It was Michael McDowell driving the No. 2 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet dueling with his teammate, Brendan Gaughan in the final laps of an overtime finish before collecting his first NASCAR Xfinity win at the Road America 180.
McDowell led 24 of the final 25 laps having to dodge raindrops, punting Alex Tagliani out of the way and fending off Mid-Ohio winner, Justin Marks before the race settled out to a green-white-checkered finish with Gaughan passing Marks and Daniel Suarez on the white flag lap.
“It means a tremendous amount to me,” said McDowell, who finished second at Road America in 2012. “I’ve been so close here at Road America. To finally finish it off was huge.” He finished second in 2012 on the four-mile road course.
McDowell later explained what happened with Tagliani on the restart as the two leaders battled for the same spot. “He went wide in Turn 5 and I got under (Justin Marks) and (Tagliani),” McDowell said. “I was alongside of him and he just decided to turn in. Once we made contact, I just came off the brake and pushed him out of the way. And the reason I did that is because if had I not, I’d have been stuck there too and I would have got run over.”
Of course, the pole-sitter, Tagliani driving the No. 22 Roger Penske Ford Mustang saw things in a completely different light stating his tap from McDowell was intentional as his only way to win.
“We were the car to beat,” said Tagliani, who led 17 laps and had just regained the top position going into turn five eventually to wind up seventh after the mishap. “The opportunity presented itself and he took the fastest car on the track out.”
Brennan Poole was third, followed by Daniel Suarez and Ryan Reed to round out the top five.
The NASCAR Xfinity series Chase of 12 only has only three more races before the title chase begins in Kentucky Speedway on Sept. 24. Ryan Sieg anchors the 12th place, 15 points ahead of Dakoda Armstrong, 33 over Jeremy Clements and 34 from Ross Chastain.
The series now moves to the track “Too Tough to Tame” for the running of the VFW Sports Clips Help a Hero 200 on Saturday, Sept. 3 on the NBC network.