Verizon Team News and Notes
• This Week’s Verizon Dodge … Justin Allgaier will pilot Penske Racing chassis PRS-017 in Saturday afternoon’s 5-Hour Energy 250 at Gateway International Raceway. This is the same Dodge Charger that Allgaier used to record his first career Nationwide Series pole at Memphis Motorsports Park in October of 2009. It then raced at Richmond International Raceway in April, where the 2009 Nationwide Series Rookie of the Year started ninth and finished 15th. Most recently, Allgaier raced this chassis to a 25th-place finish at Gateway in July, where he was involved in a late-race incident.
• Welcome Home, Justin … Allgaier, a native of Riverton, Ill., grew up just over 100 miles northeast of Gateway International Raceway. He began his career racing quarter midgets in his home state at the age of five. Since then, he has claimed two poles, one win, 10 top-five and 30 top-10 finishes in 70 Nationwide Series starts; two poles, eight wins, 31 top fives and 45 top 10s and the 2008 championship in 86 ARCA Series starts; and two top-25 finishes in eight Camping World Truck Series races.
• Through 31 Races … With 31 races of the 2010 season in the record books, Allgaier has accumulated one pole, one win, seven top-five and 18 top-10 finishes, an average starting position of 12th and an average finish of 11.9. Allgaier has led 133 laps of competition and has completed 97.4 percent of the laps contested (5,536 of 5,684) so far this season.
• Get to the Points … Allgaier ranks fourth in the NNS championship point standings heading into this weekend’s event at GIR. He trails current point leader and Penske Racing teammate Brad Keselowski by 851 points, and third-place contender Kyle Busch by 336 points.
• Best in Class … Allgaier’s fourth-place position in the point standings is best among full-time, Nationwide Series-only drivers. Allgaier leads fellow Nationwide-only driver Trevor Bayne, currently ranked eighth, by 600 points.
• Allgaier at Gateway … In two NNS starts at GIR, Allgaier has a best finish of 11th, which came in his first start at the 1.25-mile oval. Additionally, the 24-year-old driver has an average starting position of 14.5, an average finish of 18th and has completed 98.5 percent of the laps contested (394 of 400).
• Penske Racing at Gateway … In three previous NNS starts at GIR, Penske Racing entries have recorded two top-15 finishes. Penske Dodges have been atop the leaderboard for 136 circuits in their time at Gateway, and have completed 594 of 600 laps contested.
• Penske Racing in 2010 … With 31 races completed in the 2010 season, Penske Racing’s two NASCAR Nationwide Series entries have recorded six poles, six wins, a combined 29 top-five and 43 top-10 finishes. Penske Dodges have completed 11,219 of 11,368 laps contested, and have been atop the leaderboard for 1,196 laps with drivers Allgaier and Keselowski.
• Are You Experienced? … In addition to his two previous NNS starts at the 1.25-mile venue, Allgaier has competed in four ARCA Series races at Gateway, posting his track-best finish of fourth in August of 2007.
• Driver of the Week … Nationwide has selected Allgaier as this week’s Driver of the Week. As part of the program, he will participate in an on-line chat with NASCAR.com this Wednesday at 12 p.m., where he will answer questions from race fans.
• In-Race Reporter … Allgaier will serve as ESPN’s in-race reporter for Saturday’s live broadcast of the 5-Hour Energy 250. Fans will see live in-car camera shots from the Verizon Dodge and listen as he and crew chief Chad Walter give live updates throughout the race.
• Cast Your Vote … Some 30,000 fans have cast their votes since July 6, and Allgaier is currently ranked among the top-five in the NNS Most Popular Driver award voting (through Wednesday, Sept. 15). Fans can visit www.nascarnationwideseries.com to vote for their favorite NASCAR Nationwide Series driver. Voting continues through Saturday, November 13.
• Meet the Driver … Fans can meet Allgaier on Thursday, October 21 from 6 – 7 p.m. at the Verizon Wireless store located at 5902 N. Illinois St. in Fairview Heights, Ill. The following day, he will sign for fans at the Penske Racing souvenir trailer, located in the midway at GIR, from 12 – 12:30 p.m. He will return to the trailer on Saturday from 11 – 11:30 a.m.
• High Above Clear Lake Avenue … As a part of breast cancer awareness month, Springfield, Ill.-based St. John's Hospital unveiled a "Real Men Wear Pink" billboard featuring Allgaier. The billboard will remain above one of the busiest sections of Springfield for the month of October.
Justin Allgaier on Gateway International Raceway
“There’s always a compromise at Gateway, and I’ve always been a believer in making the car better at one end or the other. You know when the car unloads off the truck which corner you’re going to be better at. Turns 3 and 4 for me always seem to be where I hit it. It’s wider than the other end of the track, which lets you build a lot of speed to carry down the frontstretch. That being said, the last time we raced at Gateway, it seemed the cars that were able to get off Turn 2 better were at an advantage. Our goal for this weekend is to find a decent balance, knowing that we’ll have to sacrifice at one end to be better in the other.”
Crew chief Chad Walter on Gateway International Raceway
“Gateway is a challenging track with very different corners at each end. It’s like a paperclip in Turns 1 and 2, and has long, sweeping turns at the other end of the track. Getting our Verizon Dodge loose enough to turn in 1 and 2 while still being able to put the power down through Turns 3 and 4 is what will make our race a lot more enjoyable. This track means a lot to Justin; it’s one of his favorites. We know that he’ll be up on the wheel to get a good finish for his hometown crowd.”