AJ Allmendinger Dominates Xfinity Series Race At The Circuit Of The Americas

Holly Cain

NASCAR Wire Service

AJ Allmendinger celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Xfinity Series Pit Boss 250 at Circuit of The Americas Satuday (Photo: Logan Riely/Getty Images)

AUSTIN, Texas – A.J. Allmendinger was fast and agile when he needed to be Saturday afternoon negotiating the famed Circuit of The Americas and reminding the field just why he’s considered one of NASCAR’s road course superstars.

Allmendinger’s No. 16 Kaulig Racing Chevrolet took the checkered flag by 2.039-seconds over Austin Hill’s No. 21 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet in the first road course race of the year. It was the 40-year-old veteran’s first NASCAR Xfinity Series win of the 2022 season and 11th of his career. He has seven road course wins on six different road course tracks (series-most).

He led early and he led late, just when he needed to, holding off the field on two late, and dicey race restarts and controlling the race the final 14 laps en route to the checkered flag.

NASCAR Cup Series regular Cole Custer turned in an inspired comeback from a midrace pit road speeding penalty to finish third. JR Motorsports driver Noah Gragson was fourth – his sixth top-five finish in the seven-race season to date. Gragson’s teammate Sam Mayer finished fifth.

With their work, Allmendinger, Hill, Gragson and Mayer are now eligible to win a $100,000 bonus next week in the Dash 4 Cash sweepstakes opener at Richmond  (Va.) Raceway. The top finishing driver among them in the ToyotaCare 250 will take the check, courtesy of sponsor Comcast.

“I told myself yesterday, I was not happy with where I put ourselves,” said Allmendinger, who qualified fourth.

“Honestly, all these men and women here at Kaulig Racing between the Cup side of it and the Xfinity side of it, they don’t’ sleep during the week, they’re busting their tales and that’s why I’m so fricking hard on myself sometimes because they deserve to win more than anybody here. And I just want to do it for them. Thankfully, we got it done today.”

And it was not easy. Pole-winner Ty Gibbs and fellow NASCAR Cup Series drivers Ross Chastain and Custer joined Allmendinger at the front of the field for most of the early-going. Gibbs and Chastain exchanged the lead with Allmendinger, but both ultimately suffered setbacks during the course of the 46-lap race around the 3.41-mile, 20-turn circuit.

Gibbs’ Toyota suffered a flat time and put him well back in the field (36th place) after he was forced to pit during a green flag run, he recovered to finish 15th. Chastain ran among the front pack all the way until the end of the race when he was collected in an aggressive pack on the final race restart with seven laps remaining and finished 17th.

Myatt Snider finished sixth in a final lap duel with Mayer. Brett Moffitt finished seventh with Jade Buford, Miguel Paludo and Sheldon Creed – who won the pole position for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race earlier in the day rounded out the top 10.

The runner-up Hill was especially encouraged because he was able to keep Allmendinger honest in the closing laps.

“All in all, it was a solid effort for our Global Chevy Camaro,” Hill said, adding, “I’ve always felt like I could get around road courses. I felt like I proved it last year in the trucks winning at Watkins Glen and it just kind of build the momentum and the confidence going forward into this year that when we come to road courses, we can get the job done.

“I guess A.J. was just a little bit better than us, because I felt we had a really good car, but this shows we can run with AJ.”

With the showing at COTA, fourth-place finisher Gragson holds a single-point lead over Allmendinger in the Xfinity Series driver standings with Gibbs third, 31 points back.

The Xfinity Series’ next race is Saturday, April 2 at Richmond (Va.) Raceway (1:30 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

NASCAR Xfinity Series Race – 2nd Annual Pit Boss 250

Circuit of The Americas

Austin, Texas

Saturday, March 26, 2022

               1. (4)  AJ Allmendinger, Chevrolet, 46.

               2. (8)  Austin Hill #, Chevrolet, 46.

               3. (3)  Cole Custer(i), Ford, 46.

               4. (12)  Noah Gragson, Chevrolet, 46.

               5. (10)  Sam Mayer, Chevrolet, 46.

               6. (21)  Myatt Snider, Chevrolet, 46.

               7. (13)  Brett Moffitt, Chevrolet, 46.

               8. (16)  Jade Buford, Chevrolet, 46.

               9. (17)  Miguel Paludo, Chevrolet, 46.

               10. (6)  Sheldon Creed #, Chevrolet, 46.

               11. (35)  Ryan Sieg, Ford, 46.

               12. (11)  Parker Kligerman(i), Toyota, 46.

               13. (18)  Anthony Alfredo, Chevrolet, 46.

               14. (7)  Preston Pardus, Chevrolet, 46.

               15. (1)  Ty Gibbs, Toyota, 46.

               16. (24)  Sage Karam, Chevrolet, 46.

               17. (2)  Ross Chastain(i), Chevrolet, 46.

