BRISTOL, Tenn. (August 21, 2009) – The Penske Racing No.12 Verizon Wireless Dodge team was looking to repeat its strong performance from the spring Nationwide Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway, but an early-race incident took the team out of contention for the win as driver Justin Allgaier finished 27th in Friday night’s Food City 250.
Allgaier started the 250-lap race from the sixth spot. The series rookie leader knew he had a good car but needed to manage the race in order to post another strong finish. As soon as the green flag flew, Allgaier was on the move. By lap 5, he had already cracked the top-five, running fourth in order. Allgaier radioed to crew chief Chad Walter to explain that the Verizon Wireless machine was handling well. He went on to say that the No. 12 Dodge ran its best on the top side of the high-banked race track.
By lap 15, Allgaier had improved to the runner up spot and he was running a blazing pace while tracking down the leader. The 23-year-old Riverton, Ill. native again radioed to his team to relay that the car was starting to handle a little tight coming off the corners. Walter reminded his driver to manage his car and be patient.
On lap 36, Allgaier took the race lead and was beginning to pull away from the field. Two laps later, the second-place car driven by Brad Keselowski slid up the track and made contact with the left side of the Verizon Wireless Dodge. The contact caused the left rear tire to go flat, sending Allgaier spinning into the outside retaining wall. The impact caused severe damage to the left side of the machine, requiring the team to go behind the wall to make repairs.
The No. 12 crew did a tremendous job getting the car repaired in a timely fashion and Allgaier was able to return to the track. Unfortunately, Allgaier’s opportunity to post his first career NASCAR Nationwide Series victory was gone.
Allgaier managed to finish the race 28 laps down to race-winner David Ragan. Despite the result, Allgaier remained the leader in the Raybestos-Rookie-Of-The-Year battle and still sits fifth in the series point standings.
“The Verizon Wireless Dodge was the best race car I’ve ever had,” commented Allgaier after the incident. “The car was really good. We were just getting out there in front. It’s unfortunate. I hate it for the guys because they deserve a good finish. We’ll be back next week and hopefully we can run just as well. I wish I knew what happened, but unfortunately it’s stuff like this that happens. That’s what Bristol is all about. It’s definitely just racing at Bristol. It’s tight. That’s the unfortunate part about this race track.”
The Verizon Wireless Dodge crew heads north of the border to Montreal, Canada next weekend to compete at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. The NAPA Auto Parts 200 Presented by Dodge will be seen live on Sunday, August 30 on ESPN2 with coverage beginning at 2 p.m. ET. The event will also be heard live on MRN Radio as well as Sirius Satellite Radio, channel 128.
Justin Allgaier Food City 250 Statistics
Laps Led: 2