ARCA: Justin Allison continues family tradition, wins at Pocono

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The next generation of stock car racing’s fabled Alabama Gang has now officially arrived.

Justin Allison, grandson of 10-time Sprint Cup race winner Donnie Allison, captured his first checkered flag in the ARCA Racing Series today in the ModSpace 125 at Pocono Raceway.

With the victory, Allison is now the third member of his prestigious family to win in the ARCA series. The late Davey Allison won eight times in the series, while 1983 Sprint Cup champion Bobby Allison earned a single win.

“I don’t even have words, man,” a stunned Justin told Fox Sports in Victory Lane. “I think we had a good car – we were struggling a little bit with being tight. But I can’t thank these guys enough. Without them, it wouldn’t be possible…This is awesome.”

Allison inherited the lead late in the 50-lap event, but still had to fend off the pursuit of Will Kimmel on the final lap.

Kimmel was on the same fuel strategy as Allison, rising up to second after leaders Brendan Poole and Justin Boston pitted under green before Lap 40 (ARCA rules require all cars to pit at least once before the race reaches 10 laps to go).

Tom Hessert also benefited from the strategy and moved up to third, which is where he’d finish ahead of Poole and Boston in fourth and fifth.

The call was made to bring Allison to the pits after a couple of cautions marred the early going. Allison may have been surprised by it, but he wasn’t about to argue with the result.

“That was definitely the right call,” Allison said. “We didn’t talk about it or plan to pit early, but all of a sudden, when the caution came out, they were like ‘Pit now, pit now.’

“I’m happy with the way things worked out.”

The victory drew congratulations from many in the stock car community, including Davey’s widow, Liz Allison, and Dale Earnhardt Jr., who worked for the Allisons while growing up.

Here’s who were picking to win the Indy 500 — who are YOU picking?

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Several members of the NBC Sports motorsports staff have made their predictions on who will win Sunday’s 102nd Running of the Indianapolis 500.

Of the six voters, two are going with 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series champ Josef Newgarden, while two others are going with Helio Castroneves to win a fourth 500, which would tie him with A.J. Foyt, Al Unser and Rick Mears.

Here’s our picks. Who are YOU picking?

Leigh Diffey: Helio Castroneves — He drives the place better than anyone else. For me (for what its worth) he deserves a fourth 500 ring for the frustration he went through never getting the IndyCar title!

Townsend Bell: Josef Newgarden

Nate Ryan: Simon Pagenaud — All of his 2018 misfortune on the track has disappeared in May, and it culminates in the biggest victory of his career.

Jerry Bonkowski: Helio Castroneves – There’s no pressure as he pursues his fourth Indy 500 win. All Helio has to do, as late NFL owner Al Davis would say, is “Just win, baby!” (But if Helio falls short, watch for Marco Andretti)

Kyle Lavigne: Josef Newgarden — I think he has everything he needs to get it done this year.

Dan Beaver: Robert Wickens – Has driven like anything except a rookie and his second-place finish at Phoenix proves he’s just as good on an oval as the road courses.

Follow: Jerry Bonkowski