By David Morgan, NASCAR Editor
For the second year in a row, Justin Allgaier found himself in the lead late at Richmond International Raceway only to not end the day in victory lane. In Saturday’s ToyotaCare 250, Allgaier was the dominant car throughout the event, but came up short of his second win of the season, having to settle for a second-place finish instead.
Taking the lead for the first time at lap 27 after starting in sixth place, Allgaier would finish the first stage in second place behind Austin Dillon, leading 11 laps in the first 75 laps.
Allgaier re-took the lead on the initial restart for the second stage and would lead 69 of the next 75 laps, taking the stage win, his first of the season. The dominance he showed in the second stage would continue into the final stage as he held onto the lead for another 77 laps, bringing his laps led total to 157, which surpassed his previous best of 102 laps led at Iowa in 2012.
As Allgaier was setting sail out front, caution would come out with 10 laps remaining in regulation for fluid on track from BJ McLeod, changing the entire complexion of the remainder of the race.
Ty Dillon would win the race off of pit road, but after jumping the subsequent restart, was forced to drop to the back of the pack when the next caution flew at lap 247 for a six-car crash in Turn 3, sending the race into overtime.
Kyle Larson and Allgaier would line up on the front row for the final restart, with Larson getting the early lead after Allgaier bobbled in Turn 1. However, Allgaier was able to recover and was quickly making up ground on Larson heading down the backstretch.
But Allgaier would not get the chance to try and get past Larson over the final lap and a half as a spin by Ryan Reed on the backstretch brought out the yellow once the leaders had passed the overtime line, freezing the field and ending the race with Larson in the lead and Allgaier in second.
“The restart before the last one, we got one taken away from us and unfortunately there at the end, there was so much confusion on that last green-white-checkered,” said Allgaier. “The caution lights were on, but we were still racing back to the line. It’s just really, really disappointing. These guys at JR Motorsports don’t deserve that. Just hats off to these guys on the crew, they did a great job all weekend. All of our partners at JR Motorsports, Hendrick engines, Chevrolet, just everybody that’s a part of this race team.”
Despite not ending the day with a win, the day was not a complete loss as Allgaier was able to capture his second Dash4Cash bonus of the season, bringing home a $100,000 payday to his JR Motorsports team.
“First of all, hats off to Comcast and Xfinity for all of their support,” Allgaier said. “To win $100,000 Dash4Cash, obviously, this is something that we set out to do when we got here this weekend. Unfortunately, there at the end, the best car doesn’t always win the race. This Brandt Professional Agriculture Chevrolet was awesome today and I really hate it for the guys.”
“It’s been really, really fun and you know, it’s bittersweet today, I’ll be honest with you, it’s very bittersweet. I’m very dejected, I won’t lie to you, but, yeah, that one hurts. That’s going to hurt for a long time, but a huge thank you again to everybody on this team.”
Heading to next weekend’s race at Talladega Superspeedway, Allgaier sits second in points, 41 points in arears of his JR Motorsports teammate Elliott Sadler.
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