Montreal, QC – Justin Allgaier prevailed in a fuel battle to win Saturday's NAPA Auto Parts 200 Nationwide Series race at Montreal's Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.
Allgaier passed Canadian Jacques Villeneuve and took the lead on the final lap of a second green-white-checkered finish attempt. Villeneuve, who last pitted on lap 46, was running on fumes and appeared to have run out of gas when he slowed halfway through the last lap. Allgaier nudged him from behind and then got by to take the top spot. Sam Hornish Jr. moved into second.
"I feel really bad that I got into (Villeneuve) there going into (turn) six," Allgaier said. "To be honest, I thought he was out of fuel, because he was going so slow coming off of four and into five. I tried braking and started wheel-hopping, but I got into him a little bit. Once I got in front of him, I knew that I was going to have to race the best I ever had on a road course."
Hornish, who was involved in two separate crashes earlier in the race, tried to catch Allgaier in remaining turns, but he crossed the finish line 0.35 seconds behind Allgaier, who collected his third career Nationwide win.
When the series competed in June 2011 at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wis., Allgaier let an opportunity to win slip away on the final lap. He held the lead before running out of fuel and stalling on the lengthy four-mile road course.
Allgaier led only the final lap in Montreal. He made his last pit stop on lap 54.
"That last lap there was just amazing; I didn't breathe the whole lap," he said. "Last year at Road America, we were so close, but we didn't get it. So this definitely feels good."
After a restart on lap 64, Hornish got hit from behind by Michael McDowell and spun around. Hornish was then involved in a crash with Danica Patrick and Mike Wallace on the following lap when Patrick and Kyle Kelley made contact.
"I felt like we had a winning car today, but we just didn't get the win," Hornish said after his second-place run. "I think I would've got the 31 (Allgaier) if there was another lap. To come back from where we were at and have those kind of problems, I feel pretty good about it."
Villeneuve, who led 43 of 81 laps, managed to get up to speed and cross the line in third before his car finally ran out of gas on the cool-down lap. Villeneuve was hoping to get his first NASCAR win on this 2.71-mile, 14-turn road course, which is named after his late father. He started on the pole but finished 27th in the 2011 race here.
Three of the eight cautions occurred within the final 10 laps. Villeneuve remained the leader after each of the three last restarts until he gave up the top position to Allgaier a half-lap away from the finish.
"We had the car of the field today," Villeneuve said. "We were untouchable. It makes the end result a little frustrating. We were a little bit low on fuel, so I was being careful, and as often happens (at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve), it goes a little bit crazy on the last lap."
Elliott Sadler, the points leader, took the fourth spot, while Ron Fellows, also from Canada, completed the top-five.
"This is a good finish for us, and we're definitely happy with fourth," Sadler said.
Patrick led a career-high 20 laps, but just before a restart on lap 38, she ran over a shoe that was hurled over the fence by a spectator. Shortly after, Patrick experienced handling and steering issues with her car. She went behind the wall briefly to repair a broken rear axle. Patrick finished six laps behind in 27th.
McDowell, Mike Wallace, Billy Johnson, Austin Dillon and Kyle Busch finished sixth through 10th, respectively. Busch traveled from Michigan to Montreal and had to start from the rear of the field since he did not qualify his No. 54 car. Qualifying for both the Nationwide and Sprint Cup Series races took place on Friday.
Sadler now holds a 22-point lead over Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Hornish. Stenhouse spun out in the closing laps and ended up finishing 12th. Dillon is 35 points behind, while Allgaier trails by 68.