NASCAR notebook: Allgaier happy to win again

Justin Allgaier celebrates his Xfinity Series win. Special to the State News/Chuck Snyder

DOVER — There were times when Justin Allgaier thought about walking away.

That’s how tough things have been for the NASCAR Xfinity Series driver, who hadn’t won since last fall.

“It’s been tough, mentally, physically, emotionally,” said Allgaier. “In the last six months, I’ve told my wife 10 times I don’t know if I want to be a race car driver anymore. You get to a point where you can tell it weighs on you where it’s not beneficial.

“You never know when the next win is coming. These races are harder and harder and the talent level is insane.”

But Allgaier’s outlook on life was definitely a lot brighter after he picked up a win at Dover International Speedway on Saturday afternoon.

Allgaier led a race-high 120 laps on his way to a victory in the Drydene 200 on the Monster Mile.

Allgaier topped Austin Cindric by 1.977 seconds to earn his first victory since Nov. 9 at Phoenix and second career Dover win. He was near the lead throughout the race, after winning Stage 2 and finishing third in Stage 1.

“We didn’t do anything crazy today,” Allgaier said. “We were solid on pit road. We made good adjustments. We didn’t get excited, even when we lost track position.”

The final stage featured a compelling battle between Allgaier and Cindric, who has won five of the last seven Xfinity races. The duo started side by side on the race’s final restart on Lap 168, but Allgaier had a solid jump at the green flag and pulled away for the win.

Cindric, who led 49 laps, was followed by Ross Chastain in third, Noah Gragson (27 laps led) in fourth and rookie Harrison Burton in fifth.

“I had a great battle there with Justin,” said Cindric, who leads the NASCAR Xfinity Series standings by 72 points over Chase Briscoe. “Obviously, he wanted it really bad. I knew that it wasn’t going to be an easy pass, so hopefully we can take it to him tomorrow. I mean, he drove the wheels off that thing.”

The Xfinity field will be right back on the track today for a second Drydene 200. The race is slated to start at 1 p.m.

Allgaier hopes his momentum can carry over.

“Since we came back, we’ve had a lot of really good days that ended with poor finishes,” said Jason Burdett, Allgaier’s crew chief. “Some of that was on me or we had a bad pit stop or pit call. We’ve managed to stick together well. We’ve been together now for five or six years. It’s the same core group. We’re all in this together.

“Dover’s been a really good place for us to come and put together a solid day and give ourselves the opportunity to break out of the funk we’ve been in the last four or five months.”

Kurt Busch exits early

Kurt Busch’s race lasted just seven laps on Saturday.

Busch’s car hit the inside wall on the back straightaway after it was nudged from behind by Erik Jones.

Busch started the day ninth in points but now hasn’t had a top-10 finish in his last five races.

Moses to lead Nashville

Dover Motorsports officials announced on Saturday that Erik Moses has been named president of Nashville Superspeedway.

Moses most recently served as the founding president of the XFL’s DC Defenders (2019-20), where the team was in first place in the Eastern Division and ranked among the league’s best in ticket sales.

“I have long admired NASCAR for its commitment to the fan experience and am thrilled to have the opportunity to create the optimal race day experience that NASCAR fans deserve in a market that has such a rich history with the sport,” Moses said.

“Nashville is one of the hottest markets for sports, entertainment and live events in the entire country and I look forward to working with local stakeholders and partners to leverage that momentum to establish the Superspeedway as a premier live events venue serving the greater Nashville region.”

Prior to the XFL and following several roles in private and corporate legal practice, Moses had an extensive career across a variety of sports leadership and city government positions around Washington D.C.

Dover Motorsports announced this summer that the 1.33-mile concrete track and surrounding 700 acres in Lebanon, Tenn., will be reopening in June 2021.

Dover honors Johnson

Jimmie Johnson, who is retiring as a full-time Cup driver after this season, was honored by Dover this weekend.

The all-time winner on the Monster Mile received:

• A permanent recognition on Dover’s Victory Lane, honoring Johnson as “The Monster Mile Master.” The display recognizes his 11 wins and lists each of his Dover triumphs.

• A road outside the frontstretch grandstands, previously known as Finish Line Drive, has been renamed Jimmie Johnson Drive.

• Today 11 huge Jimmie Johnson heads will be on display in the grandstands, one for each of his record 11 Dover victories.

• A billboard overlooking Turn 2 proclaims “Thanks, Jimmie.”

“Just a big thank you to all the fans for their support,” Johnson said. “I’m not sure this will be my last time to Dover. If it is, just thank you for the memories and the support. The track has meant so much to me.

“I love that area as well. I really enjoyed my time cycling or going out to eat at the various restaurants around town. So, thank you for welcoming me to your area and I’ve truly enjoyed all the success that I’ve had there.”

Home turf

Zane Smith is starting to feel like Dover is pretty fun place to visit.

The 21-year-old was born in Huntington Beach, Calif. before his parents moved to New Jersey. Smith won the KDI Office Technology 200 Truck series race on Friday at the Monster Mile.

“I’ve watched this place since I was seven years old,” Smith said. “I made my debut here in a Xfinity Series car last year.

“I love how you have to search around and look for grip. It’s a lot of fun. I always circle this place on the calendar, whenever I get the chance to run here.”