DOVER, Del. (May 30, 2009) – Justin Allgaier, driver of the No. 12 Verizon Wireless Dodge for Penske Racing, raced to the checkered flag in the 10th position Saturday to earn his sixth top-10 finish in the first 12 events on the 2009 NASCAR Nationwide Series schedule.
The 22-year-old rookie sensation started Saturday’s 200-mile Heluva Good! 200 race from the 21st spot, but he was focused on getting the Verizon Wireless Dodge to the front of the field. By lap 25, Allgaier had advanced to 12th place. He radioed crew chief Chad Walter to explain that the car was handling loose on entry and tight through the center of the corners. Walter and the team discussed the changes the crew could make to the car during the first round of pit stops.
When the caution flag was displayed to the field on lap 27 for an incident on the backstretch, the Verizon Wireless Dodge crew prepared to see their car on the pit lane. Allgaier rolled the No. 12 down pit road on lap 30 for service. The team bolted on four new Goodyear tires and filled the car with fuel. Air pressure and trackbar adjustments were also made to the car in hopes of stabilizing its handling in the corners.
The race returned to green flag conditions on lap 34 and Allgaier had the Verizon Wireless machine running in the 12th position. Allgaier reported to his team several laps later that the car was now stable entering the turns but was still tight-handling on exit.
For the next green flag segment, Allgaier remained inside the top-12. He was running aerodynamically-tight behind cars, which hurt him from pulling out and making a pass. Walter continued to preach patience to his rookie driver, reminding him it was a long race and to not make any mistakes.
Allgaier brought his machine to pit road six laps later for a green flag pit stop. The team bolted on four fresh Goodyear tires and filled the car with racing fuel. The crew also made both trackbar and air pressure adjustments to their car hoping to free up its handling through the corners. The team had a lightning quick stop, picking up two more positions on pit lane.
By the halfway point, Allgaier had his Verizon Wireless Dodge positioned in the 11th spot. He again informed the team the car was tight and he was having a hard time keeping his car running smoothly on the bottom of the track. Walter knew he only had one more chance to make the right adjustments before the conclusion of the event.
When the caution flag was displayed to the field on lap 128, the Verizon Wireless pit crew prepared to make its third and final stop of the day. Allgaier rolled down pit lane on lap 131. The team changed four tires and filled the car with enough fuel to get to the finish. They also made another air pressure and trackbar adjustment to the machine hoping to free it up enough to rotate through the corners.
The event returned to green flag racing on lap 138 and Allgaier was right outside the top-10 in the 11th spot. It only took 12 laps for the Verizon Wireless Dodge to make its way into the top-10, where it remained for the final 50 laps around the one-mile speedway. Allgaier endured a late-race caution to bring his Dodge home in the 10th position.
“I am real happy with our run today,” commented Allgaier after his top-10 run. “The guys on the Verizon Wireless Dodge did a great job all day. The pit crew helped pick us up with each stop and [crew chief] Chad [Walter] made great calls on top of the box. We are going into a stretch where we have a lot of races in a row and to build momentum every week with strong finishes is crucial. I have the best team in the garage and days like today show that.”
Justin Allgaier and the No.12 Verizon Wireless Dodge team remain 10th in the Nationwide Series standings. The team heads to Nashville Superspeedway for the next event on the Nationwide Series schedule – the Federated Auto Parts 300. The race can be seen live on Saturday, June 6 on ESPN2 with coverage beginning at 7 p.m. ET. The race can also be heard live on MRN Radio as well as Sirius Satellite Radio, channel 128.
Justin Allgaier Heluva Good! 200 Statistics
Laps Led: 0