OBSERVATIONS: Iowa 250 presented by Enogen
People can continually debate whether Iowa Speedway is an actual short track or not, but one thing is for certain – the track puts on a show, no matter the series visiting.
After Noah Gragson‘s thrilling move to complete Saturday’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, the 0.75-mile oval was back up to it’s familiar tricks on Sunday with the NASCAR XFINITY Series. From the drop of the green flag to the checkered, the Iowa 250 presented by Enogen delivered in excitement.
Starting from 11th, Justin Allgaier made his way to the front, taking the lead from Austin Cindric. From there, he dominated by pacing 182 of 200 laps, sweeping all three stages. However, the statistics don’t say everything as he didn’t go unchallenged.
Christopher Bell had to start from the rear of the field due to issues in pre-qualifying inspection not allowing him to post a lap during the session. He didn’t stay back there long, though, as he was back up in the top-10 by the end of the first stage, and challenging Allgaier for the lead through the second. As the pair navigated their way through lap traffic, Bell would try high and low to make the pass, getting alongside at parts but unable to complete the pass and take the top spot. The final nail in the coffin was getting in the wall coming to the white flag, but he still managed to score a second-place finish.
Cindric also played a role after capturing the pole, as he made the move three-wide for the top spot on a restart with under 50 laps to go to really get the fans on the feet. And if these battles for the lead weren’t enough, there was always something going on through the field.
The XFINITY Series has struggled with finding it’s identity, trying to separate itself by saying “names are made here,” and limiting the amount of races that Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series stars can run. However, going to tracks like this and creating events like these with side-by-side competition will do more for the series than any of those antics. Why do you think the fans enjoy the stand-alone events?
Moving forward, the battle remains to see who will be the ones to watch for the championship.
A lot of people have looked towards JR Motorsports teammates Elliott Sadler and Allgaier given the start to the season. Momentum should be on Allgaier’s side now that he’s back locked in the playoffs after the first win was deemed invalid to qualify for the post-season with due to a post-race infraction.
However, you don’t have to look far to see the young talents in Cole Custer, Cindric, and Bell that will certainly keep them honest and make a challenge for the championship.
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