Texas Review
Pit Boss 250 NASCAR Xfinity Series race at the Circuits of The Americas in Austin, Texas on March 25, 2023. (Photo: Ralph Arvesen)

A.J. Allmendinger started on pole position and won the NASCAR Xfinity Series’ Pit Boss 250 presented by USA Today on Saturday afternoon on the world-renowned Circuit of The Americas road course.

The 46 laps in between the green and checkered flags, however, were dramatic and full of emotional highs and lows for the veteran Allmendinger, who led 14 laps to start the race and the final 14 laps to close it out. The series’ all-time road course winner earned his 11th road course trophy (and 16th career Xfinity Series trophy) despite having to navigate through the field after falling back to 25th place during mid-race green flag pit stops.

It was a major league road course lesson for the rest of the field as the 41-year-old Californian diced and sliced his way forward in the No. 10 Kaulig Racing Chevrolet to win this race for the second consecutive year. He ultimately took a .853-second victory over relentless Hendrick Motorsports driver William Byron in the No. 17 Chevrolet.

“William Byron put his best foot forward, you’ve seen all the Cup races he’s winning," Allmendinger said of the season’s two-race winner Byron. “I knew it was going to be tough just trying to fight to get back up to the front there. Hate that I had contact with Sheldon [Creed], he got under me, I was trying to stay off him, so I hate that happened but so proud of everyone at Kaulig Racing. The Celsius Chevy was really hooked up and with all the damage we had it didn’t hurt the car.”

“I spent a lot of years not winning anything so I’m going to celebrate every one of them like it’s my last one," Allmendinger said. “You never know. As much pressure as I put on myself, I’m always going to try to live up to it. The pit crew was awesome and I’m so proud of everyone."

NASCAR Cup Series rookie Ty Gibbs – the 2022 NASCAR Xfinity Series champion – finished third in the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 19 Toyota, just ahead of his JGR teammate Sammy Smith and veteran JR Motorsports driver Justin Allgaier.

The 3.41-mile, 20-turn COTA track is regarded as one of the more challenging stops on the NASCAR schedule and Allmendinger certainly had his work cut out for him on Saturday. He led early, but was shuffled back after winning Stage 1 and gambling on a pit stop later than the other frontrunners.

Forced to lineup for a re-start toward the back of the field – and miscommunication from the team to driver regarding the exact position he should take – left him 25th near the race midpoint. He answered by reeling off one car after another and made his way into the top-10 with 15 laps remaining – making a dramatic push forward on that final restart to go from sixth to first with 14 laps remaining. He took the lead after a spirited battle with Sheldon Creed, who spun out after contact between the two.

Allmendinger then drove off to more than a 1-second gap on the field, but, was doggedly chased by Byron, who will start Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race at COTA from the pole position.

“I was getting one final run at him, but obviously they were really good all day, just great at these road courses," Byron said. “Just a little bit to gain and then made a mistake [navigating the esses].

“It was a great effort, just need to clean it up in the cars … but had a lot of fun racing," Byron added.

Kaulig Racing’s Daniel Hemric, JR Motorsports teammates Sam Mayer and Josh Berry, Creed and Stewart-Haas Racing’s Riley Herbst rounded out the top-10.

Austin Hill, a three-race winner in 2023 that was leading the championship standings by nearly 50 points coming into Austin, suffered mechanical problems in his No. 21 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet and took a DNF. He still holds a 15-point advantage over Herbst atop the championship, however.

This was a Dash 4 Cash qualifying race with the four top-finishing fulltime NASCAR Xfinity Series competitors now eligible for a $100,000 bonus next week at Richmond (Va.) Raceway; the top finisher among the four will earn the big paycheck and is eligible for another the following race at Martinsville, Va. on April 15. (Source: NASCAR Wire Service)

1#10A.J. AllmendingerChevrolet04628Kaulig Racing
2#17William ByronChevrolet0461Hendrick Motorsports
3#19Ty GibbsToyota0460Joe Gibbs Racing
4#18Sammy SmithToyota37460Joe Gibbs Racing
5#7Justin AllgaierChevrolet36460JR Motorsports
6#11Daniel HemricChevrolet31460Kaulig Racing
7#1Sam MayerChevrolet31460JR Motorsports
8#8Josh BerryChevrolet35460JR Motorsports
9#2Sheldon CreedChevrolet474616Richard Childress Racing
10#98Riley HerbstFord32460Stewart-Haas Racing
11#9Brandon JonesChevrolet29460JR Motorsports
12#16Chandler SmithChevrolet25460Kaulig Racing
13#88Miguel PaludoChevrolet24460JR Motorsports
14#51Jeremy ClementsChevrolet23460Jeremy Clements Racing
15#92Alex LabbeChevrolet22460DGM Racing
16#78Anthony AlfredoChevrolet21460BJ McLeod Motorsports
17#31Parker RetzlaffChevrolet20460Jordan Anderson Racing
18#26Kaz GralaToyota19460Sam Hunt Racing
19#24Connor MosackToyota18460Sam Hunt Racing
20#43Ryan EllisChevrolet17460Alpha Prime Racing
21#27Jeb BurtonChevrolet17460Jordan Anderson Racing
22#02Kyle WeathermanChevrolet15460Our Motorsports
23#39Ryan SiegFord23460RSS Racing
24#08Aric AlmirolaFord0460SS Green Light Racing
25#45Jeffrey EarnhardtChevrolet12460Alpha Prime Racing
26#28Kyle SiegFord11460RSS Racing
27#20John Hunter NemechekToyota18460Joe Gibbs Racing
28#91Josh BilickiChevrolet9460DGM Racing
29#53Brad PerezChevrolet8460Emerling Gase Motorsports
30#38Joe Graf Jr.Ford7460RSS Racing
31#48Parker KligermanChevrolet14461Big Machine Racing
32#00Cole CusterFord5450Stewart-Haas Racing
33#6Brennan PooleChevrolet4290JD Motorsports
34#25Brett MoffittFord3270AM Racing
35#44Sage KaramChevrolet2230Alpha Prime Racing
36#50Preston PardusChevrolet1160Pardus Racing
37#21Austin HillChevrolet1130Richard Childress Racing
38#07Carson HocevarChevrolet070SS Green Light Racing

NASCAR is the largest racing organization in the United States and is most famous for the Cup Series, Xfinity Series, and Camping World Truck Series. Each year NASCAR sanctions over 1,500 races at over 100 tracks in 48 US states as well as in Canada, Mexico, and Europe.

Circuit of The Americas
Circuit of The Americas is the premier destination for world-class motorsports and entertainment in the United States. Set on 1,500 acres in the rolling hills just outside downtown Austin, Circuit of The Americas has hosted the biggest names in racing, action sports and music since 2012. At its heart is a 3.41-mile racetrack that was designed to challenge the world's most exacting competitors while providing a thrilling spectacle for audiences.

The 20-turn, counterclockwise circuit takes advantage of the naturally undulating landscape, including an intimidating 133-foot hill at Turn 1 that must be seen in person to be believed. It is home to Formula 1 United States Grand Prix, NASCAR EchoPark Texas Grand Prix, and MotoGP Red Bull Grand Prix of The Americas, and has played host to ESPN's X Games, the FIA World Endurance Championship, IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, Pirelli World Challenge and more.

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Circuit of The Americas
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Photos by Ralph Arvesen
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