Throwback Weekend continued on Saturday afternoon with the Steakhouse Elite 200 at Darlington Raceway. The drivers headed out to The Lady in Black in paint schemes honoring NASCAR legends from history and competed for crucial stage points and the checkered flag. Justin Allgaier ultimately turned in the best performance after recovering from some early tire damage.
The race came down to one final shootout in overtime. Allgaier lined up on the front row with teammate Josh Berry next to him. Once the green flag waved for the final time, they pushed each other for the win, nearly colliding while fighting for position. They avoided damage and then raced to the checkered flag.
Allgaier ultimately captured the win, his second of the season, while honoring Dale Earnhardt. He drove a special bright red Chevrolet Camaro that referenced the late NASCAR driver’s Tazmanian Devil paint scheme from the 2000 Daytona 500.
“It was awesome. This paint scheme has been so special to us,” Allgaier told Fox Sports’ Jamie Little after securing the win. He explained that Throwback Weekend is extremely special to him and all of the other drivers and that they embrace the opportunity to use the special paint schemes to honor legends.
Several drivers earned the infamous Darlington Stripe
Following Friday night’s wreck-filled Truck Series race, there were concerns among NASCAR fans about the remaining events. They wondered if the Xfinity Series and Cup Series races would feature a similar number of caution flags.
Saturday’s Steakhouse Elite 200 had three scheduled cautions before the green flag waved — a competition caution and the two stage breaks — but the drivers brought out a fourth early in the race. There was an incident featuring Justin Allgaier, Brandon Gdovic, and JJ Yeley. Gdovic then brought out another caution seven laps later.
The yellow flags increased in frequency once the final stage began and the drivers pushed for the win. Back-to-back incidents, in particular, disrupted the race with fewer than 24 laps remaining. Another caution with six laps remaining set up a final overtime shootout between the top drivers.
Noah Gragson initially earned some extra money but lost it via penalty
Four drivers entered Throwback Weekend with extra motivation to turn in a strong performance. Jeb Burton, Noah Gragson, AJ Allmendinger, and Austin Cindric made up the four drivers competing in the third Dash 4 Cash race. Whichever driver finished with the best position of Saturday’s race would win an extra $100,000.
Gragson won the first two Dash 4 Cash races of the season, finishing second at Martinsville behind teammate Josh Berry and then sixth at Talladega Superspeedway. The fourth-place finish at Darlington gave him his third Dash 4 Cash win of the season. Combined with the 2020 season, these performances initially gave him four total $100,000 bonuses. Gragson won the Atlanta Dash 4 Cash bonus in 2020.
While Gragson celebrated the Dash 4 Cash win, his joy faded. NASCAR officials announced after the race that the JR Motorsports driver had failed inspection. They disqualified the No. 9 car and took away the $100,000 bonus, awarding it to Allmendinger.
NASCAR said in a press release that Gragson faced disqualification under Rule 20.14.c: “All suspension mounts and mounting hardware must not allow movement or realignment of any suspension and/or drivetrain component beyond normal rotation or suspension and/or drivetrain travel.”
The penalty also meant that Gragson will not have the opportunity to compete for the final Dash 4 Cash bonus. Instead, Berry, Allgaier, Brandon Jones, and Allmendinger will race for the money at Dover.