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NASCAR Xfinity Series: The Marathon At Road America

The NASCAR Xfinity Series made their only stop of the year to the road course of Road America at Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. Though NASCAR implemented the “choose rule” beginning with last night’s truck race, this rule did not apply to road course races. As such, the drivers on restarts will follow the prior NASCAR rules where the position determines the restart order.

Stage 1:

Before the green flag dropped, Brandon Brown lost fuel pressure and needed a push back to the pits. Shortly after 9:25 am PST, the green flag flew with Michael Annett and Austin Cindric on the first row. Austin Cindric powered to the lead with Justin Haley landing in second place. Bayley Currey brought out the first caution of the day on Lap 3 as his car stalled at Turn 14.

Austin Cindric brought the field back to green with Justin Haley to his inside. As with before, Cindric held the lead going through Turn One with Haley following closely. Coming to complete Lap 7, Daniel Hemric pulled his car off the track after reporting that his engine quit, resulting in the second caution of the day. During the caution, localized lightning strikes brought the race to a halt. Under NASCAR’s safety rules, there needs to be 30 minutes without a localized lightning strike for the race to resume. What comes with lightning? That’s right, rain. Wet weather dumped onto the track and added an additional element of uncertainty to the race.

After an extended red-flag period, the race resumed with drivers utilizing various tire strategies due to the weather. Justin Haley was able to take the lead, using rain tires, as the caution came out again for Vinnie Miller coming to a stop at Canada Corner. With one lap left in the stage, Justin Haley brought the field back to green with Cindric in second. Haley marched forth with the lead as Chase Briscoe got around Cindric for the second position. Cindric charged back and took back second from Briscoe as Haley took the green-and-white checkered flag, ending Stage One.

Stage 2:

As drivers were on differing strategies, Stage Two began with Josh Bilicki and Harrison Burton on the front row. Bilicki pulled ahead with Preston Pardus taking over the second position. Noah Gragson and Alex Labbe got by, dropping Bilicki to third. Gragson drove too deep into a turn and allowed Labbe to take over as the leader with Gragson falling to third, behind AJ Allmendinger. As Stage Two reached the halfway point, Allmendinger got past Labbe and assumed the lead as the rain began to subside and the track beginning to dry.

Green flag stops began as the stage reached the final, few laps. The drivers came to the pits to swap out the rain tires to typical slick tires. Before pit stops could cycle through, the caution came out as Jesse Little’s car was caught in a gravel trap. Allmendinger led the field around and completed Stage Two under caution.

Stage 3:

Once the drivers cycled through the order from pit stops, Stage Three began with Kaz Grala and Justin Allgaier leading the way. Going into Turn Five, Allgaier was able to maneuver past Grala for the lead. After getting by Grala, Cindric was able to regain the lead with a pass to Allgaier’s inside through Turn One. With six laps left in the race, the caution came out once again as Scott Heckert’s car became stuck in a gravel trap. While most of the lead-lap cars came to the pits for service, some of the drivers stayed out to play strategy.

With four laps left in the race, Preston Pardus and Ryan Sieg brought the field back to green. Justin Allgaier got turned by Kaz Grala and slammed into the concrete barrier, bringing out another caution. Jeffrey Earnhardt, Jeremy Clements, and Myatt Snider also suffered damage in the incident.

Pardus and Sieg led the front row as the race resumed with two laps to go. Cindric used fresh tires to his advantage and moved to the lead with Allmendinger sliding to second. Though Allmendinger was able to keep pace, Cindric held off all challenges and crossed the finish line first.

The Henry 180 at Road America was a marathon for those at the track and all watching. With rain, cautions, and pit strategy, the race had anything and everything. What were your thoughts on today’s race?

Next week, the Xfinity Series makes their way to Daytona, Florida for the inaugural road course race.

Written by Robert Chipman

Robert is a die-hard fan of the Detroit Red Wings and the New Orleans Saints. He has watched NASCAR since he was a kid and knows a little about a lot of sports.

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