Justin Allgaier had more than one reason to celebrate at Dover International Speedway’s Sunoco Victory Lane on Saturday.
Not only did the driver of the JR Motorsports No. 7 Chevrolet clinch a $100,000 bonus through the NASCAR Xfinity Series Dash 4 Cash program, but Allgaier also was able to hold off teammate Elliott Sadler to win the “OneMain Financial 200” at Dover International Speedway.
It is Allgaier’s first victory of the NASCAR Xfinity Series season and his first at the Monster Mile. Allgaier now has six career NASCAR Xfinity Series victories.
“I knew Dover was going to be a good race track for us,” Allgaier said. “I’ve wanted a Monster [Trophy] for as long as I can remember.”
Allgaier led a race-high 104 laps, but it was the final one that was the most heart-stopping, as Sadler edged ahead in Turn 3 for a few moments before the two cars touched exiting Turn 4.
“I was about 90 percent sure I wasn’t going to win entering Turn 3,” Allgaier said. “I thought for sure I was going around. My only instinct was to keep the throttle down. Luckily, we came off the wall and were able to get across the line. It was a pretty crazy way to end the race.”
For Kelley Earnhardt Miller, the co-owner of JR Motorsports along with her brother Dale Earnhardt Jr., the showdown was a bit nerve-wracking.
“It’s part of the craziness of owning two cars when they are in that situation,” Miller said. “It’s awesome to see this team in Victory Lane and relish what they accomplish.”
Allgaier edged Sadler by 0.306 seconds, the closest finish for a NASCAR Xfinity Series race at the Monster Mile since 2009. Daniel Hemric was third, followed by rookies Christopher Bell and Tyler Reddick.
“I could see Elliott in my mirror and saw that he could make a charge,” said Allgaier, who led the race’s final 68 laps. “He raced me so clean all day. We both wanted to win. To battle it out with a teammate is really special. To be able to hold him off is a big deal.”
Twenty-two cars finished on the lead lap, including Friday’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series winner Johnny Sauter (sixth), pole winner Brandon Jones (10th), John Hunter Nemechek (14th) and Ross Chastain (16th).
Sadler leads Allgaier by 33 points in the NASCAR Xfinity Series point standings. Jones and Ryan Sieg (17th) were the other two Dash 4 Cash contenders entering Saturday’s race. Sadler and Jones led 33 laps apiece, while Reddick led 23.
The “OneMain Financial 200” was the final Dash 4 Cash race of the 2018 NASCAR Xfinity Series season.
Eight caution flags flew across 45 laps in the 2:02:23 race.
Dover International Speedway hosts the NASCAR Xfinity Series playoff race on Saturday, Oct. 6 as part of the Monster Mile’s Oct. 5-7 tripleheader weekend.
Dover International Speedway PR/Photo Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images