Allgaiers Hopes at Dover Foiled by Handling Woes

With hundreds of Northeastern Supply customers and employees rooting for him from the grandstands, Justin Allgaier was hoping to put on a show and contend for the win in Saturday's OneMain Financial 300, NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Dover International Speedway in Delaware. Unfortunately, Justin's #7 Cessna/Northeastern Supply Chevrolet didn't cooperate with handling problems preventing Allgaier from running with the leaders and being able to challenge for the victory.

Not only did the handling problems blacken Allgaier's victory run but it also kept Justin out of the money for the first time in what was Xfinity's final Dash 4 Cash competition that was captured by Justin's JR Motorsports teammate, William Byron. Byron finished 6th and finished ahead of the three other drivers who were eligible for the prize by virtue of their finishes in the first two segments of Saturday's race. Byron beat out teammate Elliott Sadler, Brendan Poole and Bubba Wallace, Jr., for the $100,000 Xfinity bonus. Justin wasn't completely shutout, however, from the Dash 4 Cash program this year, having won the first two $100,000 bonuses this season at Phoenix and Richmond.

"Man. I'm bummed we didn't get to compete for the $100,000 today," Allgaier commented. "I really appreciated everything Xfinity does for our sport, and it would have been cool to add another check the collection and give the folks from Northeastern Supply something to root for during the race.

"We had a great Cessna/Northeastern Supply Chevy during the practice sessions yesterday, but today we just weren't able to get that rear grip we needed to be able to get around this track the way we wanted to," he added.

The #7 Chevy turned in the 6th fastest time in Friday's first practice session and was turning lap times equal to those being run by the race's more dominant cars during the second session. For whatever reason, though, Allgaier's Chevy couldn't match up to those cars and came away with a disappointing, 11th place finish.

Justin qualified 12th and during the race finished 7th and earned points after the first segment on lap 60. Byron and Brennan Poole were the top, two Xfinity Series regulars in the running order after segment one to gain their eligibility into the Dash 4 Cash process in the 3rd and final, 80-lap segment. During the second, 60-lap segment, one in which a great pit stop put the #7 into the 5th spot, Allgaier climbed to as high as 3rd in the running order early-on but faded just enough for teammate Sadler and a suddenly fast Ford driver in Bubba Wallace, Jr. to pass him and finish 1st and 3rd in the segment to earn their positions in the $100,000 battle. Allgaier, meanwhile, claimed a 4th place finish in segment two.

During the second segment caution, Allgaier pitted for four, fresh Good Year tires, a full tank of fuel and an adjustment to help ease the tightness in the race car. It put Justin in the 12th position for the final segment re-start as a bunch of cars re-started in front of Justin's machine after pitting prior to the end-of-segment yellow during one of the four cautions that occurred during the stage.

Larson led 137 laps enroute to the victory and was followed across the finish line by Blaney, Suarez, rookie Xfinity Series driver Cole Custer and Ryan Reed.

Despite the frustrating day, Allgaier did earn 11 segment points and remains solidly in 2nd place in driver points behind teammate and season-long point leader Sadler. The latter leads Allgaier by 12 points as the Xfinity Series heads to Pocono International Raceway next Saturday for what will be the Xfinity Series' very first race on the unique, 3-turn, triangle-shaped asphalt race surface. In an all-JR Motorsports top three in driver points after a third of the 2017 season's 33 scheduled events, Byron sits 3rd behind Sadler and Allgaier, 57 markers out of the top spot.

Off the track, Allgaier was a hit with Northeastern Supply customers during the weekend making a pair of appearances at Northeastern's hospitality compound at the race track. Justin addressed each group (one on Friday night and again Saturday morning), talking about his racing career, answering questions and autographing Northeastern Supply racing T-shirts on Friday night. Justin spent two hours with the Friday group and also met and talked to some Northeastern VIP customers in the Xfinity Series garage area on Friday during practice sessions. 

"Justin understands how important our customers are and how our NASCAR sponsorship program is structured to entertain them. He does a great job fulfilling his responsibility of meeting our customers and making them feel at home," Northeastern President/CEO Steve Cook said. The company entertained 200 customers Friday night and nearly 300 on Saturday.