Xfinity playoff drivers involved in wreck on opening lap at Kansas

first_imgKANSAS CITY, Kan. – Christopher Bell and Justin Allgaier entered the NASCAR Xfinity Series Round of 8 atop the standings, but a major multi-car wreck on the opening lap of Saturday’s Kansas Lottery 300 at Kansas Speedway changed the playoff picture in an instant.Allgaier’s JR Motorsports No. 7 Chevrolet broke loose in Turn 2 shortly after the green flag, making contact with Bell’s No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota. The melee collected several other cars, including fellow postseason contenders Austin Cindric and Cole Custer. Allgaier, Bell and Cindric were among those taking their cars to the garage, ending the day for all three championship hopefuls. Michael Annett, Chase Briscoe, Ross Chastain, Spencer Gallagher and Ryan Truex were also caught up in the incident.Allgaier and Bell chatted briefly after media interviews outside the care center as they downloaded about the incident. Bell finished 37th, while Allgaier finished 38th and Cindric came home in 39th. Custer suffered from a power steering issue as a result of the wreck and finished 18 laps down in 26th.Those results left Bell with a +1 cushion on Matt Tifft, while Allgaier (-5), Custer (-23) and Cindric (-43) are on the outside looking in with two races left in the round.RELATED: Full race results | Series standingsThe Lap 1 incident caught Allgaier completely by surprise as the JR Motorsports driver had little issue with his car all weekend.“Got super loose on the bottom,” Allgaier said of what triggered the wreck. “We hadn’t been loose all weekend so that was kind of a weird sensation for me. Not the way we wanted to start the race today in Kansas especially in the second round of the playoffs.”A wreck at Richmond to open the Round of 12 put Allgaier in a precarious playoff position. The regular-season champion was far from secure entering the cutoff race at Dover two weeks ago but a third-place finish helped him reach the Round of 8.“These playoffs are so crazy as it is,” Allgaier said. “It’s not a good spot to be in I can promise you that. Right, wrong or indifferent, today sucks. There’s nothing intentional by today at all. We don’t want to put ourselves in any bigger hole than we have to and that’s probably the most frustrating part. Not only did we hurt my day, but we hurt our competitors as well and that’s frustrating on my end.”LISTEN: Hear from Allgaier after big wreckCindric came into the round eighth in the standings and this incident puts him in a deep hole. However, his playoff ride – the No. 22 Team Penske Ford – has a winning history at Texas and Phoenix, the remaining races in the Round of 8.“I have to win one of the next two races but we have a pretty good notebook since the 22 car won both Texas and Phoenix in the spring,” Cindric said. “I have a lot of confidence going into those races.”Bell started second in the race and was the defending race winner as well. He had commented on Friday about how much he enjoyed racing at 1.5-mile tracks – of which there are two in this round – Kansas and Texas.“I didn’t really get to see anything, I just felt a lot,” Bell said. “I don’t know. Normally whenever you’re up front, you’re in the safest spot you can be, but just didn’t get a very good launch and the side by side with the 7 (Allgaier) car and it just didn’t work out.”RELATED: Bell ‘heartbroken’ after early exitStill, the 23-year-old started the round atop the standings thanks to 44 playoff points and he did not lose sight that those soften the blow from Saturday’s result.“That’s the beauty of this format,” Bell said. “NASCAR’s done such a great job at giving us something to race for during the regular season. We’ve done our job winning six races this year, so we’ve accumulated some bonus points, so hopefully that can carry us through this bad stretch here and maybe we can find ourselves in Victory Lane later on in this round. If not, hopefully the bonus points will get us there.”The 300-mile race was the opening event in the Round of 8, the final three-race stanza in the Xfinity Series Playoffs that also includes races at Texas Motor Speedway (Nov. 3) and ISM Raceway (Nov. 10).Contributing: Staff reportsMORE: Photos from the tracklast_img