DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (July 3, 2009) – Justin Allgaier, driver of the No.12 Verizon Wireless Dodge Charger in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, captured his first top-10 series finish on a superspeedway-style track Friday night, crossing the finish line in the eighth spot at Daytona International Speedway.
Allgaier lined up for the 250-mile event in the 31st position, but was immediately on the move to the front. By lap 10, he had moved inside the top-20 and was charging towards the lead pack. He radioed crew chief Chad Walter to explain that the No. 12 was handling tight in the center of the high-banked corners as the run was progressing and the team needed to make an adjustment on its first pit stop.
When the caution flag was displayed to the field for the first time on lap 9 for an on-track incident, the team prepared to see the Verizon Wireless Dodge Charger on pit lane. Allgaier brought the machine into the pit stall on lap 11 for service. The Penske Racing crew changed four tires and filled the black No. 12 Dodge Charger with racing fuel. The team also made a slight air pressure adjustment to the car in hopes of correcting the tight-handling condition experienced by the rookie driver. The team did a great job getting Allgaier back on to the racing surface, picking up four positions on pit road.
When the green flag was again displayed to the field on lap 15, Allgaier found himself in the 16th position. He was determined to get up front and battle with the leaders, but knew he had to bide his time and be patient. Allgaier resumed his charge towards the front. The 23-year-old used the low line on the track to make his move. By lap 35, Allgaier had made it to the runner up spot and was fighting with NASCAR star Kyle Busch for the race lead. The two were nose-to-tail for several laps before they began to pull away front the rest of the 43-car field.
The caution flag was again displayed to the field on lap 44 and Allgaier prepared to bring his Verizon Wireless Dodge down pit lane. He rolled into his stall two laps later for service. The team again went to work changing four tires and filling the car with racing fuel. Another small air pressure adjustment was made by the crew in hopes of helping the car rotate better through the corners.
Returning to green flag racing on lap 49, Allgaier found himself solidly inside the top-10, restarting in the fifth spot. The Rookie-of-the-Year contender knew his car really worked well on the bottom side of the race track and he did all he could to keep his machine there.
With 30 laps remaining in the event, Allgaier was in the ninth position, running with the lead pack. He again radioed to Walter to explain that the car was now extremely tight on entry into the corners. The tight condition did not seem to hurt his progress to the front, however. Allgaier had the Verizon Wireless Dodge planted solidly on the bottom of the speedway and was running two- and sometimes three-wide while passing competitors.
Allgaier crossed the finish line in the eighth spot, capturing his first Nationwide Series top-10 result on a superspeedway. It also marked his eighth top-10 finish overall this season. The strong performance catapulted him back into the lead in the Raybestos-Rookie-Of-The-Year standings, as well as moving him up to sixth in the overall Nationwide Series point standings.
“It was a great night for the Verizon Wireless Dodge team,” commented Allgaier after the run. “We started further back than we wanted, but got up front early and stayed there all night. That was one of the most fun races I have ever been a part of. [Crew chief] Chad Walter and all the guys on the Verizon Wireless Dodge team brought a great race car down here and it showed all night. We have made significant gains in our superspeedway program since Daytona and I am proud of what we have accomplished as a group. To get out of Daytona [International Speedway] with a top-10 is awesome. I can’t wait to get to Chicagoland [Speedway] next week!”
Allgaier and the No. 12 Verizon Wireless Dodge team return to racing action next Friday night at Chicagoland Speedway. The Dollar General 300 will be seen Friday, July 10 live on ESPN with coverage beginning at 7:30 p.m. ET. The event can also be heard live on MRN radio as well as Sirius Satellite Radio channel 128.
Justin Allgaier Subway Jalapeno 250 Statistics
Laps Led: 0