Justin Allgaier punched his ticket to the Championship 4 when he ended a 39-race winless streak in Saturday’s NASCAR Xfinity Series Desert Diamond Casino West Valley 200 at ISM Raceway.
The JR Motorsports driver led twice for 85 laps, including the final 66. Allgaier’s last win came at Indianapolis in September of 2018.
"It’s incredible," Allgaier said. "All these guys on this race team, to do what we’ve done all year, to have the speed we’ve had and not pull it off is disappointing. We said we needed to come here and win to race for a championship and we did.
"Hats off to everybody at Chevrolet and JR Motorsports. We had a hot rod today, maybe we wouldn’t beat the 20 but he made a mistake and it was our race."
Allgaier was fourth on the Playoff grid coming into ISM Raceway and was able to hold on to make his way to the championship race.
"The weight on your shoulders, you can’t even begin to describe it," he said.
Cole Custer, Tyler Reddick, John Hunter Nemechek and Zane Smith rounded out the top five.
Austin Cindric, Justin Haley, Chase Briscoe, Noah Gragson and Brandon Jones completed the first 10 finishers.
Allgaier joins Christopher Bell, Custer and Reddick in the Championship 4 race next Saturday at Homestead-Miami Speedway in the Ford EcoBoost 300.
Bell led a race high 92 laps after winning the pole and both stages but had a speeding penalty from the lead and a spin later that added up to a 16th -place finish.
"I don’t think we could have beat the 20 today, but when he made that mistake, we capitalized on it and that’s what it’s all about," Allgaier said of Bell.
Chase Briscoe, Michael Annett, Austin Cindric and Noah Gragson missed the cut and were eliminated from the playoffs.
"A caution would’ve been nice there at the end," said Briscoe. "We tried something different there at the end, obviously it didn’t work…We proved today we were capable of being that fourth guy, it just wasn’t meant to be."