Allgaier Nurses His #7 Chevy to 5th Place Kansas Finish; Takes Driver Point Lead Over Teammate Byron

With his #7 Degree Deodorant/Northeastern Supply Chevrolet experiencing some sort of under-the-hood problem, Justin Allgaier successfully nursed his race car to a very solid, 5th place finish Saturday afternoon at Kansas Speedway. The effort vaulted the poised, Illinois driver into the top spot in the all-important points battle that in two more races will determine the final four drivers who will head to the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway to battle it out for the 2017 NASCAR Xfinity Series championship.

Allgaier didn’t qualify all that well earlier in the day, starting the race from the 13th position, but it took Justin just 25 laps to move into 8th. Despite what Justin described as "no, real lateral grip" to his race machine, Allgaier successfully held onto that 8th position from where he finished the race's first segment.

Pitting for four fresh tires, a full tank of fuel and a wedge adjustment on lap 47, Allgaier would re-start the race's second segment in 7th place on lap 52. Now struggling with a tight-handling car, Allgaier slipped back a spot to 8th during the first half of the second segment, but when his JR Motorsports teammate and fellow championship contender, Elliott Sadler, spun on lap 78 to bring out one of the event's four caution flags, it gave Justin's Crew Chief Jason Burdett a chance to pit his race car for an adjustment.

Instead, Burdett opted to keep the #7 Chevy on the track to get better track position. The caution also allowed Allgaier to cool off his tires, and when racing resumed on lap 83 and Allgaier now in 5th place, Justin got more aggressive and on the final lap of the segment made a bold move in turn one to knock off two positions and notched a 3rd place second segment finish for some valuable segment points.

Allgaier finally did pit during the segment break for four more fresh tires, fuel and a left rear wedge adjustment to try and stabilize the car. The longer-than-normal pit stop would relegate Allgaier back to the 7th position for the start of the final segment on lap 97.

It only took a few laps under green for Justin to report back to Burdett that his car was still "a handful" but with Allgaier now up to the 4th position that he held until lap 139 when another yellow flag flew for driver Ryan Sieg's spin in the 4th turn. Justin would make what would be his final pit stop of the day during this caution period for more fresh rubber, fuel and a track bar adjustment this time, allowing Allgaier to roll off 5th on lap 145 but with an order from Burdett "to save fuel".

Allgaier did have a spirited battle with Chevrolet driver Tyler Reddick for 4th that spanned a handful of laps before Justin settled back into 5th from where he was able to take the checkered flag despite some issues beyond just handling.

"I think we had a header or something that had cracked early in the race," Justin said. “We weren't getting the fuel mileage that other guys were getting, so we did our job and were able to nurse it home there to a solid finish. It was a good points day for us," he added, so much so that Justin moved back on top of the point standing by two over teammate and rookie sensation William Byron who finished 4th but didn't have the segment points that Justin was able to accumulate. Sadler, despite that early-race spin, rallied to finish 7th and is 3rd in points, 11 behind Allgaier, with only the races at Texas and Phoenix remaining until the final four contenders for the title advance to Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Trailing the JR Motorsports trio in points after 30 of this season's 33 races is Brennan Poole (-28 to Allgaier), rookie Matt Tifft (-33), Ryan Reed and rookie Dan Hemric (both -34) and another rookie in Cole Custer (-36).

Rookie Christopher Bell, in a Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota, claimed his first, career Xfinity Series victory despite teammate Eric Jones leading 186 of the race's 200 laps. Jones had some issues late to finish out of the money while Reddick, Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series regular Ryan Blaney and Byron rounding out the top five finishers.

Xfinity Series action takes a week off before renewing its run on November 4 at Texas Motor Speedway. Allgaier believes in his race team enough to be able to continue his drive to the championship and knows he and the team will be ready at Texas and Phoenix, and again at Homestead-Miami if he is to be one of the four contenders.

"Hats off to everyone back at the race shop. They have done a great job all year, and my crew is always ready to compete. We're looking forward to our next challenge," Allgaier added.