Allgaier Rallies From End-of-Stage Two Incident to Cop 11th Place Finish at Road America

 

Nothing seems to come easy any longer for Justin Allgaier and his BRANDT Professional Agriculture/Northeastern Supply Chevrolet race team, and in Sunday afternoon's running of the Johnsonville 180 at the Road America road course in Elkhart Lake, WI, that feeling continued.

Allgaier's #7 Chevrolet and the Ford driven by Ryan Reed got together while racing for position near the end of the second segment. Reed's Ford spun after making contact with the left rear quarter panel of Allgaier's Camaro. Justin was able to drive away from the incident but did have damage to the left rear of the car that Crew Chief Jason Burdett and the crew spent time repairing when Allgaier pitted under the end-of-segment caution. Justin finished 4th in the segment.

The repairs Allgaier's crew had to make on his race machine took a little longer than expected, and when Jusin finally got back onto the track for the start of the final segment, the #7 was showing a distant 32nd in the running order.

Twenty-one laps remained when the field took the green flag to start that final segment and Allgaier had his work cut out to get back into contention or at least a chance at a top 10 finish.

Justin started passing cars with each lap and was back inside the top 20 when Burdett took a gamble and decided to short pit, bringing in Allgaier for a surprising pit stop on lap 28 for fuel only as Burdett was gambling that the #7 machine would be able to go the rest of the way without having to pit any longer.

Burdett's strategy was successful as Allgaier managed to get back onto the track and then proceeded to knock off eight spots before the end of the race to cross the start-finish line 11th in line. However, with many of the other lead lap cars on different pitting strategies, the drivers of the cars in front of the #7 were predominantly made up of those who have not ever won a NASCAR Xfinity Series race.

Taking the checkered flag first for his initial Xfinity Series victory was upstart Jeremy Clements who with the win is guaranteed a position in the 16-driver Playoff at the end of the season. Finishing behind Clements' Chevrolet in order and rounding out the top five was Allgaier's JR Motorsports teammate Michael Annett, rookie Matt Tifft, Justin Marks and Brendan Gaughan.

Allgaier started the race in the 7th position and moved into 5th by lap 6. Allgaier liked the way his car was running, and when a caution came out on lap 6, Burdett told Allgaier to stay out and not pit. The manuever enabled Justin to move into 4th place when racing re-started on lap 8. Justin was able to maintain that position until one lap remained til the end of the first segment when Brennan Poole was able to bypass Allgaier who would finish stage one in the 5th position.

After pitting for fuel, fresh tires and a slight air pressure adjustment during the end-of-segment caution period, Allgaier started the 2nd segment in 17th place and was up to 13th when another yellow flag waved for debris on the racing surface. Allgaier had reported that he thought he had some grass stuck on his grill during an off-course excursion. Justin was fortunate enough to get most of the grass off by weaving his car back and forth through the corners, and by the time the caution came out, the #7 was up to 4th and challenging only to be derailed by the on-track altercation with Reed.

"I was super happy for Michael (Annett) for finishing 2nd today. Definitely a really good day for him and his race tream,"Allgaier said after the race. "Road America is one of my favorite tracks on the schedule, but I'm pretty confident that it (the track) hates me. We were in a position today where our race car had speed and then I got run into (by Reed). We had to come in and fix the damage during one of the cautions, amd that just really hurt our day. Track positon-wise it put us really behind.

"We just didn't have the ability to really be able to get up there and battle it out. We were hoping for a caution at the end (that never came) cause we were one of just just a few cars that had a fresh set of tires left in their pit stall. All-in-all we had four fenders on it (the car) and we were running at the end, and it was a good points day,", he added.

JR Motorsports teammate Elliott Sadler, who fihished 14th after leading the race at one point for four laps, still holds a commanding lead on his two teammates who sit right behind him in the driver point standings. William Byron, a 6th place Road America finisher, is second in points, 107 behind leader Sadler, while Allgaier is 3rd, 128 out of the top spot.