Dale Earnhardt Jr. claimed his 24th-career NASCAR Xfinity Series win and the 28th win for the JR Motorsports team he co-owns in Saturday’s ToyotaCare 250 at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway, but it was the first win for the pairing together.
Meanwhile, with a second-place finish, Xfinity Series regular Ty Dillon claimed the second of four Dash 4 Cash 100,000 bonuses. “We came up a little short (for the win), but we’re going to get one soon,” Dillon said.
Just like the race at Bristol (Ten.) Motor Speedway a week earlier, as a Dash 4 Cash race, the Richmond race distance was broken down into two heat races and a main event. Earnhardt dominated that main event, leading 128 laps of the race that was scheduled for 140 laps but was extended to 149 laps after a multi-car wreck on lap 133.
Earnhardted started the main in the third position, moving up to second at the start and then to the lead on lap 18. Once Earnhardt took the lead from Erik Jones, he led most of the remaining laps. Soon after taking the top-spot, another JR Motorsports driver, Justin Allgaier, moved into second.
Allgaier beat his boss and teammate off pit road during the first caution of the race inside 20 laps to go, but he restarted second to Brennan Poole, who stayed out. Racing for the lead, Poole makes contact with Allgaier, setting off the wreck that resulted in the race going into overtime. The incident put Allgaier out of the race for the extra laps.
Dillon was the only Dash 4 Cash driver not involved in the incident, and he restarted in second, next to Earnhardt on the front row. Both drivers maintained their positions over the final two laps. Another JRM driver, Elliott Sadler finished third, while Daniel Suarez and Austin Dillon finished fourth and fifth.
“Those last couple of laps, we were real loose in the corner,” Earnhardt said. “I thought Ty was going to get to me; he tried to get to me. When we got to (turn) three, we drove into the corner wide open.”
Allgaier was the only one of four JR Motorsports drive to not finish in the top-10. Teammate Cole Custer was sixth. Finishing seventh through 10th were Brendan Gaughan, Blake Koch, Brad Keselowski and Poole.
Joining Allgaier, Poole and Ty Dillon as Dash 4 Cash drivers at Richmond was Erik Jones, the winner of the race and the bonus the previous race at Bristol. Jones what the first 35-lap heat race, followed by Camping World Truck Series regular Matt Tifft and Poole in second and third. Jones led every lap of the first heat.
Dillon, meanwhile, won the second heat race. He got up to second at the start of the 35 laps and then took the lead from heat pole sitter and brother, Austin Dillon. Allgaier followed Dillon through to the front to run second. The Xfinity Series regulars then ran one-two for the remaining distance of the second heat and finished in that order.