The Lilly Diabetes 250 NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway may have been delayed by rain for two days, but that wasn’t enough to break the magical run Justin Allgaier is enjoying.
Holding off JR Motorsports teammate Tyler Reddick after grabbing the lead on Lap 84 of 100 in Monday’s event, Allgaier collected his fifth victory of the season, his third in the last five races and — perhaps most important — his first at the vaunted Brickyard.
“We won Indy — how cool is that?” Allgaier exulted on the team radio after powering his No. 7 Chevrolet across the finish line .092 seconds ahead of Reddick. “You guys (his team) are awesome. That’s all I can say. The car was phenomenal.
“I know that (Indianapolis) has given me a lot of headaches and a lot of grief over the years, but we just won Indy — how cool is that?”
The victory was the 10th of Allgaier’s career. With one race left before the cutoff for the NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoffs (Saturday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway), Allgaier moved significantly closer to the regular-season title and accompanying bonus of 15 playoff points.
He currently leads Cole Custer, second in the series standings, by 49 points. Custer suffered a jarring wreck into the inside wall after turning his Ford into the Toyota of Brandon Jones on Lap 72. Custer finished 29th but maintained a three-point advantage over third-place Christopher Bell, who faded to seventh on Monday after restarting second on Lap 84.
Allgaier dedicated the victory to his father, who helped develop Allgaier’s off-track sophistication by bringing him to Toastmasters classes for young drivers at a hotel near the speedway.
“This one is for my dad, because at Brickyard Crossing up there, he drove me up here every Wednesday night during the winter, so that I could take classes to be the best that I could be, not only inside the car but outside the car,” Allgaier said.
“It was about three-and-a-half hours, and he drove me here every Wednesday night, so hats off to him.”
Ryan Blaney finished third after starting from the pole in his No. 22 Team Penske Ford. Chase Elliott came home fourth, followed by Daniel Hemric, as Chevrolets claimed four of the top five positions.
Reddick wanted to wait until the final lap to battle his teammate for the victory, but he never got a run on the final circuit.
“I didn’t want to cost me and Justin a first- and second-place finish,” Reddick said. “I wanted it to be off Turn 4, preferably on the last lap… Unfortunately, I didn’t get the run I needed on that last lap.
“I really should have taken it with two (laps) to go, but I was unsure. I really didn’t want to mess up either one of our days.”
Elliott Sadler saw his hopes for a regular-season title disappear on Lap 23, when Ty Dillon spun in Turn 3 and carried Sadler’s Chevrolet into the outside wall.
“We’re done,” radioed Sadler, who fell out of the race in 35th place and dropped to fifth in the standings, 69 points behind Allgaier.
Austin Cindric, 12th in the standings and currently in the last playoff-eligible position, fell out of the race after running through the grass and tearing the splitter off his No. 12 Ford, trying to avoid the Sadler wreck. Cindric finished 34th but remained 57 points ahead of 13th-place Michael Annett, who ran 31st.