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posted June 17, 2018
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Allgaier Wins Iowa Xfinity Race
Furnished by NASCAR

Hodges News Service
NEWTON, Iowa.--Justin Algaier held off a hard-charging Christopher Bell for his second Xfinity Series win of the year. Allgaier led 182 laps of the 250-lap race, but Bell was right on his rear bumper for the last 100 laps.
   Bell was briefly able to get by Allgaier twice, but each time Allgaier was able to regain the lead. The race's last caution came out on lap 132. None of the leaders pitted, and on the restart, Allgaier chose the outside lane, giving Bell the low side of the track.
   When the green flag was given, Allgaier took the lead, with Bell less than a couple car-lengths back. It appeared that Bell was prepared to try a pass on the leader just before the white flag was given, signifying one more lap. But the rear end of Bells car slipped and he brushed the outside wall coming out of turn-4. This slip up allowed Allgaier a little more space, and he crossed the finish line .074 seconds ahead of Bell.
   “Oh man, it was incredible the way the team gave me such a great car all day,” said Allgaier. “It was a great setup. There were times I thought he (Bell) might have a chance, but each time we found a little more.”
   Allgaier also won both stages of the race.
   “We raced as hard as we could,” said Bell. “The car was very fast, but it wouldn't stay in the corners. I have to hand it to Justin, he drove a great race today. I think if we could have ever gotten out front near the end, we could have held him off. But his handling was so good off the corners that we couldn't make a pass and hold it.”
   The remaining top-10 finishers: 3. Daniel Hemric, 4. Cole Custer, 5. Brandon Jones, 6. Riley Herbst, 7. Ty Majeski, 8. Tyler Reddick, 9. Matt Tifft, 10. Kaz Grala.
   Garrett Smithley brought out the race's first caution during lap 5. He had a left front tire go down and scraped the outside wall.
   Chad Finchum had the same problem on lap 198.
   The race's oldest driver, Morgan Shepherd at age 76, was only able to complete 28 laps after a brake failure.
   Top-10 leaders after 14 of 33: 1. Sadler-504, 2. Custer-500, 3. Hemric-497, 4. Reddick-473, 5. Bell-471, 6. Allgaier-453, 7. Br. Jones-431, 8. R. Truex-408, 9. Tifft-379, 10. Reed-354.
   Brett Moffitt held off a last-lap charge by Noah Gragson to pick up his second Truck Series win of the season.
   Gragson was second, followed by Harrison Burton, David Gilliland, Johnny Sauter, Jason Little, Cody Coughlin, Christian Eckes, Stewart Friesen, and Myatt Snider.
   Top-10 leaders after 9 of 23: 1. Sauter-419, 2. Gragson-348, 3. Moffitt-334, 4. Friesen-308, 5. Enfinger-308, 6. Crafton-300, 7. Rhodes-291, 8. Haley-278, 9. Snider-247, 10. Sargeant-239.
   Note: The Cup Series was idle this past weekend.
   Clint Bowyer now has two Cup Series wins, the last one coming at Michigan. This week the series takes on its first road course of the season, and Bowyer is all pumped up.
   He said it isn't out of the question for his No. 14 Ford and his Stewart Haas Racing teammates to put on a repeat performance similar to Michigan at the first of the Cup Series' two road-course races in 2018.
   “I don't want to jinx myself, but Sonoma is my favorite racetrack,” said Bowyer, who has scored six top-five finishes in the last 10 races in California Wine Country. That's two more top-five finishes than the next-closest driver Kurt Busch, his SHR teammate, who owns four.
   “I love that weekend,” Bowyer continued. “It's a vacation for everybody involved. It's a challenging racetrack. I'm good at it. You always look forward to going to tracks you're good at. We've gotten this wave of confidence going at the moment. Hopefully, we can ride off to Sonoma and enjoy some success there, as well.”
   Bowyer said he was aware how well he and his teammates were racing at Michigan and throughout the season. All four SHR Fords were in the top-five on the opening lap at Michigan. SHR's four Fords have led 1,530 of 4,595 laps – 33.2 percent – in 2018 on their way to winning seven Cup Series points races plus the NASCAR All-Star Race. Each driver would be in the NASCAR playoffs were they to start now.
   “That's the coolest thing about it,” Bowyer said. “You're up there looking in the mirror, even when I was running second, I said to myself, 'Gosh, this is a moment.' We're running 1-2-3 at a track that is an aero track, that's a horsepower track, it's a demanding racetrack on your equipment.
   “Then, to be able to get there and give each other hugs, be happy, truly, genuinely happy for one another, that's what it takes. That's what it takes to push you to another level – working together, the communication, pushing each other each week. It's not just the drivers. It's our teams, our crew chiefs, our pit crews, everybody who raises the bar for everybody involved. It's cool to see.”
   Bowyer finished just .754 seconds behind SHR's Kevin Harvick in 2017 at Sonoma, making it a 1-2 sweep for the team. Busch, the 2011 race winner at Sonoma, and SHR newcomer Aric Almirola are likely to join the Harvick-Bowyer party at the front of the field on the 10-turn, 1.99-mile track.
   The trustee of bankrupt BK Racing is in negotiations to sell the team — the assets and the charter — that would allow it to continue operating and racing under different ownership. The court would have to approve any sale, and no deadline was set for approval of a sale during a hearing Tuesday.
   Trustee Matthew Smith did not say who would buy the team. Smith: “It's a sale of a race team — a living, breathing race team. ... We're not intending this to be a liquidation sale or an asset disposition like an auction.
   “So the charter is the largest asset in this case but it's not the only asset. This is a viable race team and we're trying to prove that each and every week. We're meeting obligations of NASCAR by showing up and competing in good faith.”
   Gray Gaulding has driven the team's No. 23 car all season. He finished 31st Sunday at Michigan. The team is 35th in the car owner standings and ranks ahead of only one other team that has a charter.
   Racing Joke: Kurt Busch has his car full of penguins. He drives past a policeman, but the policeman stops him. He says. “Hey, you! Yeah, you! You should take those penguins to the zoo!”     Busch does just that.   The next day in the same spot, Busch still has the penguins. Once again he drives past the policeman.   “Hey, I thought I told you to take those penguins to the zoo!”    “I did," replies Busch. “We had so much fun that we're going to the beach today!”
Weekend Racing: The Cup teams are at Sonoma, California for the season's first road course race. The Truck Series is at the 1.25-mile Gateway International Raceway in Madison, Illinois, which is located just across the Mississippi River from St. Louis. The Xfinity teams have an off week.
Sat., June 23; Truck Series race 10 of 23; Starting time: 8:30 pm ET; TV: FoxSports1.
Sun., June 24; Cup Series race 16 of 36; Starting time: 3 pm ET; TV: FoxSports1.
   Racing Trivia Question: When was the first Truck Series race held at Gateway?
   Last Week's Question. Which former Cup Series driver helped design the Iowa Speedway? Answer. Rusty Wallace.
   Gerald Hodges is a syndicated NASCAR photojournalist and author. You may contact him by e-mail at: