By: Zach Catanzareti, Staff Writer
With 25 laps to go in Saturday’s Xfinity Series race from Texas Motor Speedway, the playoff grid in its entirety took a shuffle. And it included bent metal, spinning cars, and Justin Allgaier and Ross Chastain right in the middle of it.
As the two occupied the front row on the late restart with 25 to go, Allgaier got a push from Austin Cindric as they entered Turn 1. With excess of speed caused Allgaier to break loose and slide into Chastain’s No. 10.
Keeping it straight, Chastain soon turned down into Allgaier’s No. 7 Chevrolet, turning himself and Brandon Jones in a multi-car crash down the backstretch.
Allgaier suffered damage after getting impacted by Jones and Jeremy Clements.
“The No. 22 [Cindric] gave me a great push down the frontstretch, almost too good,” Allgaier said. “I knew turning to the bottom wasn’t going to be an option. I let it slide up a little bit, obviously, Ross got to my right-rear corner panel.
“But then from there… Ross just being stupid. We get to the middle of the backstretch and he’s upset that we’re losing time and he decides to hang a left and wreck the whole field.”
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Allgaier and Chastain had a run-in earlier in the race, with the latter being bumped out of the way at the end of Stage 1.
“It’s a shame our car got torn up but also everyone else’s,” he said. “I’m sure he’ll have some apology — knowing Ross, he’ll probably say that he meant to do it.”
Forced to retire from the event, Allgaier took a 26th-place finish after leading 35 laps on the day. With playoff driver Noah Gragson losing the race win in the final corner, Allgaier benefited, sitting third in points, eight points above the cutline with one race remaining in the Round of 8.
The top four in points following next week’s race at Martinsville Speedway advance to the Championship 4 at Phoenix Raceway.
“We’re really proud of this team JR Motorsports,” he said. “To have that fast of a racecar all day and out our Camaro out front — obviously, we needed some track position at the end there.
“We’re not as good heading into Martinsville next week as we would have if the results hadn’t been the way they are. We’ll see what happens next week. We have a good short track program at JRM. We’ll keep digging.”