DARLINGTON, S.C. (AP) — Justin Allgaier used a dominating performance on Saturday to win his first Xfinity race of the season and the third of his career at Darlington Raceway.

Allgaier led 119 of 147 laps, sweeping both stages as he finished ahead of Austin Hill and defending series champion Cole Custer.

Allgaier moved past Hill early in the second stage and never gave up the lead, staying in front for the final 95 laps.

“I think having a little gray hair today really helped me out, though, with those long green-flag runs,” said Allgaier, 37. “Being able to know what’s worked in the past here.”

Only two of the five cautions in the race were for accidents — and they proved to be Allgaier’s trickiest moments of the race.

The first came with 39 laps to go after Hailie Deegan wrecked and the other came with 16 laps left when Kyle Sieg spun out. Allgaier sped off from the field both times and cruised to his 24th career Xfinity victory to equal the total of JR Motorsports owner Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Allgaier also moved up in Darlington history, his three wins here tying for fifth with the late Dale Earnhardt, Matt Kenseth and Geoff Bodine.

Sam Mayer, Allgaier’s JR Motorsports teammate, finished fourth and AJ Allmendinger fifth.

Hill, who was runner-up to Denny Hamlin in last September’s Xfinity race at Darlington, blamed himself for another second-place showing.

“I just couldn’t get into Turn 1 on restarts like I really needed to all day and I think a lot of it’s just me,” Hill said. “I’ve just got to figure out what to do differently.”

Three-time Cup Series winner William Byron was the biggest name in the field and figured to contend at a track where several from the sports’ top series have won before. But Byron’s chance ended when he hit the wall early in the race.

A bad pit stop left him three laps down less than 15 laps in, and he ended up finishing 11th.

The series takes next week off before resuming at Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 26.


AP NASCAR: https://apnews.com/hub/nascar-racing