"We Just Did Not Have it Tonight" Says Allgaier; Finishes 11th in Texas and Drops to 3rd in Points

With just one race remaining until the final four drivers secure advancement to the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Justin Allgaier now sits 3rd in driver points after finishing a disappointing 11th in Saturday night's O'Reilly Auto Parts 300, NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth.

Justin's teammates at JR Motorsports, new point leader Elliott Sadler and Rookie-of-the-Year shoe in William Byron, now own the top two positions in driver points - the stat that will advance the top four in that category following next week's race in Phoenix to the finale in Homestead, FL on Nov. 18 where the quartet will battle it out for the title.

Allgaier thought he had a fast race car following Friday's practice sessions that took place during the daylight. But Justin only qualified 13th during Saturday afternoon's time trials. During the race, however, which was run primarily in darkness, changing the race track and driving conditions, the #7 Degree Deodorant/Northeastern Supply Chevrolet struggled to find speed and particularly in one area of the fast, 1.5-mile tri-oval.

"Once we got into the race, we struggled, especially in turns three and four," Allgaier said after the race. "We felt we never really got the speed that we were looking for," he added.

The #7 Chevy was fairly stable during the first segment of the race with Justin cracking the top 10 by lap 20. Allgaier ran within the top 10 over the remaining laps in the segment and would eventually finish 9th after 45 laps of racing but did complain about the car being tight in the center of turns 1 and 2 and "edgy" in the 3rd and 4th corners.

Pitting Allgaier for the first time during the segment break, Crew Chief Jason Burdett ordered four fresh Good Year tires, a full tank of fuel and a wedge adjustment from his crew and sent Justin back out to start the second segment in the 9th position; hoping to have corrected the handling issues.

A series of early cautions plagued action during the 2nd segment with the #7 Chevy dropping back a couple of spots, but when racing became more of the green flag variety, Allgaier got his rhythm back and began to retake positions he had lost and was back in the top 10 by lap 67. That's when Justin radioed in to Burdett that the car was tight in the center in both turns 1 and 2. Allgaier dropped back a few positions and was 11th when the caution flag waved on lap 83 for rookie Christopher Bell's spin in turn 2.

Burdett used this caution to pit Allgaier prior to the end of the second segment hoping for a better starting berth for the #7 machine for the beginning of the final segment. The #7 took on fresh rubber, a full tank of Sunoco fuel and another wedge adjustment, and when racing re-started after the yellow flag period, Allgaier was in the 16th position. When the 2nd segment ended a few laps later, the #7 was 15th for the 2nd segment checkers but stayed on the race track and moved up to 6th. After other lead-lap cars made their pit stops during the segment break, Justin had what was his best running position of the race for the start of the final segment on lap 98.

Allgaier dropped back to 11th by lap 106 when he reported that his race machine was losing grip. When a caution came out 20 laps later, Allgaier pitted again for four more fresh tires, fuel and a track bar adjustment and re-started the latter stages of the final segment in 9th place on lap 131.

Thirty laps later, Brennan Poole's Chevrolet got past Allgaier's for position but Justin was able to recover and regain the 10th spot. Green flag pit stops began less than 20 laps from the finish with Justin running 10th on lap 187 when Burdett called him to pit road for his race car's final service for right-side tires and fuel only. Justin ran the remaining laps hard and took the checkers in 11th.

"We just didn't have it tonight," Allgaier told TV reporters after the race. "It was a disappointing finish, but we go to Phoenix next week and that is one of my favorite tracks on the schedule," added Justin who dominated the spring race in Phoenix and earned the first of his two victories this season.

"Obviously being able to go to Victory Lane in the spring there (Phoenix) helps. We salvaged what we could tonight and we've got to move on to next week with hopefully no issues and try to make it to Homestead," Allgaier added. Both Justin and teammate Sadler earned two of the four Playoff berths last season when Mexican Daniel Suarez won the race and the driver's championship.

Sadler and Byron, meanwhile, ran far better than Allgaier Saturday in Texas with the veteran Sadler finishing a solid 4th and Byron 9th after the college freshman led the race for 17 laps early after starting 9th. Both drivers also earned finishing segment points to vault past Allgaier in the driver point battle. Sadler now owns a 5-point advantage on Byron heading to Phoenix while Justin is nine points shy in 3rd but still in a good position to grab one of the Homestead-Miami Speedway final four berths. Allgaier has a 15-point edge on 4th place Poole while Matt Tifft, Cole Custer, Dan Hemric and Ryan Reed, the remaining Playoff eligible drivers heading to Phoenix, trail Allgaier, respectively, by 20, 26,33 and 46 tallies.

Eric Jones was the Texas race winner; leading 142 of the 200 laps to outduel fellow Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series regular Ryan Blaney and Kyle Larson who grabbed the runner-up and 3rd place finishing spots, respectively.