Making his 45th start on a conventional superspeedway in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, Justin Allgaier has finally broken through to win Friday’s Wawa 250 at Daytona International Speedway.
The 37-year-old was able to take control after a late-race restart, when Trevor Bayne, Austin Hill, and others at the front of the pack crashed in an 11-vehicle pileup on the frontstretch into the first corner.
Allgaier didn’t relinquish control of the race from that point forward, leading the final 12 laps of the race en route to his second Xfinity Series victory of 2023, and the 21st of his storied tenure in the second-tier series.
Despite being in control of the race’s closing laps, Allgaier wasn’t uncontested in winning Friday’s event at the 2.5-mile superspeedway, as a final-lap challenge from Sheldon Creed saw the No. 2 Chevrolet remain side-by-side for the final lap.
Creed, still looking for his first career win, came up just 0.005 seconds short of the victory, which made the margin of victory in Friday’s 250-mile contest the fourth-smallest in the history of the NASCAR Xfinity Series.
With a MOV of 0.005s, Friday's #Wawa250 is tied for the fourth-closest finish in NASCAR Xfinity Series history:
1. 2018 Daytona (0.0004)
2. 1996 Milwaukee (0.002)
2. 1999 Talladega (0.002)
4. 2018 Daytona (0.005)
4. 2023 Daytona (0.005)#NASCAR
— Joseph Srigley (@joe_srigley) August 26, 2023
In fact, things were so close at the start-finish line, that Allgaier had to pause and intently watch the replay while being interviewed on the frontstretch by Dave Burns, to which he exclaimed “Did I win?”.
Not only did Allgaier score the victory over a snarling pack behind him, but the JR Motorsports driver was even able to overcome a pass-through penalty that he had to serve on the first lap of the race, after failing pre-race technical inspection.
Finishing in second place was Sheldon Creed, who for the fifth time in his Xfinity Series career came up just one spot short of scoring the victory in his No. 2 Whelen Chevrolet Camaro after leading 21 laps.
Daniel Hemric came home in third place on the evening, while Parker Kligerman continued a very solid string of finishes with another top-five result, in fourth. Cole Custer completed the top five in his Stewart-Haas Racing Ford Mustang.
Ryan Sieg and Parker Retzlaff – both drivers who had to serve the first-lap pass-through penalty – finished in sixth and seventh, while Anthony Alfredo, Gray Gaulding, and Justin Haley completed the top-10.
Austin Hill, despite a finish of 23rd-place, maintains the regular-season points lead by 27 points over new second-place driver Justin Allgaier. John Hunter Nemechek falls to third in the standings, with Cole Custer and Sam Mayer rounding out the top five.
Up next for the NASCAR Xfinity Series is a trip to Darlington Raceway, for the second-to-last event of the regular season.