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Allgaier Claims Third Top-Five of Season at Kentucky

June 14, 2009

Photo Courtesy of Autostock



SPARTA, Ky. (June 13, 2009) - Penske Racing driver Justin Allgaier and the No. 12 Verizon Wireless Dodge battled with race leaders Kyle Busch and Joey Logano Saturday night en route to Allgaier's third top-five finish of the 2009 NASCAR Nationwide Series campaign.

After achieving a season-best third-place starting spot for the Meijer 300 presented by Ritz at Kentucky Speedway, Allgaier and the Verizon Wireless team were confident they would have a strong race.

Shortly after the green flag flew to begin the race, Allgaier reported that his Dodge Charger was tight-handling through the middle of the corners. An early caution period on lap four allowed Allgaier to discuss changes on the No. 12 with crew chief Chad Walter. Although the car's performance began to come around during the green flag run that followed, Walter ordered track bar adjustments on the team's first pit stop to improve the Dodge's handling in the corners.

Thanks to quick work in the pits, Allgaier gained valuable spots and re-entered the race course in the third position. As other competitors brought their cars in for service, Allgaier moved into the race lead. When the green flag was once again presented to the field, Allgaier immediately began to defend his lead from the attacks of series point leader Kyle Busch. Over the next seven laps, Allgaier and Busch traded the lead five times.

Allgaier eventually settled into third place during a long green flag run. He reported to Walter that the Verizon Wireless Dodge was excellent on entry and exit of the turns, but still tight in the middle of the corners. Walter again suggested air pressure and track bar adjustments to correct the issue. On lap 69, the Verizon Wireless crew gave their machine full service in the pits. As Allgaier exited pit lane, Walter reported that NASCAR officials had levied speeding penalties against several competitors, including the No. 12. Allgaier, along with other front-runners Logano and Brad Keselowski were shuffled back as a result of the pit speed violations before the field once again took the green flag.

As racing continued, Allgaier steadily guided the Verizon Wireless car through the field, marching from 16th to ninth place. Allgaier settled into a rhythm over the next 40 laps, when Walter called Allgaier to pit lane for service in the race's first round of green flag stops. As the Verizon Wireless crew prepared to service their machine, Walter called for four fresh Goodyear tires and fuel. In an attempt to aid the car's performance in the middle of the turns, the crew also made air pressure and track bar adjustments to the No. 12.

Allgaier re-entered the race track in the 12th position and he moved up to seventh before a yellow caution flag was again displayed to the field on lap 163. Walter called Allgaier in for final adjustments and a splash of fuel. After fast work by the Verizon Wireless crew, Allgaier rejoined the race in the sixth position. The rookie racer shot up to third place over the next six laps. As Allgaier defended his position from the hard-charging Keselowski, Mike Bliss lost control of his machine and hit the wall on the frontstretch at Kentucky Speedway. Fluid from the damaged race car spread across the track, forcing NASCAR officials to stop the competitors along the backstretch while safety crews cleaned up the debris.

With 22 laps remaining, racing resumed as the field was once again shown the green flag. Allgaier managed to keep his Verizon Wireless Dodge in the third position for six laps before Keselowski and fellow Raybestos Rookie-of-the-Year competitor Brendan Gaughan snuck by. Allgaier battled hard to maintain his position over the final three laps and took the checkered flag in fifth place.

"I feel like we should've had a podium finish here tonight," said Allgaier, "but we got another top-five, and that's a great result. It's a good points night." Allgaier gave credit to his team for the strong finish. "The guys worked their tails off this week, changing just about everything on the car - and it showed," added Allgaier. "We had a great qualifying run and the car was strong all night. Our stops were great too. I really have to give it to the Verizon Wireless crew."

Allgaier is now in sixth place in the overall NASCAR Nationwide Series standings and he continues to lead the chase for Raybestos Rookie-of-the-Year honors.

The Verizon Wireless team heads to Milwaukee, Wis. and The Milwaukee Mile for the next event on the Nationwide Series schedule. The NorthernTool.com 250 can be seen live on ESPN2 next Saturday, June 20, with coverage beginning at 7:30 p.m. ET.