JOLIET, Ill. (July 10, 2009) – Justin Allgaier, driver of the No. 12 Verizon Wireless Dodge Charger in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, captured his ninth top-10 finish of the season on Friday night at the 1.5-mile Chicagoland Speedway outside the “Windy City.”
Allgaier lined up for the start of the 300-mile Dollar General 300 in the seventh position and he never ran outside the top-10 throughout the race. On lap 2, Allgaier radioed crew chief Chad Walter to explain that the No. 12 Verizon Wireless Dodge was free-handling on the exit of the corners and the rookie driver was taking his time moving through traffic. Allgaier searched the track for different lines to help him maintain his momentum through the corners. The 23-year-old racer inched up the track with every passing lap. He again radioed his Verizon Wireless team to explain that the car was much better running on the top side of the track and Allgaier was going to continue to use that line at both ends of the speedway.
By lap 50, Allgaier had his red and black No. 12 car in the seventh position and was preparing to make a green flag pit stop. He brought his machine down pit lane on lap 54 for service. The team went to work changing four tires and filling the car with fuel. The Verizon Wireless Dodge team also made an air pressure and wedge adjustment to the machine with the hope of dialing it in for the next run.
Once the field cycled through green flag stops, Allgaier found himself in the ninth position. He radioed to crew chief Chad Walter once again on lap 84 to tell him that the car wasn’t running well in the middle or the bottom of the track.
When the caution flag was displayed to the field for the first time on lap 91 for debris on the front stretch, Allgaier again prepared to hit pit road. He arrived in his pit box on lap 93 for service. The team again went to work bolting on four fresh Goodyear tires and filling the car with fuel. The No. 12 crew again made both air pressure and wedge adjustments trying to keep up with the track.
Allgaier was running in the eighth spot when he took the green flag on lap 97. He radioed the team six laps later to inform them that the car was now handling loose when he was on the gas. As the run progressed, the car seemed to get better and better. Allgaier was taking his time navigating through lapped traffic, making sure to not put himself in a precarious position.
By lap 150, Allgaier was in the ninth spot, posting lap times as quick as the leaders. He let his team know that the car was really good on old tires. His comments were confirmed by his lap times. He was running two to three tenths faster than the field.
On lap 181, Allgaier brushed the turn 4 wall with the right side of his machine. The contact damaged the side of the car and hampered its handling in the corners. Allgaier did all he could for the remaining laps and brought his car across the finish line in the 10th spot.
The solid finish kept Allgaier sixth in the overall Nationwide Series point standings and he remained the leader of the Raybestos Rookie-Of-The-Year race.
“We struggled with the car all night and never really felt like we were as good as we were yesterday in practice,” comment Allgaier after the race. “We struggled with being tight in and around the middle (of the corners) and no forward drive on exit. A couple of times we felt like we were coming back through the field and usually the yellow would come out and I ended up getting in the wall there late which really hurt the car pretty bad. We just didn’t have anything for them on the last restart. We put four tires on thinking we’d be all right and the handling had gone away enough that we really didn’t have anything again there. Looking at the big picture, it was a great night for the Verizon Wireless Dodge. We got another top-10 and keep adding points for the Raybestos Rookie-Of-The-Year battle and our championship points. It’s just frustrating to think we had as good of a car as we did yesterday and really not run half as good as we thought we were going to.”
Allgaier and the No. 12 Verizon Wireless Dodge team return to racing action next Saturday night at Gateway International Raceway. The Missouri-Illinois Dodge Dealers 250 can be seen on Saturday, July 18 live on ESPN2 with coverage beginning at 9 p.m. ET. The event can also be heard live on MRN radio as well as Sirius Satellite Radio channel 128.
Justin Allgaier Dollar General 300 Statistics
Laps Led: 0