Justin Allgaier finished 0.032 seconds ahead of Sheldon Creed (2). (HHP/Tim Parks photo)

Martinsville Photo-Finish Pushes Allgaier To Championship 4

In a chaotic, overtime finish at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway, Justin Allgaier snuck his way past Austin Hill and Sheldon Creed to steal the victory, locking the No. 7 JR Motorsports Chevrolet into the Championship 4.

Allgaier led a total of 21 laps during the 256-lap race at the .536-mile track.

On the final restart with eight laps to go, the Richard Childress Racing teammates were banging bumpers for the lead. Creed eventually moved Hill to the outside groove to take the position away on the final lap. But in turns three and four, it was Allgaier who dove to the inside and muscled his No. 7 Chevrolet past Creed, crossing the finish line 0.032 seconds ahead of the No. 2.

Meanwhile, the No. 20 of John Hunter Nemechek tapped into the rear bumper of Hill coming out of turn four, causing the No. 21 to spin in front of the field on the frontstretch. Hill finished 21st. 

Polesitter Sammy Smith finished third in his No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing entry, while Stewart-Haas Racing’s Riley Herbst and JR Motorsports’ Josh Berry completed the top five in the Dead On Tools 250.

Daniel Hemric, Parker Retzlaff, Anthony Alfredo, Jeb Burton and Parker Kligerman rounded out the top 10.

Allgaier won the first stage, while Smith won stage two. Smith dominated early, leading 147 total laps. 

There were 15 cautions during Saturday night’s cutoff race. 

Championship.4 Field Set

Cole Custer’s 19th-place finish was enough to lock the No. 00 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford into the Championship 4.

“At the start of the race we were overheating the motor and then the volts started going down, and then radio one went out under that red flag, so we had to switch to radio two, so just a lot of little things that get your heart rate up a little bit, but we were able to stay calm and do what we needed and get to the final four,” Custer said. 

He will race Allgaier, Sam Mayer and Nemechek for the Xfinity Series title.

Mayer was dealt a dose of bad luck at Martinsville after being taken out of contention in a 12-car wreck on lap 244. However, with his victory at Homestead-Miami Speedway last Saturday, the No. 1 JR Motorsports entry will march onward to the playoff finale at Phoenix (Ariz.) Raceway.

Nemechek finished 18th at Martinsville after tangling with Hill on the final lap. However, he had already locked into the Championship 4 on points during stage two of the Dead On Tools 250. 

“Everyone is going to go for broke — win to get in, whatever it takes. It definitely sucks to not have a good finish coming out of here, but on the bright side we are racing for a championship next week in Phoenix,” Nemechek said. 

Chandler Smith, Sammy Smith, Austin Hill and Daniel Hemric were eliminated from the playoffs.