Justin Allgaier beat Sheldon Creed in a door-to-door demolition derby Saturday that decided the Xfinity Series championship field. Destroyed race cars were parked along the Martinsville Speedway finish line as NASCAR sorted through the carnage and ex-teammates exchanged heated words.
The messy race went into a two-lap overtime shootout after a nearly 30-minute stoppage for the 15th caution. The final restart pitted Richard Childress Racing teammates Austin Hill and Creed side-by-side on the front row with both needing a win to make next week's championship finale.
Creed is leaving RCR at the end of the season and has battled Hill on the track all season, so it was no surprise to see the two slamming doors for the two overtime laps around the Virginia short tack.
Sam Mayer was the only driver locked into the final four, and six other drivers were vying for the remaining three spots. As the two RCR cars battled for their season, Allgaier held firm and waited for his chance.
The bad blood between the RCR drivers gave Allgaier his opportunity. The two Chevys slammed into each other on the restart and chased each other around the track, with Hill finally sliding ahead of Creed on the final lap.
But Creed slammed into the back of Hill — he said he doesn't like racing that way and felt he'd been as clean as possible in a must-win situation — and Hill slammed hard into the wall.
“He's going to be mad, but it's for a championship four spot and I'm going to fight for my guys until the end,” Creed said after he was eliminated by finishing second.
Hill said Creed gave him no room on the track.
“Just uncalled for and for that to happen, neither of the RCR guys make it to the final four, it's just frustrating,” Hill said. “Pretty excited for him to go to his next adventure ... and I don't have to put up with him no more.”
With Hill out of the way, Allgaier pulled alongside Creed and door slammed him to the finish and grabbed the win by .032 seconds. It will be Allgaier's sixth shot at his first Xfinity Series title.
John Hunter Nemechek, a seven-race winner this season, made the final four on points as did Cole Custer. A two-race winner this season, Custer was wrecked at the finish Saturday and had to await NASCAR scoring to see if he made the final four.
The final four field is represented by a Ford from Stewart-Haas Racing with Custer, Chevrolets from JR Motorsports for Allgaier and Mayer, and a Toyota from Joe Gibbs Racing for Nemechek. The winner will be a first-time Xfinity Series champion as defending champion Ty Gibbs is now completing his rookie season in the Cup Series.
AP auto racing: https://apnews.com/hub/auto-racing