor just before the
race began, Ragan tried to block the outside lane on the final lap
and finished 21st in a demolished Toyota.
"I was kind of a sitting duck," Ragan said. "My teammate, Erik
Jones, did a great job on that white-flag lap, but we just got
separated. And I didn't really know that third lane was coming as
fast as they were, and I saw that the 98 (Almirola) and the 7
(Allgaier) had a decent run, but I thought I could block the very
top, and you only have so much room.
"That was just a product of speedway racing."
Points leader Daniel Suarez was the victim of a hard crash into the
inside SAFER barrier on the backstretch on Lap 49 and finished 32nd
but maintained a six-point lead in the standings over Elliott
Sadler, who had to pit for fuel before the overtime and came home
NASCAR XFINITY Series Race -- Subway Firecracker 250 Powered by
Daytona International Speedway
Daytona Beach, Florida
Friday, July 01, 2016
1. (23) Aric Almirola(i), Ford, 103.
2. (7) Justin Allgaier, Chevrolet, 103.
3. (30) Ryan Sieg, Chevrolet, 103.
4. (4) Joey Logano(i), Ford, 103.
5. (17) Brendan Gaughan, Chevrolet, 103.
6. (14) Ryan Reed, Ford, 103.
[to top of second column]
7. (18) Jeff Green, Toyota, 103.
8. (27) Spencer Gallagher(i), Chevrolet, 103.
9. (15) Chase Elliott(i), Chevrolet, 103.
10. (3) Erik Jones #, Toyota, 103.
11. (24) Ross Chastain, Chevrolet, 103.
12. (26) Dakoda Armstrong, Toyota, 103.
13. (39) Garrett Smithley #, Chevrolet, 103.
14. (11) Ty Dillon, Chevrolet, 103.
15. (37) Ryan Ellis, Chevrolet, 103.
16. (32) Jeremy Clements, Chevrolet, 103.
17. (19) JJ Yeley, Toyota, 103.
18. (9) Elliott Sadler, Chevrolet, 103.
19. (34) Joey Gase, Chevrolet, 103.
20. (6) Darrell Wallace Jr., Ford, 103.
21. (1) David Ragan(i), Toyota, 103.
22. (16) Blake Koch, Chevrolet, 103.
23. (12) Benny Gordon, Toyota, 102.
24. (31) Bobby Gerhart, Chevrolet, 102.
25. (35) Scott Lagasse Jr., Ford, 100.
26. (8) Brennan Poole #, Chevrolet, Accident, 97.
27. (33) David Starr, Chevrolet, Accident, 96.
28. (2) Austin Dillon(i), Chevrolet, 96.
29. (13) Brandon Jones #, Chevrolet, 82.
30. (10) Corey LaJoie, Toyota, Oil Leak, 73.
31. (20) Mark Thompson, Toyota, Engine, 57.
32. (5) Daniel Suarez, Toyota, Accident, 48.
33. (22) Mario Gosselin, Chevrolet, Oil Leak, 47.
34. (28) Ryan Preece #, Chevrolet, Engine, 42.
35. (29) Morgan Shepherd, Chevrolet, Rear Gear, 28.
36. (25) Joe Nemechek(i), Toyota, Accident, 14.
37. (21) Justin Marks, Chevrolet, Accident, 14.
38. (38) Alex Guenette, Chevrolet, Accident, 9.
39. (36) Ray Black Jr. #, Chevrolet, Accident, 8.
40. (40) BJ McLeod #, Ford, Engine, 1.
Average Speed of Race Winner: 121.192 mph.
Time of Race: 2 Hrs, 07 Mins, 29 Secs. Margin of Victory: Caution.
Caution Flags: 8 for 33 laps.
Lead Changes: 19 among 12 drivers.
Lap Leaders: D. Ragan(i) 1-3; A. Dillon(i) 4-13; J. Logano(i) 14; E.
Sadler 15-17; M. Thompson 18; M. Shepherd 19; T. Dillon 20-22; J.
Logano(i) 23-44; R. Chastain 45-46; B. Gaughan 47; J. Logano(i)
48-68; J. Allgaier 69-71; E. Sadler 72; J. Logano(i) 73; E. Sadler
74-80; J. Logano(i) 81; C. Elliott(i) 82-86; A. Almirola(i) 87; D.
Ragan(i) 88-102; A. Almirola(i) 103;.
Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led): J. Logano(i) 5 times
for 46 laps; D. Ragan(i) 2 times for 18 laps; E. Sadler 3 times for
11 laps; A. Dillon(i) 1 time for 10 laps; C. Elliott(i) 1 time for 5
laps; J. Allgaier 1 time for 3 laps; T. Dillon 1 time for 3 laps; R.
Chastain 1 time for 2 laps; A. Almirola(i) 2 times for 2 laps; M.
Shepherd 1 time for 1 lap; B. Gaughan 1 time for 1 lap; M. Thompson
1 time for 1 lap.
Top 10 in Points: D. Suarez -- 499; E. Sadler -- 493; T. Dillon --
483; J. Allgaier -- 462; B. Gaughan -- 449; E. Jones # -- 442; B.
Jones # -- 429; B. Poole # -- 422; D. Wallace Jr. -- 394; R. Reed --
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