After varying pit strategies and several drivers’ efforts to conserve fuel in the closing laps of the NAPA Auto Parts 200 NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve on Saturday, Justin Allgaier got by Jacques Villeneuve on the final lap of a second green-white-checker to claim his first win of the season and his first-career victory on a road course.
“I didn’t breathe the whole (final) lap,” Allgaier said in victory lane.
Sam Hornish Jr. survived two late-race incidents, one with Michael McDowell and another with Danica Patrick, to finish second.
“Prior to that caution where we got spun out, I thought we had something for them,” Hornish said. “We had a winning race car.”
Villeneuve was relegated to third after leading a race high 43 laps in an event that had a scheduled distance of 74 circuits.
Villeneuve moved into the lead on lap eight and led the way until heading down pit road during a caution that came out on lap 18.
Patrick restarted up front after that caution and led some 20 laps before suffering mechanical issues that seemed to start after she hit a shoe that was thrown out onto the race track around lap 40. The indicent resulted in multiple pit stops during a caution that came out for debris on lap 45 and an eventual trip to the garage.
Villeneuve then took over and led much of the remainder of the race. Villeneuve last pitted on lap 46 and then stretched his fuel mileage the rest of the way with hopes of making it to the end.
He was able to remain under power the remainder of the race, but according to Allgaier, Villeneuve’s car sputtered and slowed on the final lap. It was then that Allgaier made the contact with Villeneuve that allowed himself and Hornish to get by to claim the top-two spots.
“I thought he was out of fuel, because he was so slow,” Allgaier said.
Series points leader Elliott Sadler finished fourth, and Ron Fellows was fifth. Finishing sixth through 10th were McDowell, Mike Wallace, Billy Johnson in the No. 60 Roush Fenway Racing Ford, Austin Dillon and Kyle Busch.
Photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR
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