AJ Allmendinger survived the carnage of a rain-soaked road course and prevailed to win at the Roval Saturday evening. It was his second win of the 2020 season.
The Charlotte Roval Xfinity Series playoff race was civil in the opening laps but the chaos would not take long as the rains came and turned the track into a river late in stage one.
In a span of minutes, numerous drivers went for spins or wrecked under the downpour. Chase Briscoe, Noah Gragson and Ross Chastain spun off-course but not collect damage. However, Tommy Joe Martins, Matt Mills and Kyle Weatherman were among those that weren’t so lucky as they all crashed in turn five, finally bringing out the caution on lap 13.
The race did not go back green until two to go in stage one. Harrison Burton, who came into the race seven points below the playoff cutline, had an opportunity to score vital stage points but overran the final chicane on the frontstretch and had to come to a complete stop before the start-finish line in order to resume. He missed out on stage points and was penalized for not coming to a complete stop.
Meanwhile, Kaz Grala, Gragson and Justin Haley battled it out for the stage win. It was the non-Xfinity regular, Grala, scoring his first career stage win in the Xfinity Series. Only five playoff drivers scored stage points in the first frame.
On the stage two restart, Grala and playoff driver Brandon Brown overdrove the frontstretch chicane and both had to serve their stop-and-go penalties on the same lap.
On lap 26, Riley Herbst made contact with Gragson, sending him into the wall and bringing out the caution. The two had a history from an incident in July at Texas Motor Speedway.
The race was red-flagged during the caution as track conditions were too wet to race on.
After a near 40-minute red flag, a big crash occurred on the restart lap in turn three as Justin Allgaier spun and A.J. Allmendinger made contact with Herbst. Haley, Preston Pardus and Michael Annett all ended up getting collected in the incident, bringing out another caution.
The following restart continued the hectic day as Josh Williams was turned by Brown into the “Tums Heartburn Turn”. Cars still struggled to gain any traction as they slipped through turns two and three. The caution came back out as Burton’s car stopped on track.
Another restart occurred with one lap to go and saw Briscoe win his 10th stage of the season. Alex Labbe finished third, collecting the most stage points on the day of anyone in the field. Brown collected five stage points after finishing inside the top 10 in both stages. Gray Gaulding and Jade Buford took advantage of the crazy day and earned points at the end of the stage.
The race calmed down at the start of the final stage. The rain lightened up as well. Gragson and Herbst got together again on the fronstretch. Meanwhile, Briscoe and Allmendinger battled it out for the race lead. Myatt Snider tried to challenge them but he would hit the bumps on the frontstretch chicane and then spun in turn one, taking him out of contention.
A caution came out with nine laps to go as CJ McLaughlin spun and stopped in turn one. Briscoe tagged the wall trying to avoid the No. 99 car.
Briscoe and Allmendinger raced hard again for the lead, exchanging it back-and-forth but the caution came out again as Brown wrecked in the infield.
On the overtime restart, Briscoe spun in turn one and that was all Allmendinger needed to see to hold on for the victory.
Moving onto the Round of 8:
The Round of 8 will begin next Saturday at Kansas Speedway.