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HomeSportsAuto RacingXFT News: Chandler Smith wins in Avondale for 2nd career Xfinity victory

XFT News: Chandler Smith wins in Avondale for 2nd career Xfinity victory

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AVONDALE, Ariz. — Chandler Smith had a message for his Joe Gibbs Racing team after taking the checkered flag in overtime in Saturday’s Every Dig. Every Time. 200 NASCAR Xfinity race at Phoenix Raceway.

“We’ll take ‘em when we can get ‘em,” Smith radioed before celebrating his second career victory with a burnout near the start/finish line.

It was good fortune — combined with Justin Allgaier’s disastrous bad luck — that put Smith in Victory Lane after 205 laps at the one-mile track in the Sonoran Desert.

Allgaier held a lead of nearly three seconds after crossing the stripe on Lap 195 of a scheduled 200. But as the driver of the No. 7 JR Motorsports Chevrolet approached Turn 1, his left rear tire went flat.

Allgaier’s car turned sideways and smashed into the outside wall, ending the race for the veteran driver from Illinois.

On the subsequent overtime restart, Smith pulled away from teammate Sheldon Creed and reached the finish line 0.365 seconds ahead of Sunoco rookie Jesse Love, who edged Creed for the runner-up spot by 0.019 seconds.

“Going through the dogleg (on the frontstretch), I felt (the tire) come apart, like I ran something over, and at that point, you’re just a passenger,” Allgaier said. “I just hate it that we tore up a race car. We didn’t go to Victory Lane. I hate it for all the guys and gals at JR Motorsports.”

Allgaier’s ill fortune was determinative, but it wasn’t that Smith didn’t deserve the victory. He won the first 45-lap stage wire-to-wire and led a race-high 88 laps to Allgaier’s 52.

“We just lacked a little bit on the 7 (Allgaier),” Smith said. “I hate that happened to him — he had that in the bag. I’m so proud of everybody back at Joe Gibbs Racing. It’s good finally to get this first win off our back for these guys.

“So let’s go keep racking ‘em up.”

Stage 2 winner Cole Custer led 61 laps, but his car suffered from a loose handling condition during the final run.

With Custer fading badly, Smith was in the lead, more than 2.5 seconds ahead of Allgaier, when Hailie Deegan brushed the Turn 2 wall on Lap 137. To that point, Smith and Custer had combined to lead all the laps.

The relatively innocent-looking fourth caution, however, set the stage for the chaos that followed. Smith lost three spots on pit road as John Hunter Nemechek took the lead.

On the subsequent restart on Lap 144, Smith and Nemechek were racing in close quarters when contact from the right-front of Smith’s Toyota turned Nemechek’s Supra in front of the field.

All told, 11 cars sustained damage, with Nemechek, hard-luck Sam Mayer (third DNF in four races), Deegan, Parker Retzlaff and Jeb Burton unable to continue.

Smith’s No. 81 Toyota restarted next to Allgaier, the race leader, on Lap 152. On the longest green-flag run of the day, Allgaier pulled away and was cruising toward a comfortable victory when disaster struck, opening the door for Smith to secure his first victory since last April’s win at Richmond for owner Matt Kaulig.

Austin Hill finished fourth, with Custer, the defending series champion, claiming the fifth spot. Sunoco rookie Shane van Gisbergen, Brandon Jones, Parker Kligerman, Sammy Smith and Anthony Alfredo completed the top 10.

NASCAR Xfinity Series — Every Dig. Every Time. 200
Phoenix Raceway

1. (2) Chandler Smith, Toyota, 205

2. (7) Jesse Love #, Chevrolet, 205

3. (6) Sheldon Creed, Toyota, 205

4. (15) Austin Hill, Chevrolet, 205

5. (1) Cole Custer, Ford, 205

6. (23) Shane Van Gisbergen #, Chevrolet, 205

7. (11) Brandon Jones, Chevrolet, 205

8. (12) Parker Kligerman, Chevrolet, 205

9. (16) Sammy Smith, Chevrolet, 205

10. (20) Anthony Alfredo, Chevrolet, 205

11. (24) Leland Honeyman #, Chevrolet, 205

12. (13) Ryan Sieg, Ford, 205

13. (31) Blaine Perkins, Ford, 205

14. (29) BJ McLeod, Chevrolet, 205

15. (25) Jeremy Clements, Chevrolet, 205

16. (14) Kyle Weatherman, Chevrolet, 205

17. (34) Nick Leitz, Chevrolet, 205

18. (10) AJ Allmendinger, Chevrolet, 204

19. (32) JJ Yeley, Chevrolet, 204

20. (22) Brennan Poole, Chevrolet, 204

21. (30) Ryan Ellis, Chevrolet, 204

22. (3) Corey Heim(i), Toyota, 203

23. (28) William Byron(i), Chevrolet, 202

24. (4) Riley Herbst, Ford, 202

25. (26) Kyle Sieg, Ford, 201

26. (38) Garrett Smithley, Chevrolet, 200

27. (27) Josh Williams, Chevrolet, 200

28. (33) Dawson Cram #, Chevrolet, 198

29. (5) Justin Allgaier, Chevrolet, Accident, 195

30. (35) Frankie Muniz, Ford, Vibration, 156

31. (8) Aric Almirola, Toyota, Accident, 154

32. (9) John Hunter Nemechek(i), Toyota, Accident, 146

33. (19) Hailie Deegan #, Ford, Accident, 146

34. (21) Sam Mayer, Chevrolet, Accident, 143

35. (18) Parker Retzlaff, Chevrolet, Accident, 143

36. (17) Jeb Burton, Chevrolet, Accident, 143

37. (37) Ryan Vargas, Chevrolet, Suspension, 17

38. (36) Patrick Emerling, Chevrolet, Accident, 5

Average Speed of Race Winner: 92.516 mph.

Time of Race: 2 hours, 12 minutes, 57 seconds.

Margin of Victory: 0.365 seconds.

Caution Flags: 6 for 43 laps.

Lead Changes: 7 among 4 drivers.

Lap Leaders: C. Smith 1-48; C. Custer 49-108; C. Smith 109-138; C. Custer 139; J. Nemechek(i) 140-143; J. Allgaier 144-195; C. Smith 196-205.

Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led): Chandler Smith 3 times for 88 laps; Cole Custer 2 times for 61 laps; Justin Allgaier 1 time for 52 laps; John Hunter Nemechek(i) 1 time for 4 laps.

Stage 1 Top 10: 81,00,7,19,98,9,1,26,20,2

Stage 2 Top 10: 00,7,19,81,98,20,1,2,9,21

–By Reid Spencer, NASCAR Wire Service. Special to Field Level Media.

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