Dale Jr. Second, Allgaier 20th in iRacing Pro Invitational Thriller

JR Motorsports | 3/23/2020

Brandt Dale Earnhardt Jr. FilterTime Homestead iRacing Justin Allgaier News

Dale Jr. finished second while Justin Allgaier rebounded for 20th in the inaugural iRacing Pro Invitational race at the virtual Homestead-Miami Speedway on Sunday.

Track Specs: 1.5-mile oval / 100 laps
Earnhardt Jr.’s finish: 2nd      
Allgaier’s finish: 20th

MOORESVILLE, N.C. (March 23, 2020) – The eNASCAR Pro Invitational iRacing Series was a huge, huge success on Sunday afternoon, and Dale Earnhardt Jr. very nearly made it a colossal one. Leading the race as he took the white flag, Earnhardt Jr. battled a closing Denny Hamlin for all but the final 100 yards of the 100-lap televised iRacing event, falling short within sight of the checkered flag. Justin Allgaier was in the mid-pack for the final scramble to the checkered and eventually finished 20th.

The inaugural event, broadcast Sunday afternoon on FOX Sports 1, gave NASCAR fans a chance to see some of their favorite drivers in action, albeit on a virtual Homestead-Miami Speedway, and the action did not disappoint. At one point midway through, the event was the top trend on all of Twitter.

After the 10th caution flag of the race waved at lap 77, the run to the finish took shape.

Earnhardt Jr., driving the No. 8 FilterTime Chevrolet, wasted little time moving forward once the green waved for the last time with 19 laps remaining. Just five laps later, Earnhardt Jr. was in the high line and moving up, using the relative freshness of his four tires to pick off spots. He ran fourth at that time, and moved to the inside of Matt DiBenedetto for third a couple of laps later.

Once clear, the two-time Daytona 500 winner put his head down and began to reel in leader Garrett Smithley and second-place Timmy Hill. With 10 to go, Earnhardt Jr. was .583 seconds behind, and as Hill passed Smithley for the lead, the No. 8 FilterTime Camaro was right there.

After a couple of laps running the low line behind Hill, Earnhardt Jr. got to the inside of Hill’s machine entering Turn 1, pulled even off Turn 2 and took the lead heading onto the front straightaway with five to go.

Hamlin had fresher tires than anyone and was making up ground at a prodigious rate. He caught the three-car lead pack with three to go and shoved Earnhardt Jr.’s car clear off Turn 2 with just two circuits remaining. Coming down for the white flag, Hamlin got a run to the top side and Earnhardt Jr. let him have it to stay in the preferred bottom line. The two stayed side-by-side until the apex of Turn 4, when Hamlin surged ahead. Earnhardt Jr. kept his car off Hamlin’s, but the move cost him any chance to get back in it for the run to the line and he ended up second.

Allgaier, who made the starting lineup through qualifying on Sunday morning, started his No. 7 BRANDT Professional Agriculture Chevrolet from 26th position in a field where the split was less than half a second from first to 35th.

Moving up to 19th after the first caution of the day, Allgaier was moving steadily forward until lap 14, when John Hunter Nemechek tagged the rear end of Allgaier’s car and sent him spinning, triggering a multi-car crash involving Kurt Busch and Jimmie Johnson.  It would not be the last time the Illinois driver would have to pit to fix damage on the day, as Allgaier was caught up in another grinder 12 laps later when Chris Buescher and Ross Chastain tangled off Turn 2.

Despite frequent bouts with virtual mayhem not of his making, Allgaier found himself 16th for the final restart and came home 20th.

Behind Hamlin and Earnhardt Jr. in the final order, Hill was third, Chase Briscoe fourth and Smithley fifth.

Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver No. 8 FilterTime Chevrolet team

“It was a lot of fun. We finished second and got beat by Denny Hamlin. It’s not the first time he’s beat me in sim racing. The guy’s pretty good. I’ve been iRacing for about two decades, and I’ve been racing against Denny for that long. I qualified fifth, and probably shouldn’t have qualified that well. There’s a lot of fast guys out there and they’ve been putting in a lot of work. We took tires with about 30 laps to go, and Denny took tires with 20 to go, and that was a big advantage to him. We were racing really hard to get up front and we burned our stuff up. I went to the bottom because if I went to the top, I think he could pass me a whole lot easier. I just wanted to get a good finish. I really never thought I would be in the battle for the win because there were so many good, fast guys in it. It was cool stuff for FilterTime. To be able to put our small little business on our car virtually and put it out on Fox Sports 1 was really cool. Hope everybody is doing well out there, and everybody stay safe.”

Justin Allgaier, driver No. 7 BRANDT Professional Agriculture Chevrolet team

“Unfortunately we had a little bit of damage at the end there. We had good track position on that final restart, but a little too much damage to be able to contend. Awesome job by iRacing, NASCAR, everybody that was a part of this. It’s been crazy the last few weeks. We want to be at the race track as much as everyone else does and to be racing. What we did today, hopefully, will give some of the folks who are race fans a little bit of a taste of racing. Hopefully they enjoyed it. We’ll definitely be back to do more of these if we’re allowed to. It was so much fun. The BRANDT Professional Agriculture Camaro looked good, just not quite enough to put ourselves in Victory Lane.”



XFINITY Series Schedule

  • August 15 03:00 PM ET
    UNOH 188 Daytona Road Course
  • August 22 04:00 PM ET
    Drydene 200Dover International Speedway
  • August 23 12:30 PM ET
    Drydene 200Dover International Speedway
  • August 28 07:30 PM ET
    Wawa 250Daytona International Speedway
  • September 5 04:00 PM ET
    Sport Clips Haircuts VFW 200Darlington Raceway

XFINITY Series Standings

After Henry 180

Road America | 8/8/2020
1Austin Cindric7710
2Chase Briscoe760-11
3Ross Chastain708-63
4Noah Gragson697-74
5Justin Haley636-135
6Harrison Burton #608-163
7Justin Allgaier598-173
8Michael Annett543-228