Allgaier Saves his Best for the Last Segment; Storms to 2nd Win of Season at Chicagoland!

It isn't where you start but where you finish in racing, and Justin Allgaier and his BRANDT/Celebrating the Future of Ag/Northeastern Supply Chevrolet race team proved that in spades Saturday by storming to victory at Chicagoland Speedway with a strong final segment.

Allgaier started the final, 103-lap segment of the TheHouse.com 300, NASCAR Xfinity Series race in the 11th position after placing 7th in segment one and 8th in segment two and seemingly destined for nothing better than a top ten finish. The #7 JR Motorsports Chevrolet didn't appear to have what it took to stay with the race's more dominant cars driven by Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series regulars Kyle Larson, pole sitter Erik Jones and Ryan Blaney as well as upstart Xfinity Series rookie pilot Cole Custer.

But aided by speeding penalties to a couple of the frontrunners and some incidents on the race track that involved other top runners during the final segment, Allgaier and company remained calm and free from problems and took advantage of the other's miscues to begin heading towards the front.

In just the first two laps of racing in the final segment around Chicagoland's fast and wide, 1.5-mile tri-oval, the #7 moved back into the top ten and up to 6th. Despite telling Burdett that his car needed to turn better, Allgaier only lost one spot over a 37-lap, green flag run when pit stops began on lap 140. Justin pulled his race machine down pit road for his pit stop on lap 141 and the #7 pit crew responded as they have all year with a rapid stop to change four tires, add fuel and make a track bar adjustment.

Allgaier was running 8th on lap 151 when the race's 3rd of five cautions waved for Brandon Jones' single-car spin in turn four. Burdett wasted no time ordering Allgaier to pit again for four more fresh tires, fuel and another adjustment that would hopefully give Justin an advantage over those cars that elected not to pit. It did.

When racing resumed on lap  155 and with Justin in 7th place, the BRANDT/Celebrating the Future of Ag/Northeastern Supply Camaro roared past two cars, putting Allgaier in the top five for the first time. Justin remained in the 5th slot when another yellow was displayed for Daniel Suarez's spin in the 4th turn on lap 181, giving all the front running cars a final opportunity to pit for changes that they hoped would give them an advantage over the final, 15-lap sprint to the checkered flag.

Allgaier's pit crew again earned its right as one of the best in the Xfinity Series once again during its stop, only changing tires and making a quick, final adjustment, and sending the #7 out in 3rd place.

When the green flag waved to re-start the racing action, Allgaier boldly steered his race machine down to the apron and inside a seemingly unsuspecting Kyle Larson and his Chevrolet, forging the #7 into the lead for the first time. Justin powered his way out to a handsome lead with only his JR Motorsports teammate, Elliott Sadler, to challenge. The duo began a 2-car battle for the lead that slowed momentarily for yet another caution with just 10 laps remaining.

Sadler and Larson both had a final opportunity to get past Allgaier on the re-start with just seven laps of racing left but Allgaier would quickly put those notions away with a great re-start and raced to a 1.77-second triumph over Larson. Sadler, rookie Daniel Hemric and Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series regular Austin Dillon rounded out the top five finishers.

"This is incredible," Illinois native Allgaier said after the race, winning on his home track. "I've been fortunate enough to win here (at Chicagoland) before, but that was on fuel mileage. Today, these guys (his race team) did an awesome job. This win gives us a lot of momentum heading into the Playoffs (that begin next weekend at Kentucky Motor Speedway), and it couldn't have come at a better time. We're looking for more wins," added Justin to TV reporters.

The victory gave Allgaier five Playoff bonus points and enabled him to move into 2nd place in Championship points, just two behind the Playoffs' top seed in Allgaier's JR Motorsports teammate - rookie William Byron. Byron earned three wins during the season to give him the top seed. Byron will start the 7-race, post-season battle with 2,025 points and with Allgaier at 2,023.

JR Motorsports will have all four of its teams competing in the 12-driver Playoffs with Sadler (2,020), the Xfinity Series' very first, regular season points titlist, qualifying 3rd and Michael Annett (2,001) in the 12th and final slot.

Other Playoff entries are, in order of seed and points, Hemric (2,009) in 4th and followed by Brennan Poole (2,006), Ryan Reed (2,005), Jeremy Clements (2,005), Custer (2,005), Blake Koch (2,005), rookie Matt Tifft (2,004) and veteran Brendan Gaughan (2,003).

The top 12 will compete over the next three races at Kentucky, Dover and Charlotte with the top eight drivers in points after the Charlotte race advancing to the next round. The top eight will then do battle at Kansas, Texas and Phoenix with the top four in points at that point earning the right to head to Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 18 for the season finale and the crowning of the overall season driving championship based on the highest point total from among the four.