Allgaier Rockets in to a 2nd Place Finish

Justin Allgaier and the BRANDT Professional Agriculture/Northeastern Supply team had a near-perfect day at ISM Raceway, finishing second in the DC Solar 200 after starting on the pole. Allgaier led a race-high 76 laps, earned a coveted playoff point after winning Stage One, and moved up to third in the NASCAR Xfinity Series point standings, just seven markers behind the leader. The pole was the sixth of his NXS career and the third for JR Motorsports at ISM Raceway.

Unloading with a fast Chevy on practice day, Allgaier continued that trend by rocketing to the top spot during qualifying on Saturday. Before the green flag dropped for the 200-lap event, the driver of the No. 7 opted to start on the outside line. He led the first 10 laps of the race before the No. 22 of Brad Keselowski made the pass on lap 11. When the first caution flag of the day was displayed on lap 27, Allgaier relayed to crew chief Jason Burdett that the BRANDT Chevy got tighter through the center of the turns as he ran. Opting to stay out, the 31-year-old driver restarted in second on lap 34 and overtook the lead from Keselowski going into Turn 1. With 10 laps to go in the stage, Keselowski caught back up to Allgaier, but got loose under the No. 7 and lost momentum. Allgaier was able to cruise on to win Stage One as weather began approaching the track. Rain came down hard enough to put the race to a halt for just over an hour and a half.

Once the red flag was lifted and pit road was open, Allgaier came down for four fresh tires and fuel. Since some cars stayed on the track, Allgaier took the green flag for Stage Two from the fifth position on lap 53. Within five laps the JR Motorsports driver was back up to second. He radioed that the No. 7 Chevy was still a little tight in the center of the corners, but was a little bit better. Still running in second when a caution came out on lap 84, the team decided to make a pit stop for four tires and fuel while some cars stayed out. Before the field got back under way, another rain shower overtook the track and brought out the second red flag of the day. Lasting just under 30 minutes, the red flag was lifted and set up the race for a one-lap shootout to complete Stage Two. In just one lap, Allgaier made his way from 12th all the way up to the seventh position before the green-and-white checkered flag waved on lap 90.

With the cars ahead of him pitting under the stage-ending caution, Allgaier took the green flag for the final stage in the top spot on lap 97. Getting a good start on the outside line, Allgaier held on to the lead, pacing the field for nearly 50 laps before Keselowski worked his way by on lap 142. Allgaier radioed to the team that the BRANDT Chevy was just too tight. He was running in the third position when green-flag pit stops got under way. The team called him in on lap 168 for a pit stop for four tires and fuel. Once the stops cycled through, Allgaier was in the second spot. He set his sights on tracking down race leader Keselowski and made some big gains, but ultimately ran out of time, taking the checkered flag in the runner-up spot.

Keselowski claimed the victory in the NXS race and was followed by Allgaier, Kyle Busch and Christopher Bell, with Jamie McMurray rounding out the top five.

“We had a great car all day. Our BRANDT Professional Agriculture/Northeastern Supply Chevy was really stout. I knew that on the short run we were a little bit better than the 18, the 20 and the 22. They seemed to be a little bit better on the long run and we just got a little bit too tight. Then on that last restart there, we fired off a little more free and I just didn’t have the speed I wanted to take off there. Hats off to these guys. Everybody at JR Motorsports has done a great job. I’m really proud of the effort that we had. We got that close to being able to back it up and get another win here. But still, it was a great day and a great points day.” – Justin Allgaier