Reed Sorenson wins N'wide race
ELKHART LAKE, Wis. -- Justin Allgaier was coasting to the finish and a near-certain victory -- then he ran out of gas.
Ron Fellows still thinks he should've taken home the trophy.
In the end, NASCAR officials ruled Reed Sorenson won a chaotic, disputed overtime finish in Saturday's Nationwide Series race at Road America.
Given the wild ending, perhaps it was only fitting that even Sorenson was feeling a little queasy after the checkered flag fell. Crew chief Trent Owens said Sorenson had an upset stomach before the race and needed some rest right after climbing out of the car. He didn't show up right away for his postrace interview.
"He seems a little dehydrated," Owens said. "He'll be fine."
Sorenson finally was able to speak to reporters more than an hour after the finish, and noted he also felt sick the last time he won a race.
"I'll do that every race if we have to," he joked.
He wasn't the only one whose stomach was churning.
The day would end in disappointment for Allgaier, Fellows and the driver who dominated much of the race, Michael McDowell.
Allgaier took the lead from McDowell on the second of three attempts at a green-white-checkered overtime finish. Allgaier held the lead after the final restart and appeared to have the win sealed up when the yellow flag waved for the final time because of another rash of crashes.
But Allgaier didn't have enough fuel to make it to the finish after running so many extra laps on the four-mile road course, and making it back to the finish line is required under NASCAR rules even though the race finished under yellow.
Sorenson and Fellows took the checkered flag side-by-side and both drivers seemed to think they'd won, and NASCAR officials took several minutes to declare Sorenson the winner.
"I don't agree with the ruling, but it is what it is," Fellows said.
According to a series spokeswoman, NASCAR officials ruled Fellows passed under caution, a no-no in racing.
"When the caution comes out, you don't keep racing," Sorenson said.
But Fellows said he still hadn't received an explanation.
"We're still looking for a full interpretation," Fellows said. "What I've heard, I won't repeat, because it'll just get me in trouble. I'll just wait until we actually get an official word on exactly what the deal was."
Brian Scott was leading in the closing laps of regulation, trying to win the race on fuel strategy. But McDowell, who started on the pole and ran at or near the front all afternoon, chased him down and got around him going into Turn 1 with seven laps to go.
A caution came out after a crash with four laps remaining, bunching up the field and setting up overtime.
That was the first in a series of late crashes that caused NASCAR to extend the race with three attempts at a green/white/checkered finish -- the maximum number of overtime restarts allowed in hopes of ensuring that the race finishes under green.
On the first restart, Villeneuve put two wheels on the grass attempting to make an aggressive passing move going into Turn 1 -- then sent Scott and Papis spinning.
"I didn't feel very proud there when I had two wheels on the grass," Villeneuve said. "I knew that something bad would happen. Took a few cars out, so made people angry, which is normal."
Papis pulled up next to Villeneuve on pit road after the race in an apparent attempt to show his displeasure, but Villeneuve offered no apologies in a postrace interview.
"You're racing," Villeneuve said. "You don't do it on purpose. Well, sometimes you do it on purpose. But no, when it put two wheels on the grass there, I really didn't want to be there. That wasn't the goal."
Otherwise, it was a good finish after a challenging day for Villeneuve, who was leading halfway through the race when NASCAR officials penalized him for changing lanes before the start/finish line on a restart.
There was more chaos on the second attempt at a green-white-checkered finish.
McDowell continued to lead the field to the next restart but went wide in Turn 5 to give up the lead to Allgaier -- and a gaggle of cars spun out behind them, bringing out another caution and setting up Allgaier's heartbreaking loss.
Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press
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