HAMPTON, Ga. (September 5, 2009) – Justin Allgaier, driver of the No. 12 Verizon Wireless Dodge for Penske Racing, fought a loose-handling race car Saturday night at Atlanta Motor Speedway, but he persevered to capture a 17th-place finish in the NASCAR Nationwide Series Degree V12 300. The result marked Allgaier’s 19th top-20 finish this season as he retained the lead in the rookie standings and rose to fifth in the overall series rankings.
The 23-year-old rookie sensation started Saturday night’s 300-mile race from the 33rd spot, but he was bound and determined to get the Verizon Wireless Dodge up front. By lap 10, Allgaier had advanced to 25th place using the high line on the 1.5-mile speedway. He called into his crew chief Chad Walter to explain that the car was handling loose through the corners and needed to be tightened up on the first round of pit stops. Walter and the team began to strategize on the changes the crew could make to the car.
When the caution flag was displayed to the field on lap 25 for an incident in turns 1 and 2, the Verizon Wireless Dodge team prepared to see its car on the pit lane. Allgaier brought the car in on lap 27 for service. The team took on fuel and made chassis and air pressure adjustments to its machine hoping to stabilize the No. 12 Dodge in the corners.
The race returned to green flag conditions on lap 30 and Allgaier had the Verizon Wireless machine in the 22nd position. He radioed his team several laps later to report that the changes that were made to the car helped its handling for the first handful of laps, but the Dodge Charger would then get “wicked loose” on both ends of the Georgia speedway. Walter relayed to Allgaier that the team would make some additional adjustments to the car on the next round of pit stops, but he should do the best he could in the meantime
For the next green flag segment, Allgaier remained in the top-20, searching the 1.54-mile track for different lines hoping to find some grip. He again radioed his Verizon Wireless team on lap 100, describing that the car was still really loose-handling in the middle of the corners.
When the caution flag was again displayed to the 43-car field on lap 123, the No.12 Verizon Wireless pit crew prepared to service their machine. Allgaier brought his machine to pit road three laps later. The team bolted on four fresh Goodyear tires and filled the car with racing fuel. The crew also made both chassis and air pressure adjustments to their car hoping to dial it in for the final shootout to the finish.
On lap 128, the green flag flew to restart the race and Allgaier found himself in the 18th spot. Walter radioed to his driver to let him know that he needed to conserve fuel in order to make it to the end of the 195-lap race. Allgaier went into conservation mode and held back in the corners in order to save fuel. Allgaier did a great job for the remainder of the event, keeping enough fuel in the tank to avoid making another pit stop. Allgaier took the checkered flag in the 17th position.
“We had a tough night, but still managed to get a solid result,” commented Allgaier after the event. “That is what this Verizon Wireless team is all about. We never give up on each other. I thought we had a really good car this morning in practice, but the track really changed and we never could seem to get a hold of the handling. [Crew chief] Chad Walter and all the guys on the Verizon Wireless Dodge worked their tails off trying to make the car better. We just never could get the car comfortable in the corners. It was wicked loose all night, but we are walking out of the tunnel with a top-20 and will move on to Richmond on Friday night.”
With another top-20 result, Allgaier picked up one spot and improved to fifth place in the Nationwide Series standings. He also remained the leader in the Rookie-Of-The-Year rankings with only nine events remaining on the 2009 schedule. The No. 12 Verizon Wireless team heads to Richmond, Va. and Richmond International Raceway for the next event on the Nationwide Series schedule. The race can be seen live on Friday, September 11 on ESPN2 with coverage beginning at 7 p.m. ET and it will also be heard live on MRN Radio as well as Sirius Satellite Radio, channel 128.
Justin Allgaier Degree V12 300 Statistics
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