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Nationwide: Villeneuve denied home win

Jacques Villeneuve missed out on a much-wanted home win in Canada after being bumped out of the lead on the final lap by eventual winner Justin Allgaier.
For a large part of the NAPA Auto Parts 200 NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal, it appeared that former F1 world champion Jacques Villeneuve was on his way to victory lane. He led for over half the race and was rarely out of contention for long, even when an ill-timed early caution sent him tumbling out of the top ten for a period.

But as the ending approached, the hitherto orderly race became a frenzy of hot-headed overtaking moves that included Villeneuve apparently deliberately spinning his compatriot Alex Tagliani out of the lead and then set up two attempts at green-white-chequered overtime finish that had everyone stretching their fuel to the limit.

When Villeneuve's car appeared to stutter after the white flag, Justin Allgaier took his chance to bump the #22 out of the way and to drive away with the race win, leaving a seething Villeneuve to signal his unhappiness as he came across the line in third place behind Sam Hornish Jr.

The early stage of the race had been a relatively sedate affair mostly focussed on differing pit stop strategies and everyone having to focus hard on hitting their fuel numbers. That resulted in the sight of a lot of the Nationwide regulars - Elliott Sadler, Austin Dillon and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. among them - all making very early stops for fuel in the opening minutes. Kyle Busch was another to come in early, having already had to start toward the back of the field after missing qualifying on Friday because of taking part in the Sprint Cup session in Michigan.

Another car in prematurely was that of the polesitter Alex Tagliani, who had suffered some front end damage after running into the back of Sam Hornish Jr. on lap 3 while briefly running in second. Hornish briefly took over the lead spot but it was clear that he didn't have the pace to stay in front of the Penske Racing car driven by Jacques Villeneuve, who took over control of the race on lap 8; Hornish also succumbed to Danica Patrick's overtaking moved three laps later and dropped back to third.

Patrick was the first of the remaining leaders to blink and come onto pit road for her first stop on lap 19, making it look touch-and-go whether she would be able to make it the rest of the way on just one more stop. However, the timing ended up being a major stroke of luck for the #7, as the first caution of the day came out while she was still in the pits because of a spin and stall for Dexter Stacy.

This was bad news for Villeneuve and Hornish: it was still slightly too early for comfort for them to make it all the way on their two-stop strategy, but they had little choice other than to take advantage of the yellow even though it would drop them behind the other cars - like Danica - that had already stopped. Villeneuve was beaten off pit road by Hornish, and resumed the race from 12th place on lap 23.

The fortuitous timing of her own stop put Danica Patrick at the front for the green flag, and he pulled off a picture perfect restart to quickly pull away from Ron Fellows, Justin Allgaier and Cole Whitt who ended up in a three-way battle for the second spot that resulted in Whitt mowing the grass and Allgaier getting bumped into the wall on the other side.

Another caution quickly followed for Timmy Hill stranded off-track, and NASCAR tried to get proceedings underway again on lap 27 with Patrick repeating her picture-perfect breakaway at the front to drop Fellows and Allgaier. Kyle Busch had now circulated up to fourth place despite starting from the back thanks to his early pit stop, and Andrew Ranger was in fifth just ahead of Villeneuve who was already charging back to the front by making use of every opportunity that the multiple restart attempts had presented.




Related Pictures

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Coors Light Pole sitter Alex Tagliani leads the NASCAR Nationwide Series field to start the NAPA 200 at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. (Photo Credit: Robert Laberge/Getty Images)
Justin Allgaier crosses the finish line to win the NAPA 200 at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. (Photo Credit: Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
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Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Diet Mountain Dew Chevrolet, prepares for practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on September 19, 2014 in Loudon, New Hampshire. (Photo Credit: Jared Wickerham/NASCAR via Getty Images)
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Kyle Busch, driver of the #51 Dollar General Toyota, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning during the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Lucas Oil 225 at Chicagoland Speedway on September 13, 2014 in Joliet, Illinois. (Photo Credit: Daniel Shirey/Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #5 Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series Jimmy John`s Freaky Fast 300 at Chicagoland Speedway on September 13, 2014 in Joliet, Illinois. (Photo Credit: Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #5 Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, takes the chequered flag to win the NASCAR Nationwide Series Jimmy John`s Freaky Fast 300 at Chicagoland Speedway on September 13, 2014 in Joliet, Illinois. (Photo Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #5 Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series Jimmy John`s Freaky Fast 300 at Chicagoland Speedway on September 13, 2014 in Joliet, Illinois. (Photo Credit: Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Brian Scott, driver of the #2 Shore Lodge Chevrolet, leads thre field past the green flag to start during the NASCAR Nationwide Series Jimmy John`s Freaky Fast 300 at Chicagoland Speedway on September 13, 2014 in Joliet, Illinois. (Photo Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Darrell Wallace Jr., driver of the #54 ToyotaCare Toyota, sits on the grid under an umbrella prior to qualifying for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Lucas Oil 225 at Chicagoland Speedway on September 12, 2014 in Joliet, Illinois.  (Photo Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images)

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SP3 - Unregistered

August 19, 2012 5:58 PM

@Gazza, jv got what he gave out. As long as nascrap continues allow (promote) retarded 'pro wrestling' type of entertainment, this is what their 'racing' will be like.

benignlyindifferent

August 19, 2012 6:37 PM

I remember the good old days of Nascar, when 74 lap races lasted 74 laps, allowing good teams to plan their pit stops, and punting another could result in disqualification, and when a title was decided by points, and not some "chase" that requires rule tweaks almost as often as Moto GP. Yesterday's race, which I watched, reminded me why I quit supporting Nascar several years ago.



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