JR Motorsports has had better nights than Friday but at least one of their drivers and owner left in a good mood, even if the latter’s night literally went down in flames. All of Justin Allgaier‘s team-mates retired from Friday’s NASCAR Xfinity Series playoff opener at Bristol Motor Speedway including his boss Dale Earnhardt Jr., while Allgaier led the final thirteen laps to begin the postseason on a strong note.
The win was his first at Bristol since 2010. To make the victory even sweeter, Allgaier announced he had signed a contract extension with JRM for 2024 following the race.
Allgaier’s #7 team played their cards to perfection. After a caution came out for Josh Bilicki‘s spin on lap 248, Allgaier was told to pit while everyone else stayed out. While a risky move as it dropped him down the order, the newer tyres and added fuel gave him the advantage that he used to the fullest to catch Daniel Hemric—who had his own 2024 announcement earlier in the day—with thirteen to go.
“This team has done an amazing job at this race track since I started at JR Motorsports,” said Allgaier. “We led a lot of laps, and the monkey was definitely on our back. The pit strategy there, coming down pit road by myself was nerve wracking, right?”
While Allgaier celebrated with Earnhardt in Victory Lane, it was a bittersweet night for the latter. All three of JRM’s other drivers Sam Mayer, Josh Berry, and Brandon Jones crashed out together coming to the end of Stage #2, which also collected Ryan Sieg. Earnhardt himself was knocked out by a fire in the cockpit on lap 271 that burned the leg on his firesuit. He will try to bounce back in his second scheduled start at Homestead in October.
The JRM debacle was not the only case of accidental friendly fire. Fellow Chevrolet team Richard Childress Racing saw regular season champion Austin Hill get spun out by his partner Sheldon Creed on lap 217, forcing him to retire.
While Hill is still above the cut line due to his regular season success, the JRM crash dropped Berry and Mayer below it. Parker Kligerman was already the lowest seed entering the postseason but Friday did him no favours as a mechanical issue forced him to the garage for fifty-three laps and he finished thirty-first.
|1||10||7||Justin Allgaier||JR Motorsports||Chevrolet||300||Running|
|2||5||10||Daniel Hemric^||Kaulig Racing||Chevrolet||300||Running|
|3||3||20||John Hunter Nemechek||Joe Gibbs Racing||Toyota||300||Running|
|4||1||00||Cole Custer||Stewart-Haas Racing||Ford||300||Running|
|5||4||16||Chandler Smith||Kaulig Racing||Chevrolet||300||Running|
|6||7||39||Ryan Sieg||RSS Racing||Ford||300||Running|
|7||12||19||Trevor Bayne^||Joe Gibbs Racing||Toyota||300||Running|
|8||16||98||Riley Herbst||Stewart-Haas Racing||Ford||300||Running|
|9||6||18||Sammy Smith||Joe Gibbs Racing||Toyota||300||Running|
|10||31||26||Kaz Grala||Sam Hunt Racing||Toyota||300||Running|
|11||21||2||Sheldon Creed||Richard Childress Racing||Chevrolet||300||Running|
|12||18||11||Derek Kraus||Kaulig Racing||Chevrolet||300||Running|
|13||38||27||Jeb Burton||Jordan Anderson Racing||Chevrolet||300||Running|
|14||29||24||Connor Mosack||Sam Hunt Racing||Toyota||300||Running|
|15||14||31||Parker Retzlaff||Jordan Anderson Racing||Chevrolet||299||Running|
|16||36||25||Brett Moffitt||AM Racing||Ford||299||Running|
|17||25||44||Rajah Caruth*||Alpha Prime Racing||Chevrolet||298||Running|
|18||22||43||Ryan Ellis||Alpha Prime Racing||Chevrolet||298||Running|
|19||35||07||Stefan Parsons||SS-Green Light Racing||Chevrolet||298||Running|
|20||20||92||Josh Williams||DGM Racing||Chevrolet||298||Running|
|21||27||28||Kyle Sieg||RSS Racing||Ford||298||Running|
|22||28||6||Brennan Poole||JD Motorsports||Chevrolet||297||Running|
|23||30||4||Kyle Weatherman||JD Motorsports||Chevrolet||297||Running|
|24||9||51||Jeremy Clements||Jeremy Clements Racing||Chevrolet||297||Running|
|25||32||78||Anthony Alfredo||B.J. McLeod Motorsports||Chevrolet||296||Running|
|26||19||38||Joe Graf Jr.||RSS Racing||Ford||295||Running|
|27||24||91||Josh Bilicki||DGM Racing||Chevrolet||294||Running|
|28||33||02||Blaine Perkins||Our Motorsports||Chevrolet||294||Running|
|29||23||08||Chad Finchum||SS-Green Light Racing||Ford||276||Running|
|30||15||88||Dale Earnhardt Jr||JR Motorsports||Chevrolet||271||Ignition|
|31||13||48||Parker Kligerman||Big Macing Racing Team||Chevrolet||246||Running|
|32||17||45||Jeffrey Earnhardt||Alpha Prime Racing||Chevrolet||229||Brakes|
|33||26||21||Austin Hill||Richard Childress Racing||Chevrolet||217||DVP|
|34||8||9||Brandon Jones||JR Motorsports||Chevrolet||178||Suspension|
|35||11||1||Sam Mayer||JR Motorsports||Chevrolet||166||Accident|
|36||2||8||Josh Berry||JR Motorsports||Chevrolet||166||Accident|
|37||37||35||B.J. McLeod||Emerling-Gase Motorsports||Chevrolet||117||Power|
|38||34||66||Timmy Hill*||MBM Motorsports||Toyota||81||Rear Gear|
^ – Currently in owner playoffs
Italics – Competing for Rookie of the Year
* – Ineligible for points