Circuit Gilles Villeneuve is the perfect race course. It has hosted world class formula 1 races, IndyCar, GRAND-AM, and most recently -- some of best finishes in NASCAR history. It was built for action, and that's exactly what Saturday's NAPA Auto Parts 200 delivered.
Several late cautions and two extensive overtime attempts turned the race into a fuel mileage affair, leaving several of the frontrunners, including Villeneuve less than a lap short of making the extended race distance. Villeneuve's team opted to gamble, maintaining their track position for the final restart. This proved costly as Villeneuve's fuel-conservative approach on the last lap resulted in contact with Justin Allgaier on the exit of turn six.
Allgaier completed the bump-and-run, Sam Hornish Jr. followed into second, and Villeneuve settled for third.
It was a sort of redemption for Allgaier who had lost a fuel mileage race at Road America in 2011. In a race that featured eight cautions and dozens of battered race cars, Allgaier kept his fenders intact, maintained his track position, giving him the opportunity to capitalize on Villeneuve's bad luck.
It's his first win of the season, third of his career, and first since June 2011 at Chicagoland Speedway.
"I don't know if he went into protect mode," Allgaier said. "We knew he was going to be close on gas. My first thought was he was out. I had too much steam running my normal pace, and we got together. I'm sure he's not happy about that, but I know that the 30 (Alex Tagliani) got taken out by that car. I guess at the end of the day what goes around comes around."
More on that and a complete finishing order can be found after the jump.
With all due respect to Allgaier's gutsy performance, the main story leaving the Auto Parts 200 was the continued aggressive driving of Jacques Villanueve.
It's becoming a trend.
Without fail, something snaps in Villenueve with about 10 laps to go in every road course race he competes in. His talent is a double-edged sword in that he will always make his way to the front in the closing laps. However, he lacks the patience to methodically work-over the competition, and is one of the most vindictive competitors to ever snap on a helmet.
Alex Tagliani's daring move for the lead with 11 laps to go was bold, but not malicious. That would be Villanueve's response a few laps later when he attempted to eliminate Tagliani from contention -- and was successful. Beyond that, Tagliani is the latest of a long-line of victims that include Danica Patrick, Max Papis, and Brian Scott.
I'm surprised that NASCAR didn't immediately disqualify Villenueve. His spinning Tagliani was beyond 'Have at it, boys.' It's a continuous disrespect for NASCAR, its drivers, and the discipline. Alas, NASCAR let him continue and karma finished the job.
It really wouldn't be that surprising if this was Villenueve's last race. Winning at the track named for his late father means a lot, but it's only going to get more difficult as he continues to provoke the roster. These races are a lot of fun but Villenueve is starting to turn them into a complete cluster.
Final Laps: Allgaier muscles his way to victory (via TheOfficialNASCAR)
Post-Race Reactions: NAPA Auto Parts 200 (via TheOfficialNASCAR)
|1||15||31||Justin Allgaier||Brandt Chevrolet||81||47||4||Running||1||1|
|2||2||12||Sam Hornish Jr.||Alliance Truck Parts Dodge||81||43||1||Running||3||4|
|3||3||22||Jacques Villeneuve||Dodge Dodge||81||43||2||Running||4||43|
|4||17||2||Elliott Sadler||OneMain Financial Chevrolet||81||41||1||Running||1||6|
|5||8||5||Ron Fellows||Canadian Tire Chevrolet||81||39||Running|
|6||6||18||Michael McDowell(i)||FedEx Express Toyota||81||0||Running|
|7||22||01||Mike Wallace||TradeBank Chevrolet||81||37||Running|
|8||9||60||Billy Johnson||Roush Fenway 25 Winning Years Ford||81||36||Running|
|9||19||3||Austin Dillon #||Advocare Chevrolet||81||35||Running|
|10||5||54||Kyle Busch(i)||Monster Energy Toyota||81||0||Running|
|11||11||33||Brendan Gaughan(i)||South Point Hotel & Casino Chevrolet||81||0||Running|
|12||16||6||Ricky Stenhouse Jr.||Ford EcoBoost Ford||81||32||Running|
|13||23||44||Mike Bliss||TriStar Motorsports Chevrolet||81||31||Running|
|14||32||19||Tayler Malsam||G-Oil/Noah's Light Foundation Toyota||81||30||Running|
|15||20||87||Alex Kennedy||Global Barter Corporation/Dream Factory Toyota||81||29||Running|
|16||34||40||Erik Darnell||Key Motorsports Chevrolet||81||28||Running|
|17||36||39||Tim Andrews||Go Green Racing Ford||81||27||Running|
|18||42||24||Derek White||SR2 Motorsports Chevrolet||81||26||Running|
|19||41||14||Eric McClure||Hefty/Reynolds Wrap Toyota||81||25||Running|
|20||21||38||Brad Sweet #||Great Clips Chevrolet||81||24||Running|
|21||27||59||Kyle Kelley||Jamison Eng./UPR.com Chevrolet||81||23||Running|
|22||1||30||Alex Tagliani||Oasis/Motegi Racing Chevrolet||81||23||1||Running||3||7|
|23||31||4||Daryl Harr||Danny Efland Racing Chevrolet||81||21||Running|
|24||10||11||Brian Scott||Dollar General Toyota||81||20||Running|
|25||26||51||Jeremy Clements||USS James E Williams DDG 95 Chevrolet||81||19||Running|
|26||18||81||Jason Bowles #||American Majority Toyota||77||18||Brakes|
|27||4||7||Danica Patrick||GoDaddy.com Chevrolet||75||18||1||Running||1||20|
|28||33||43||Michael Annett||Pilot/Flying J Ford||73||16||Running|
|29||13||99||Patrick Carpentier||NAPA Auto Parts Toyota||69||15||Running|
|30||39||70||Joe Nemechek||ML Motorsports Dodge||62||14||Radiator|
|31||37||26||John Young||Eklekt Technologies Group Dodge||59||13||Drive Train|
|32||12||27||Andrew Ranger||Dodge Dodge||57||12||Suspension|
|33||7||88||Cole Whitt #||TaxSlayer.com Chevrolet||54||11||Engine|
|34||28||75||Kenny Habul||SunEnergy 1 Racing, LLC Toyota||46||10||Accident|
|35||38||23||Dexter Stacey||North Texas Pipe Chevrolet||30||9||Accident|
|36||29||41||Timmy Hill||Lilly Trucking Ford||21||8||Transmission|
|37||14||53||Eric Curran||Whelen/Team Fox Dodge||15||7||Transmission|
|38||35||08||Louis-Phillipe Dumoulin||Randy Hill Racing Ford||14||6||Suspension|
|39||24||15||Chris Cook(i)||Lilly Trucking Chevrolet||6||0||Brakes|
|40||43||47||Matt DiBenedetto||Curtis Key Plumbing Chevrolet||6||4||Overheating|
|41||30||42||Blake Koch||Key Motorsports Chevrolet||5||3||Brakes|
|42||40||46||Chase Miller||The Motorsports Group Chevrolet||4||2||Brakes|
|43||25||10||Jeff Green||TriStar Motorsports Toyota||2||1||Vibration|