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Everything That Happened in the Xfinity Series Race at Iowa

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What’s Happening?

Today, NASCAR returned to the Hawkie State for the first time since 2019. That’s right, the NASCAR Xfinity Series drivers are back at Iowa Speedway for a little Saturday short track action. Heading into this race was the storyline of a repave in the corners while the rest of the track kept the aged abrasive surface. With the repave came the subject of sizzling track temps and tire issues. In practice for both the NASCAR Xfinity Series and the Cup Series, many drivers hit the wall due to tire failures. How did these issues affect the racing at Iowa? Who was strong early and who rallied late? Let’s talk all of that and more. Here’s everything that went down in the Xfinity Series race at Iowa Speedway.

You Need To Know:

  • Tire issues was the big story heading into today’s race as many drivers in both the Xfinity Series and Cup Series practices blew tires and destroyed their cars. In the first stage, there were two total tire failures: A. J. Allmendinger on Lap 34 and Jeb Burton on Lap 72. Out front, Chandler Smith won the opening stage pretty handedly.
  • Tire issues continued for Allmendinger’s teammate, Shane van Gisbergen as well as Jeb Burton and Jesse Love. Like the first stage, Chandler Smith dominated the second stage enroute to his 5th stage win of the season.
  • Iowa Speedway has always been a favorite track amongst fans. There are a lot of NASCAR lovers in the good ole Hawkeye State and that was clear with the great turnout in the grandstands. Expect more of the same for the Cup Series race tomorrow.

On the restart to kick off the final stage, Chandler Smith seemed to have some sort of issue. He plummeted through and out of the top-10. He was able to stabilize himself around 12th but it was a big blow for the dominant car of the race. Slowly, he worked his way back inside the top 10 and started his agonizingly sluggish climb back up through the field.

Sam Mayer capitalized on Smith’s misfortunes as he assumed the lead on Lap 169. Drivers were good on fuel after the restart but all eyes were still on the tire ware. Pitting under green due to potential tire issues was Ryan Seig (who took fuel only after the conclusion of the second stage) and Brett Moffitt.

Following an incident which saw his teammate Justin Allgaier plow into the outside wall, Sam Mayer lost the lead on pit road after leading 38 laps. He fell down to the 3rd position as John Hunter Nemechek assumed the race lead. When the race restarted with around 40 laps to go, there was a battle between Nemechek on the outside and his teammate Sheldon Creen on the inside. The 20 ultimately prevailed after Creed got loose on the bottom. The 18 slipped back to 4th as Austin Hill and Cole Custer took over the 2nd and 3rd spot respectively.

The next caution came when 2nd place runner Austin Hill blew a tire and hit the wall. The race restarted with 26 laps to go. The caution flag came out yet again when Brennan Poole’s car started smoking due to a mechanical issue. The race then restarted with 13 laps to go with J. H. Nemechek restarting on the high side and Riley Herbst taking the inside.

Herbst hung tough on the inside and eventually took the lead from Nemechek. The 20 got out of the groove and into teammate Sheldon Creed, causing him to have a tire rub on his left front tire. As a result, he fell outside the top-10.

The race was on from there between Riley Herbst and Sam Mayer. The two got side-by-side with 7 laps to go. When they came around again to take 6 to go, Mayer had the lead and started to pull away from the 98. Raining on his parade, however, was John Hunter Nemechek whose tire finally blew with 5 laps to go.

In the seventh overtime restart of the 2024 NASCAR Xfinity Series season, Sam Mayer rocketed out front and took the lead by the first corner. On the last lap, he was trailed by the 98 and the 26 but they never were able to get to Mayer. Finishing second was Riley Herbst who showed his frustration with Mayer on the cooldown lap. Impressively, finishing third in only his seventh career start was Truck Series regular, Corey Heim.

Congratulations to Sam Mayer on capturing his second win of the 2024 NASCAR Xfinity Series season!

The Layout

Per the always reliable source of Bob Pockrass (FOX Sports), the layout for the NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Iowa was as follows:

  • Stage 1: 75 Laps
  • Stage 2: 75 Laps
  • Stage 3: 100 Laps

Also reported by Bob, the fuel run was expected to be somewhere between 95 to 105 laps but with the tire issue storyline, Goodyear rubber seemed to be the bigger concern. Each team was given an extra set of tires by NASCAR, making for a total of 5 sets. To the rear to start the race was Portland and Sonoma winner, Shane van Gisbergen (who crashed during practice and was forced to a backup car) and Patrick Emerling (for unapproved adjustments).

