KANSAS CITY, Kan. (October 2, 2010) – Justin Allgaier, driver of the Penske Racing No. 12 Verizon Dodge in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, was able to overcome a myriad of issues in Saturday afternoon’s Kansas Lottery 300 at Kansas Speedway to record a seventh-place finish.
Allgaier’s 16th top-10 finish of the 2010 season allows him to maintain the fourth position in the NASCAR Nationwide Series driver point standings. With seven races remaining in the 2010 season, Allgaier trails point leader and Penske Racing teammate Brad Keselowski by 793 markers, and third-place contender Kyle Busch by 293 points.
Allgaier recorded the 15th and fastest times, respectively, in Friday’s dual Nationwide Series practice sessions. Saturday morning, the Riverton, Ill. native ran a lap of 31.458 seconds, at an average speed of 171.657 mph, to earn the 10th starting position for the feature later that afternoon.
Allgaier advanced from his 10th-place starting position to eighth in the opening two laps of Saturday afternoon’s feature event. As green-flag conditions prevailed for the opening third of the event, Allgaier maintained his position despite battling a tight-handling Verizon Dodge. When the leaders made their way to pit road at lap 55 for scheduled service, crew chief Chad Walter told his third-year driver to follow suit, taking on four tires, fuel and a track bar adjustment to help fine-tune the handling of his Dodge Charger.
As the race past the halfway point, a number of caution periods slowed the pace of the event. While racing for the seventh position, the No. 17 car made contact with the outside wall. As Allgaier turned hard left to avoid the incident, he came down on the nose of the No. 38 machine, resulting in damage to the left rear quarter panel. Under the ensuing caution period, Allgaier came to the attention of his Walter-led crew to take on tires and fuel. Unfortunately, a tire got away from the pit stall, resulting in a tail-end penalty for the restart at lap 123.
Allgaier was able to regain some of his lost track position as the laps wound down. Knowing that they would need to pit for fuel to make it to the finish, Walter called Allgaier to pit road for the final time at lap 174, electing to short pit in an attempt to cycle themselves ahead of the leaders when they made their stops. The call seemed to work in their favor until several incidents, including one that occurred alongside Allgaier’s Verizon Dodge that resulted in more damage to the left rear, over the course of the final laps negated the potential advantage gained. Despite their plan not working exactly as they’d hoped, Allgaier and the Verizon team were happy to take the checkered flag in the seventh position.
“It was a good finish after a long day,” said Allgaier. “We got behind the eight ball early. We didn’t really have the exact car that we wanted at the beginning, then we let a tire get away in the pits, and that really set us back. The Verizon Dodge guys rallied and gave me all the adjustments they could possibly give me. All in all, it was a good day for the Verizon Dodge guys. We’ll go to California next week and hope we can have another solid top-10 or a top-five run. That’s what we need to finish off the season strong.”
Next weekend, the NASCAR Nationwide Series heads continues their westward trek to Auto Club Speedway in Southern California. ESPN2’s live television coverage of the CampingWorld.com 300 begins Saturday, October 9 at 4 p.m. EDT. The event will also be broadcast live on MRN Radio and Sirius XM Satellite Radio.