Road course ace AJ Allmendinger won at Portland for his second Xfinity Series victory of the season Saturday, the other also coming on a road course at the Circuit of the Americas. After struggling in qualifying Friday, he started Saturday’s Pacific Office Automation 147 in last – his team changed “everything but the motor” before the race and was sent to the rear – and he climbed through the field, only leading the final six laps.
“It might be one of the craziest wins I’ve ever had,” Allmendinger said. Indeed, he went a lap down early after running off the track and had to pass his way back to the lead lap and through the field. He went on to go off-track five more times throughout the race.
“I was making so many mistakes; trying so hard,” he added. “I put so much pressure on myself in these races because I know what everyone expects and I know what I expect out of myself, more importantly. But what a win!”
Allmendinger also admitted that “Portland is a special place for me.” It’s the track where, after he was dropped from his Champ Car seat, he scored his first series win in a rival car and kept his racing career alive. So, to score a NASCAR win at the place that kickstarted his career 16 years ago was even more special.
Allmendinger was helped in his fight through the field by the attrition of the rest of the drivers. Just 21 of the 38 starters finished the race on the lead lap, and the yellow flag flew nine times. The track went from wet to dry to wet, just increasing the challenge – and the ensuing carnage – for the drivers.
Myatt Snider, who ended up second, acknowledged that losing to Allmendinger, considering “AJ’s experience,” wasn’t too bad with a wry smile. “I could tell he was setting up those [corner] exits better than I was,” he said. “To me that was good hard racing.”
Austin Hill finished in third, followed by JR Motorsports drivers Josh Berry and Justin Allgaier.
Brandon Jones, who battled for the top ten, had by all accounts “pretty crazy day.” He explained of the race that he ultimately finished eleventh in: “We started out wet, kind of went dry toward the end of that and then it started raining again. We had two spins. A lot of people went off there towards the end. I will take P11. This was definitely a tough day.”
Fellow Toyota driver Connor Mosack was a highly touted prospect from Trans Am who ran a one-off start. He ran in the top three for much of the early race before getting a penalty for cutting the course – although he said “I talked to Jason from NASCAR before when we ran around here the other day, and he said if you miss the chicane but still go over that inside curb, you would be okay, but they still made me to the drive through.” His day was over when he was caught in an accident, but he showed plenty of speed.
Ty Gibbs led a race high 42 laps winning Stage 1. But a bizarre accident during a caution caused when Jesse Iwuji, three laps down at the time, ran into Gibbs. Later he had run-ins with Noah Gragson and Sheldon Creed but rallied to finish 7th. Josh Willams won Stage 2 and came home 22nd.
The win extends Allmendinger’s points lead over Ty Gibbs to 45 points.
The Xfinity Series returns to the Tennessee Lottery 250 at Nashville Superspeedway on 25.
Photos: NASCAR at Gateway and Portland, Saturday June 4, 2022
NASCAR Xfinity Series Race – Inaugural Pacific Office Automation 147
Portland International Raceway
Saturday, June 4, 2022
1. (10) AJ Allmendinger, Chevrolet, 75.
2. (25) Myatt Snider, Chevrolet, 75.
3. (2) Austin Hill #, Chevrolet, 75.
4. (19) Josh Berry, Chevrolet, 75.
5. (9) Justin Allgaier, Chevrolet, 75.
6. (3) Daniel Hemric, Chevrolet, 75.
7. (6) Ty Gibbs, Toyota, 75.
8. (35) JJ Yeley, Toyota, 75.
9. (11) Noah Gragson, Chevrolet, 75.
10. (23) Alex Labbe, Chevrolet, 75.
11. (22) Brandon Jones, Toyota, 75.
12. (28) Brandon Brown, Chevrolet, 75.
13. (20) Scott Heckert, Ford, 75.
14. (5) Jade Buford, Chevrolet, 75.
15. (13) Landon Cassill, Chevrolet, 75.
16. (27) Ryan Sieg, Ford, 75.
17. (15) Andy Lally, Chevrolet, 75.
18. (17) Matt Jaskol(i), Toyota, 75.
19. (36) Patrick Emerling, Toyota, 75.
20. (12) Brett Moffitt, Chevrolet, 75.
21. (33) Joe Graf Jr., Ford, 75.
22. (31) Josh Williams, Chevrolet, 74.
23. (37) Ryan Vargas, Chevrolet, 73.
24. (26) Stefan Parsons, Chevrolet, 73.
25. (29) Mason Filippi, Chevrolet, 72.
26. (38) Jesse Iwuji #, Chevrolet, 71.
27. (18) Parker Chase, Toyota, Accident, 62.
28. (8) Connor Mosack, Toyota, Accident, 62.
29. (24) Spencer Pumpelly, Ford, Accident, 62.
30. (34) Bayley Currey, Chevrolet, Accident, 62.
31. (1) Anthony Alfredo, Chevrolet, Accident, 62.
32. (7) Sheldon Creed #, Chevrolet, Accident, 55.
33. (21) Jeb Burton, Chevrolet, Accident, 55.
34. (16) Jeremy Clements, Chevrolet, Accident, 44.
35. (14) Riley Herbst, Ford, Accident, 35.
36. (30) Gray Gaulding, Chevrolet, Accident, 27.
37. (32) Darren Dilley, Ford, Accident, 25.
38. (4) Sam Mayer, Chevrolet, Accident, 12.
Average Speed of Race Winner: 48.883 mph.
Time of Race: 3 Hrs, 1 Mins, 21 Secs. Margin of Victory: 2.879 Seconds.
Caution Flags: 9 for 26 laps.
Lead Changes: 8 among 6 drivers.
Lap Leaders: A. Alfredo 0;S. Creed # 1;T. Gibbs 2-43;A. Lally 44-46;M. Snider 47-62;A. Allmendinger 63-64;J. Buford 65-68;M. Snider 69-71;A. Allmendinger 72-75.
Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led): Ty Gibbs 1 time for 42 laps; Myatt Snider 2 times for 19 laps; AJ Allmendinger 2 times for 6 laps; Jade Buford 1 time for 4 laps; Andy Lally 1 time for 3 laps; Sheldon Creed # 1 time for 1 lap.
Stage #1 Top Ten: 54,21,18,11,02,36,9,10,19,7
Stage #2 Top Ten: 31,44,21,10,8,23,7,16,2,48
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