Tire Woes Take Out Allmendinger

The first caution of the afternoon came on Lap 34 when series veteran A. J. Allmendinger had a tire explode. Subsequently, he got into the wall hard, ricocheted off the SAFER barrier, and came to a steaming rest in the infield. His car was totaled and his race was over. Thankfully, following the massive hit, he was checked and released from the infield care center. A. J. Allmendinger was the first victim of tire issues in the Xfinity Series race at Iowa. Unfortunately, he was not the last. You can rewatch the brutal impact in the clip below provided by NASCAR on NBC.

Chandler Smith Sweeps The Stages

Chandler Smith took the lead on Lap 15 and rocketed out front. He had no major challengers in the opening stage of the race, though he did briefly lose the lead to his teammate J. H. Nemechek as he and most of the field came down pit road following the Allmendinger incident while the 20 and Jeremy Clements stayed out. That was around Lap 34. By Lap 49, however, he was back out front and led the rest of the way to the end of the stage.

Officially, the stage ended under caution as Jeb Burton had a right front tire go down and subsequently got into the wall on Lap 72. For Smith, this is his fourth stage win on the year. For winning the stage, he received 10 points and 1 Playoff point.

First DNF for Incident for SVG

It was a rough weekend for back-to-back Xfinity Series winner, Shane van Gisbergen. Friday, during a rare but valuable 50-minute practice session, his number 97 Chevy got away from him and he hit the wall. He ended up having to go to a backup car. In a similar incident, his car just simply got away from him. SVG washed up the track on Lap 87 while running 25th, making contact with Blaine Perkins in the 29. He got into the wall and his race was subsequently over. It marks the first DNF for incident in SVG’s NASCAR career. Watch the whole ordeal in the video clip below.

Jesse Love Has Tire Issues

The next major tire issue came on Lap 150 as Jesse Love’s right front exploded and he plowed his No. 2 Wheelen Chevy into the outside wall. The incident occurred after Love reported a vibration to his crew. His crew chief urged him to stay out and he came up just one lap shy of the end of the stage. Prior to the incident, Love was battling hard with his teammate Austin Hill in the 21. You can watch the brutal impact in the clip below.

Smith vs. Smith in Stage 2

Like the first stage, the second stage was dominated by Chandler Smith in his JGR 81. His biggest challenger came from Sammy Smith in the JRM No. 8 Chevy. He seemed to be the only driver capable of hanging with the dominant Chandler Smith. Still, his efforts were not enough to dethrone the 81. Chandler Smith reigned supreme in both stages of the race. With this stage win, it’s his fifth on the year. He received an additional 10 points and another point to add to his Playoff total.

The Heartbreak Continues For Justin Allgaier

The next driver to fall victim to the tire epidemic was NASCAR Xfinity Series veteran driver, Justin Allgaier. The incident occurred on Lap 202 when his tire right-front tire simply exploded coming out of Turn 4. He ran about 41 laps on that set of tires, which was alarming considering that there were still 48 laps to go at the time of incident. The impact into the outside SAFER barrier was absolutely brutal. Thankfully, he was able to get out of the car under his own power. Subsequently, he was checked and released from the infield care center. Watch the harsh impact in the clip below.

Austin Hill Falls Victim To Tire Issues

With 32 laps to go, 2nd place runner Austin Hill had a left front tire go down, causing him to get up out of the groove and into the wall. He hit the wall pretty hard, telling his team after the impact that he “didn’t catch it soon enough”. The tires on his car were 18 lap scuffed tires, which raised some eyebrows for other drivers and teams. The crash ended Hill’s race. You can watch the incident below.

Sam Mayer Wins At Iowa

He didn’t have the dominate car of the race but he certainly had a solid car when it counted most. Again, we here at the Daily Downforce would like to congratulate Sam Mayer on running a great race and capturing the checkered flag at Iowa Speedway. This was his second win of the year, further solidifying the young driver of the number 1 as a serious title contender.

Around The Garage

As posted on X by Sam Hunt Racing, there was a major issue with tires blistering before even the halfway mark of the opening stage. Check out the picture of the scorched Goodyear Eagles below.

In The Stands

There was a great turnout in the stands at Iowa Speedway. The grandstands appeared to be absolutely packed. As a lover of this track, this was great to see.


That does it for the NASCAR Xfinity Series return to Iowa Speedway. What did you make of the race, Daily Downforce reader? Did you like what you saw? Are you happy with Sam Mayer’s victory and how he drove on that final lap? What do you make of today’s tire issues? Let us know all of that and more by commenting on all our social media platforms. And be sure to tune back into tomorrow as 7 eastern time for our coverage of the first ever NASCAR Cup Series race at Iowa Speedway!

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Cody Williams

Cody Williams is the author of BUNNY BOY and THE FIFTH LINE. He lives near Bristol, TN.
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