NASCAR Xfinity Series: AJ Allmendinger Rebounds Mid-Race To Preserve Road Course Dominance

aj allmendinger claims xfinity cota race (1)

AJ Allmendinger started on the pole for Saturday’s Pit Boss 250. From there, the NASCAR Xfinity Series’ road course ace paced the field for the opening 14 laps, before falling back to 25th place.

Did he panic? Not Allmendinger. And not at the 20-turn, 3.41-mile Circuit of The Americas.

Calm and composed, Allmendinger weaved his way through the field.

On Lap 32, he recovered his advantage and fought off William Byron, earning his 11th career road course checkered flag.

AJ Allmendinger: ‘I’m So Proud Of Everyone’ At COTA

Piloting the No. 10 Chevrolet, Allmendinger has claimed the spring COTA event for the second straight season. He edged Byron by 0.853 seconds. Byron has claimed two Cup Series races already this season.

“William Byron put his best foot forward, you’ve seen all the Cup races he’s winning,” Allmendinger said, as reported by “I knew it was going to be tough just trying to fight to get back up to the front there.

“Hate that I had contact with Sheldon (Creed). He got under me. I was trying to stay off him, so I hate that happened, but so proud of everyone at Kaulig Racing. With all the damage we had, it didn’t hurt the car.”

A late bloomer, Allmendinger has claimed just two Cup races in 399 career starts. He has yet to win a Trucks Series event in limited starts. On the Xfinity circuit, however, the 41-year-old Los Gatos, California native is finding his groove. Of his 16 series victories, 11 have developed over his past 67 outings.

“I spent a lot of years not winning anything, so I’m going to celebrate every one of them like it’s my last one,” Allmendinger said. “You never know. As much pressure as I put on myself, I’m always going to try to live up to it. The pit crew was awesome, and I’m so proud of everyone.”

William Byron, Sheldon Creed Fall Short In Victory Bid

COTA is considered one of the more challenging tracks on the NASCAR schedule. Allmendinger, who claimed Stage 1 points, fell back in the pack after a failed pit-stop gamble, resulting, in part, from miscommunication. 

Displaying poise, he raced back into contention. Off the final restart, he re-claimed the lead with 14 rotations remaining. Sheldon Creed initially battled him, but when the two made contact, Creed was knocked out. 

That left Byron, one of the hottest drivers on the national series who will start Sunday’s Cup event from the pole position. About a second behind, Byron pressured the leader, but could not overtake Allmendinger.  

“It was a great effort,” Byron said. “I was getting one final run at him, but obviously, they were really good all day, just great at these road courses.” 

Ty Gibbs placed third and was followed by Sammy Smith and Justin Allgaier, rounding out the top five. 

Series leader Austin Hill experienced mechanical problems and was tagged with a DNF. He still leads the points standings by 15 points, however. 

Arrow to top