AJ Allmendinger was wrecked on the final lap by Ross Chastain handing Justin Haley the XFINITY Wawa 250 victory
You can always expect the unexpected in a race at Daytona International Speedway. A last-lap wreck took out the apparent winner, AJ Allmendinger, and it was a teammate that did it. A third member of the team, Justin Haley, would slip through and capture the XFINITY Wawa 250.
“Just a little lucky there, I got shucked out and I was a little frustrated but that’s why you never give up,” Haley said. “These things are so unpredictable.”
AJ Allmendinger got turned by Ross Chastain, and instead of finishing 1-2, the pair would end up 5th and 16th, respectively.
“I try to take care of my teammates, but it is what it is and it was going for the win,” said Allmendinger. “Ross is going for the championship and going for the win there. I saw him get low and thought maybe he would take care of me a little bit considering I was there. But he’s going for the win. It is what it is and just disappointing because we were going to have another one-two-three Kaulig finish at Daytona.”
Rounding out the top-five was Gray Gaulding, who tied his best-ever finish, Chase Briscoe, Riley Herbst, and Harrison Burton. There were only 14 cars on the lead laps at the end.
For Haley, it was his second XFINITY Series win of the year. He was a surprise winner in the Cup Series Coke Zero Sugar 400 a year ago in just his third career Cup Series start.
Kaulig Racing was on its way to taking the first three spots in a race that had more than one ‘Big One.’ But the team was able to avoid all the carnage until Chastain took out Allmendinger.
Chastain was unapologetic. “Coming to the checkered, what am I supposed to do? Finish second? I hope we get some good ratings on that one.”
Riley Herbst was supposed to start tenth, but prerace tech found an improperly mounted ballast. He started in the rear and had to serve a pass-through penalty, and NASCAR ejected his crew chief. Ryan Sieg (14th), Josh Williams (20), and Tim Viens (36th) failed inspection multiple times. They will keep their starting spots, but lose pit selection next week.
XFINITY Wawa 250 RACE BREAKDOWN – Lap 1-30
LAP 1: Chase Briscoe, with six wins this season, and Ross Chastain led the field to green. Clean start. Herbst serves pass-through and remains on the lead lap. He was 42-seconds in arrears when the first caution came out.
LAP 6: (Becomes competition caution – scheduled for Lap 10) Jeffrey Earnhardt tangles with Joe Graf Jr. destroying his No. 08 Chevy, leaving parts of his car all over the backstretch. Caesar Bacarella also suffered damage to his No. 90 Camaro. No free pass. Restart Lap 12.
LAP 13: After making it back to the track after being involved in the Lap 6 incident, Bacarella brings out the second caution of the evening, making contact with the wall in Turn 3, coming to a stop on the infield grass. John Jackson I the No. 66 Toyota slowed on the track and failed to return to the race. No free pass. Restart Lap 18.
LAP 24: After Justin Haley took the lead two laps earlier, three cars mixed it up in Turn 1 for the third caution. Earnhardt (No. 0), Vanderwal (No. 52) damage was terminal. BJ McLeod (No. 6) was dragging his rear panel. All three cars were Camaros. No free pass. Restart with one to go in Stage 1.
LAP 30: End Stage 1 with Justin Haley opened up a big lead after the restart but was able to hold off several challengers at the green-white checkers. Seven cars did not pit (T Hill, Labbe, Allmendinger, Williams, Moffitt, Sieg, Snider). No free pass. Restart Lap 35.
XFINITY Wawa 250 RACE BREAKDOWN – Laps 39-51
LAP 39: Multi-car wreck. Brandon Jones comes down the track on the nose of Chase Briscoe, triggering a pileup involving 13 cars. Others who were involved: Hemric, Gragson, Moffitt, Allgaier, Alfredo, Brown, Labbe, Howard, Martins, Snider, and Annett. No free pass. Restart Lap 46.
LAP 45: **RED FLAG** (Fluid on the track) Justin Allgaier blows a rear tire, spins, and begins another chain reaction accident. Labbe, Clements, Brown, Snider, and Gase suffered new or more damage to their cars. At the time of the red flag, Allmendinger was the race leader. Daniel Hemric is the first driver to receive a free pass.
LAP 46: Red Flag lifted. Time of stoppage 11:22. At this point in the XFINITY Wawa 250, there have been more cautions (6) than lead changes (5). Restart Lap 48.
LAP 51: Debris on backstretch brings out the eighth yellow. Allmendinger still in the lead. A dozen cars were officially out of the race (Brown, Moffitt, Gase, Allgaier, Labbe, Gragson, McLeod, Earnhardt, Vanderwal, Jackson, Bacarella, and Graf). Brandon Jones gets the free pass. Restart Lap 56 with 25 cars on the lead lap.
XFINITY Wawa 250 RACE BREAKDOWN – FINAL LAPS
LAP 60: End Stage 2 with AJ Allmendinger crossing the line first after a last-lap pass followed by teammates Ross Chastain, and Austin Cindric from Kaulig Racing. No free pass. Eight cautions, eight lead changes. Restart Lap 65.
LAP 70: (30 to go) Kaulig Racing running 1-2-3 (Allmendinger, Chastain, and Haley) with Chase Briscoe and Josh Williams rounding out the top-five. Top-ten all within a second of each other but pulling away from the rest of the field. More than four seconds between P10 and P11 (stretched out to ten seconds with 20 to go). Sieg and Hemric black-flagged to make mandated repairs.
STAGE 1-2 TOP 10 FINISHERS – LAPS 30 / 60
1 – Haley, Chastain, Cindric, Brown, Briscoe, Herbst, Gragson, Allgaier, Jones, Hemric
2 – Allmendinger, Chastain, Haley, Gaulding, Annett, Herbst, Burton, Briscoe, Cindric, Sieg
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