Fast Pit Stop and Late Race Adjustment Aid Allgaier En Route to 8th Place Darlington Raceway Finish

Justin Allgaier got a big boost from his pit crew and the right adjustment ordered for his race car by Crew Chief Jason Burdett late in Saturday afternoon's Sport Clips Haircuts VFW 200, NASCAR Xfinity Series race at the famed Darlington Raceway. It helped pave the way to an 8th place finish -Justin's 11th top ten finish during the 2017 XS campaign in his Advance Auto Parts/Northeastern Supply Chevrolet Camaro. 

Allgaier qualified 13th and ran most of the day between the 11th and 13th position in a race that was dominated by Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series standouts Denny Hamlin, Joey Logano and Kevin Harvick. This trio led all but three of the race's 148 laps with Hamlin winning the race with a pass in overtime around Logano on the green flag re-start. Logano and Harvick finished immediately behind Hamlin in the final race rundown. Hamlin drove a Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing.  

Allgaier was still a lead lap mainstay despite handling problems that plagued his Chevrolet.

Justin complained that his car was losing grip late during the first stage of the race in which Allgaier ran as high as 11th and as low as 13th which came at the end of the segment on lap 45. Allgaier pitted during the end-of-segment caution for four new tires, gas and the first of several chassis adjustments trying to give Allgaier better grip around Darlington's tricky, egg-shaped, 1.366-mile oval.

Allgaier worked his way into 11th place by lap 54 but again said that his car began losing grip again. A caution flag flew on lap 72, but Crew Chief Burdett elected to keep Allgaier on the race track rather than pit, leaving Allgaier with the responsibility of continuing to drive the ill-handling car for another 15 laps. Justin did so successfully, holding onto the 12th position until the very last lap of the second segment where he was credited with another 13th place finish. Burdett again called his driver to pit road for a tire change, fuel and an even greater adjustment to the race machine hoping to give Allgaier more grip.

The final stage started on lap 97 with the #7 Advance Auto Parts/Northeastern Supply Chevy in 11th place. The adjustments that his crew made during the last pit stop seemed to work as Justin said his car fired off better during this final segment of 48 laps that was extended by three laps when a caution on lap 144 forced NASCAR to go to its overtime green-white-checker finish format.

On lap 138 during the final segment, the Toyota driven by Dakota Armstrong spun in turn two to bring out yellow flag number eight of nine and with Allgaier holding down the 12th spot. Burdett called Allgaier to pit road for what would be his final pit stop, and a sensational stop by the pit crew for fresh tires, fuel and making the adjustment ordered by Burdett enabled Justin to pick up four positions to re-start the race in 8th place...Justin's first visit to the top ten all afternoon.

Justin was able to hold off all challengers for that 8th position over the final nine laps, including another re-start, and Allgaier couldn't have been happier.

"This team is awesome! They never give up. Our car didn't fire off the way we wanted it to, but these guys (his crew), were able to make some great adjustments and fast pit stops throughout the race and that put us in position for a solid, top-10 finish today," Justin said.

Allgaier was the 3rd top finishing, full-time Xfinity Series driver in the race, and with point leader and JR Motorsports teammate Elliott Sadler finishing 33rd after wrecking his car with just a lap to go in an altercation that also involved 4th place finisher and Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver Erik Jones, Justin moved to within 119 points of Sadler's lead with nine races remaining in 3rd place in the driver point standing.

Allgaier's other JR Motorsports teammate, rookie standout William Byron, had another strong run and finished 5th Saturday to move to within 91 points of Sadler in 2nd place in the driver point standing. Allgaier, who won at Phoenix earlier this year, Byron and Sadler have all qualified for the Xfinity Series Playoffs that will encompass the final eight races of the season. Only 12 drivers will earn spots in these Playoffs with four drivers to be eliminated based on their point totals after the Charlotte race on October 6 and four more after the race at Phoenix on November 11. The four remaining drivers with the highest point totals will then move on to the Homestead-Miami Speedway for the season finale with the highest finishing driver amongst the four to be crowned driving champion. No Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series drivers will be allowed to race in the season finale.

Sadler's almost season-long lead in driver points will earn him the regular season driver championship if he is able to hold the advantage up to the race at Chicagoland Speedway on September 16 when the Playoff driver lineup is announced.