Monday, March 20, 2023

AJ Allmendinger Utilizes Incredible Shove From Teammate Cassill to Win in Photo Finish

AJ Allmendinger scored his first-career win on a Superspeedway after an incredible shove from his teammate Landon Cassill helped him edge out Sam Mayer by 0.015 sec. Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/Getty Images

AJ Allmendinger will be the first to tell you that he is not a fan of Superspeedway racing. And even after scoring his first victory in a Superspeedway event, Saturday’s NASCAR Xfinity Series Sparks 300 at Talladega Superspeedway, Allmendinger still emphasized his disdain for this style of racing.

“Still hate it,” Allmendinger admitted in his post-race interview after handing his checkered flag to a young fan in the stands. “Still hate it. But gosh, we have been so close to winning one, and I feel like I keep giving them away. I thought I might have given it away. I’m still learning trying to learn what too big of a lead is.”

While he may hate the style of racing, the Superspeedways have become a breeding ground for Kaulig Racing wins over the years due to the drivers on the team always finding a way to put their personal aspirations aside for the betterment of the team.

It happened again on Saturday, as Landon Cassill, who drives the No. 10 Kaulig Racing Chevrolet Camaro, gave Allmendinger the shove he needed to pull off the victory.

“Honestly, all credit to Landon Cassill,” Allmendinger stated. “He kept shoving me, he stuck with me. That’s what’s great about Kaulig Racing. When you have teammates like Landon and Daniel (Hemric) that you know no matter where you go, they’re going to go with you, it makes it easier.”

Allmendinger’s fortunate momentum from his teammate’s shove was bitter heartbreak for JR Motorsports’ 19-year old driver Sam Mayer. Mayer had the lead on the final lap of Saturday’s race and it appeared that he would be heading to victory lane for the first time in his NASCAR Xfinity Series career.

But it wasn’t to be, as Allmendinger had just enough of a surge as they marched through the trioval and toward the start-finish line to defeat Mayer by just 0.015 sec. in a photo finish.

“Yeah, I don’t know,” Mayer said when asked if there was anything he could have done differently. “This is my first time really getting to the end of a speedway race coming to the checkered. It was a good first experience I guess.”

Here is video of the incredible finish of the race:

Video: AJ Allmendinger Bests Sam Mayer by 0.015 Sec. in Thrilling Photo Finish

While Mayer was disappointed and his voice was shaky after a near-miss, the driver seemed upbeat and happy to escape Talladega Superspeedway with a runner-up finish.

Behind Allmendinger and Mayer was Cassill, who gave the victorious shove to Allmendinger, in third.

For Cassill, who devastatingly missed out on the NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoffs, this is the fourth top-five finish of his 2022 season and it’s the fifth top-five finish in 204-career NXS starts.

Playoff contenders Ryan Sieg and Josh Berry came home in fourth and fifth.

Parker Kligerman had an incredible day as he finished ninth in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race earlier in the day, and he came home with an impressive sixth-place finish driving the No. 48 Big Machine Racing entry in this contest.

Ty Gibbs rallied from a lap 19 incident, where he made contact with the wall and nearly spun all the way around, to finish seventh.

Daniel Hemric, Brandon Jones and Noah Gragson rounded out the top-10 finishers in this race. For Gragson, this marked the end of what was a four-race winning streak.

Polesitter and Playoff contender Austin Hill had a dominant No. 21 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet, but was shuffled out of the lead late in the race. Hill won Stages 1 and 2, but faded to a 14th-place finish.

Incredibly, all 38 cars that started Saturday’s race were running at the conclusion of the event. According to’s Joseph Srigley, this marks the first time in 393 NASCAR National Series (Cup, Xfinity and Truck) races on Superspeedways (Daytona and Talladega) that every car has been running at the conclusion of the event.

Here are the complete race results from Saturday’s NASCAR Xfinity Series Sparks 300 at Talladega Superspeedway:

Race Results: 2022 NASCAR Xfinity Series Sparks 300

Next up for the NASCAR Xfinity Series is the Drive for the Cure 250 at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval on Saturday, October 8th. That race will be contested at 3:00 PM ET and will be televised by NBC.

Toby Christie
Toby Christie
Toby is the Founder, and Editor-in-Chief of Toby is also the co-host of The Final Lap Weekly Podcast. Additionally, he is a NMPA (National Motorsports Press Association) award-winning writer, and has followed the sport as a fan since 1993.

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