Teammate tussle: Allgaier holds off Sadler for first Dover win

Justin Allgaier holds up a $100,000 check after winning the Dash For Cash during the OneMainFinancial 200 Xfinity Series at Dover International Speedway on Saturday.
Delaware State News/Marc Clery

DOVER — The pressure was increasing on Justin Allgaier with each passing lap in Saturday’s OneMain Financial 200 Xfinity Series race at Dover International Speedway.

Elliott Sadler, Allgaier’s veteran JR Motorsports teammate, was breathing down his neck as both were battling for a $100,000 Xfinity Dash for Cass bonus check.

Allgaier did not succumb to the pressure but, rather, displayed nerves of steel as he was able to hold off a charging Sadler coming off the final corner on the last lap to join the Xfinity Series winner’s list at Dover.

With the lapped car of Joe Nemechek running in front of the lead duo on the final lap, Sadler tried to drive underneath Allgaier in the fourth turn, but his car lost traction and tapped the rear of the leader’s car.

Justin Allgaier crosses the finish line to win the OneMainFinancial 200 Xfinity Series at Dover International Speedway on Saturday. Delaware State News/Marc Clery

Algaier bounced off the outside wall but held onto his car enough and raced down the frontstretch to fulfil his goal.

“I thought we gave it away boys … I thought we gave it away,” Algaier said to his race team over his radio following the race.

It turned to be far from giving it away for Allgaier, the 31-year-old driver of the No. 7 SiteOne Landscape Supply Chevrolet.

“Unfortunately, I thought (Nemechek) was going to go to the bottom and he went to the top and I got on my brakes and almost spun myself out,” Algaier said. “But it was a good race and I couldn’t ask for anything better.”

Algaier did have one regret – that his wife and daughter were unable to attend the memorable race.

“You can never think about these finishes and the way they are going to come, but when we were coming to the checkered, even though I was in the fence, I was thinking that I was really disappointed that they weren’t able to come,” he said. “It was fantastic. It was so much fun out there.”

Justin Allgaier does a burnout after winning Saturday’s race.

Sadler managed to come home in second place, 0.306 of a second behind the winner, and was followed by Daniel Hemric, Christopher Bell and Tyler Reddick, who started the race at the rear of the field.

Sadler said it would have been an entirely different story if Allgaier wasn’t his teammate.

“It would have been a different outcome,” Sadler said.

He spent the final 15 laps trying to figure out where he could pass Allgaier.

“On the last lap going into turn three I just figured I was going to do the opposite of what (Allgaier) was going to do, but we really didn’t know which way the lapped cars were going to go, so we went into turn three and I saw him roll the middle, so I just rolled the bottom and slammed the gas,” Sadler said.

“I tried to get up under him but I got loose. If I’d have stayed in the gas I definitely would have wrecked both of us pretty hard. The biggest thing was just trying to figure out a way to win the race. My team deserves it. We’ve been too good all year long not to have a checkered flag.”

The victory was Allgaier’s sixth in 250 Xfinity Series starts, but his first this season. He became the 10th different winner in 10 Xfinity races this year.

Allgaier led three times for a total of 104 laps, including the final 68 circuits around the high-banked, one-mile oval. Sadler paced the field three times for 33 laps.

“Elliott (Sadler) and I had a great race, especially there at the end, it was fantastic,” Allgaier said. “The amount of respect that Elliott showed me out there was great.

“Obviously we got together there coming to the checkered, but I expected that. He had to do what he had to do and we had to do what we had to do.”

The race took two hours, four minutes and 30 seconds to complete at an average speed of 98.06 mph. It was slowed by eight caution periods for 45 laps, including two for breaks in the three-stage race.

With only three former Xfinity Series winners at Dover in the field for the race, the odds were good that a new driver would get to enter victory lane.

Hemric was hoping it would be him as he watched Allgaier and Sadler go at it in the closing laps.

“I was in striking position putting myself in the best possible scenario just in case they did get together and in case they did run out of race track,” Hemric said. “They tried to do that. The racing all day was pretty spectacular.”

It turned out to be extra spectacular for Allgaier, who happily accepted his first monster trophy in victory lane.

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