               18. (38)  Brandon Jones, Toyota, 46.

               19. (23)  Parker Chase, Toyota, 46.

               20. (28)  Brandon Brown, Chevrolet, 46.

               21. (33)  Stefan Parsons, Chevrolet, 46.

               22. (30)  Patrick Gallagher, Ford, 46.

               23. (20)  Jeb Burton, Chevrolet, 46.

               24. (26)  Jeremy Clements, Chevrolet, 46.

               25. (19)  Daniel Hemric, Chevrolet, 46.

               26. (22)  Riley Herbst, Ford, 46.

               27. (25)  Josh Berry, Chevrolet, 46.

               28. (15)  Bubba Wallace(i), Toyota, 46.

               29. (36)  JJ Yeley, Toyota, 46.

               30. (34)  Ryan Vargas, Chevrolet, 46.

               31. (14)  Landon Cassill, Chevrolet, 46.

               32. (32)  Scott Heckert, Chevrolet, 46.

               33. (9)  Justin Allgaier, Chevrolet, 46.

               34. (31)  Joe Graf Jr, Ford, 46.

               35. (27)  Josh Bilicki, Chevrolet, 46.

               36. (5)  Alex Labbe, Chevrolet, Rear Gear, 41.

               37. (37)  Will Rodgers, Toyota, 34.

               38. (29)  Bayley Currey, Chevrolet, Engine, 13.

Average Speed of Race Winner:  70.64 mph.

Time of Race:  2 Hrs, 13 Mins, 14 Secs. Margin of Victory:  2.039 Seconds.

Caution Flags:  4 for 8 laps.

Lead Changes:  8 among 5 drivers.

Lap Leaders:   R. Chastain(i) 1-3;A. Allmendinger 4-16;T. Gibbs 17;R. Chastain(i) 18-27;S. Mayer 28-30;J. Allgaier 31;R. Chastain(i) 32;A. Allmendinger 33-46.

Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led):  AJ Allmendinger 2 times for 27 laps; Ross Chastain(i) 3 times for 14 laps; Sam Mayer 1 time for 3 laps; Ty Gibbs 1 time for 1 lap; Justin Allgaier 1 time for 1 lap.

Stage #1 Top Ten: 16,36,11,35,7,91,48,26,51,54

Stage #2 Top Ten: 1,48,7,8,98,44,92,16,9,5


  1. I’m guessing no SMART coverage because SMART does not make a point to provide good press releases. That is a shame for SMART because the races are terrific and they could be building a little momentum in the Northeast if they funneled stuff to RaceDayCt.
    Tell you what, that SMART series is turning out to be pretty darned entertaining with the great exposure FloRacing is providing.
    Another good field of cars. Caraway at night reminds me of what it used to be viewing races at night. We take perfect lighting these days for granted but Caraway has the older lighting with bright spots and shadows that typified night time races in the past. It did make the colors more vivid at times……..very nostalgic.
    The big news is Hirschman didn’t win. Likely because he was involve in a curfuffle earlier in the race but even then came back from Noweheresville to contend.
    Might be a good idea for SMART to hire Fifield to show them how to move over when leaders are coming. Or is it good they continue to race for position and make it tougher for the leaders?
    That one tire deal with the positions frozen when pitting you’d think might not be as exciting as live pit stops but that’s not the case at all. In fact to keep things safer they should consider that up here as well. There’s always the decision to take the tire early at the 30 lap break or gamble on a late caution. There was certainly a lot of position change drama in the race last night resulting from the one tire timing decision and the choose cone. I thought that flashing choose cone at first was a little silly but not so much now. The decision on lane choice is impactful on the race and it focuses the fans attention on the decision.
    Bert Myer ran a great race. Very impressive running the outside fending off the 60 but saying he could have knocked Heady out of the in victory lane like he did him a favor was just being a jerk. He might be confused thinking that Bowman Gray crap is normal but it isn’t.
    Bobby Labonte won’t ever be confused with Mr. Excitement in a modified but his savvy in getting exactly the maximum out of his car under the specific conditions is impressive.
    Jamie Tomaino is a speed bump at this stage especially on smaller tracks. Sure many will say age is just a number but if you pay attention to getting enough fiber you know better. A guy well into his 60’s should be providing an opportunity for the next generation not trying to relive past glory he’s unlikely to achieve.
    Pick your era for what you perceive were the modified glory days you wouldn’t be wrong. As for modified exposure these are the glory days. Next weekend racing for the SMART series, NWMT and Icebreaker at Thompson all available to view on line. Oh yes and Riverhead just added to FloRacing as well.
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  2. Uconnjohn says

    Moving a couple of levels or so above the Smart series, Formula 1 is just better when Ferrari is relevant. So far the new rules package seems to be working and yesterday there were a number of heated battles throughout the field. Lots of passing and re passing. Not the final order I wanted but so far so good. Keeping my fingers crossed!

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