In a race where it looked like Christopher Bell would dominate, Justin Allgaier would be the one to capitalize on two blunders from Bell to win the Desert Diamond Casino 200 at ISM Raceway.
The first two stages went just about as you would expect: Bell led every lap and won both stages. It looked like this would be a crisp, clear, dominant performance for the Joe Gibbs Racing product but on the pit stop during the stage two break, Bell would suffer a speeding penalty. In the presser, Bell said he was confused because they worked on pit road speeds all weekend.
To go along with the speeding penalty, Bell spun out on his own off of turn two to put himself out of contention for the race. Once that happened, this race was up for grabs for drivers who needed to win to advance.
It was Chase Briscoe that took the first stab at trying to take his spot in the Championship 4. He led the opening laps of the final stage but Allgaier was able to work his way into 2nd and would be on the hunt for Briscoe. Going into turn three, Allgaier locked up the front tires and made contact with Briscoe to take the lead from him. From there on, it was smooth sailing for Allgaier.
Cole Custer would give Allgaier a scare in the closing laps but did not have enough time to make a move for the win.
Advancing to the Xfinity Championship 4 are Christopher Bell, Cole Custer, Tyler Reddick, and Justin Allgaier.
Bell will look to redeem himself at Homestead after a dreadful 11th-place performance last year. He was the favorite going to last year’s race at Homestead and should be the favorite heading into next Saturday as well.
Bell, Custer, and Reddick will be fighting tooth and nail next Saturday as Bell and Reddick will be promoted to the Cup Series next year. No confirmed plan for Custer yet but he is ready to move up to the Cup Series regardless of an Xfinity title or not.
Tomorrow afternoon, we go Cup racing!