Handling Woes Ruin Allgaier's Chances at Richmond
For one of the few times this season, the #31 BRANDT/Northeastern Supply Chevrolet was ill handling throughout a race and the result Friday night was a disappointing 15th place finish for driver Justin Allgaier at the Richmond International Raceway in Virginia.
Despite qualifying a healthy 13th in the 43-car starting field after a hard working practice session earlier in the day, Allgaier had hoped that the adjustments made to his race car just before the time trials would work in the race. Unfortunately, they did not.
Once the green flag dropped, the BRANDT/Northeastern Supply Impala ran tight through the corners and an early caution flag enabled Allgaier to pit for some adjustments. The #31 re-started the race in the 24th spot on lap 28 of the 250-lap, Virginia 529 College Savings 250, NASCAR Nationwide Series event.
In the 40 green flag laps that followed, the inability for Allgaier to get his race car to turn in the turns continued, and only another caution on lap 68 prevented Justin’s machine from falling a lap down. Crew Chief Jimmy Elledge ordered a major adjustment this time on Allgaier’s subsequent pit stop that included the addition of a spring rubber to the right rear of the car, an air pressure change along with fuel and four fresh Good Year tires.
Re-starting the race in the 17th position on lap 75, Allgaier was hoping that the handling problem was solved, but over the next 40 laps, Justin continued to complain about the tightness in the turns when another yellow flag flew on lap 115. However, a sensational pit stop by the BRANDT crew enabled Allgaier to get additional changes to his car and an improvement of three positions on the track to 12th when the race re-started on lap 122.
Much to Justin’s chagrin, the race’s longest stretch of green flag-racing followed and with it any chance of a top ten finish as the #31 Chevy would ultimately go down a lap during this segment of the event to finish three positions worse at 15th.
Kurt Busch, the older brother of Kyle Busch, roared from behind to nip Denny Hamlin at the stripe for the race victory; the two cars banging side by side and crossing the start-finish line nearly sideways. Pole sitter Kevin Harvick, defending Series’ champion Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. and Sam Hornish, Jr. rounded out the top five finishers.
“A night like tonight is really pretty frustrating,” Allgaier said. “I hate it for these guys (the BRANDT crew). They worked so incredibly hard all weekend and we are just kind of at a loss to explain what happened to this car. I know Jimmy (Elledge) threw just about everything he could think of at it to help the tightness in the corners. I’m hopeful we can continue this momentum in the point standings and keep moving forward,” he added.
Allgaier was alluding to the fact that despite his disappointing finish he was still able to jump two positions in the Championship Driver Points Standing to 7th after seven of this season’s 33 scheduled races. Justin now holds a 10-point advantage over Taylor Malsam and is within 15 tallies of 6th place Cole Whitt as Nationwide Series action now shifts to the high banks of the Talladega Superspeedway.
Current point’s leader Elliott Sadler, who finished 6th in the
The race on NASCAR’s fastest race track will be the first Nationwide Series event of the season to be aired live on network TV as ABC will begin its national telecast of the Aaron’s Rents 312 Saturday at 3 p.m. EDT.