LEBANON, Ten. (June 6, 2009) – Justin Allgaier overcame an ill-handling race car in the Federated Auto Parts 300 at Nashville Superspeedway Saturday to capture a 13th-place finish in the No. 12 Verizon Wireless Dodge Charger.
Once the green flag waved to start the NASCAR Nationwide Series race, Allgaier immediately began battling a loose-handling condition on the car, but the rookie moved quickly through the field from his 24th-place starting spot. During an early caution period, Allgaier adjusted the blower fans to help keep heat in the tires in an effort to help tighten the car’s handling as the run progressed. A second yellow flag quickly followed on lap 23, but crew chief Chad Walter instructed Allgaier to stay out on the race track.
When the green flag flew again on the lap 27 restart, Allgaier was in the 14th position. As green flag racing continued, Allgaier fought a car that was tight-handling entering the corners and loose-handling in the exit of the turns. Walter proposed air pressure changes and trackbar adjustments to correct the problems as the team’s first pit stop approached.
The Verizon Wireless Dodge crew prepared to see their machine on pit road on lap 68. After receiving four fresh Goodyear tires and fuel, Allgaier re-entered the track in the 23rd position. Over the next 30 laps, Allgaier and Walter exchanged radio communications about how best to improve the car during the next stop.
The race leaders came to pit lane on lap 95 as Allgaier and Walter agreed to make an air pressure adjustment on the team’s next service stop. Lap 102 found Allgaier and the Verizon Wireless Dodge running in the 16th position, but a lap down to the leaders. On lap 110, Allgaier reported that the No. 12 was extremely tight in the middle and very loose on the exit of the turns.
A yellow flag was displayed to the field on lap 113 and Allgaier brought his Verizon Wireless Dodge back to pit lane. The team went to work changing four tires and filling the car with fuel. The crew also made trackbar and air pressure adjustments to the machine hoping it would help dial the car in. Allgaier didn’t have the opportunity to test the changes right away, as a yellow fell only four laps after green flag conditions resumed. A multi-car accident left fluid on the race track, requiring NASCAR officials to display a red flag as the field stopped on the backstretch of Nashville Superspeedway.
When green flag was once again displayed to restart the race, Allgaier was in 12th place. The longest green flag run of the race gave the No. 12 Penske Racing team the opportunity to get some valuable feedback from its wheel man.
On lap 185, Walter radioed to Allgaier that the crew was preparing to make an air pressure adjustment on the right side of the car and again adjust the trackbar settings on the next stop. As Allgaier prepared to enter pit lane, fellow Raybestos-Rookie-of-the-Year competitor Brendan Gaughan spun out on pit road. Allgaier pitted the next lap and re-entered the track in 13th position. Allgaier remained in the 13th spot until the conclusion of the race, despite struggling with an increasingly loose-handling race car.
The result moved Allgaier into eighth place in the NASCAR Nationwide Series driver point standings, and he moved up to first in the race for Rookie-of-the-Year honors.
“The No. 12 Verizon Wireless Dodge team did a great job all weekend,” commented Allgaier after the 225-lap event. “We didn’t get the finish we deserved, but we brought it home in one piece and got valuable points today,”
“It was a good points night,” said Walter. “The entire Verizon Wireless Dodge team worked really hard this weekend. We’re taking our licks here in Nashville, but we’re now focused on Kentucky.”
Allgaier and the No. 12 Verizon Wireless team head to the Blue Grass state for next week’s Nationwide Series event. The Meijer 300 presented by Ritz at Kentucky Speedway will be seen live on Saturday, June13 on ESPN 2 with coverage beginning at 8 p.m. ET. The event can also be heard live on MRN Radio as well as Sirius Satellite Radio, channel 128.
Justin Allgaier Federated Auto Parts 300 Statistics
Laps Led: 0