RICHMOND, Va. (September 11, 2009) – Justin Allgaier, driver of the Penske Racing No. 12 Verizon Wireless Dodge Charger in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, secured his 11th top-10 result of his rookie season as he posted an eighth-place finish Friday night at the .75-mile Richmond International Raceway.
Allgaier lined up for the start of the Virginia 529 College Savings 250 in the 19th position at the famed Virginia short track. In the 23-year-old Illinois driver’s last outing in Richmond, he was involved in an early altercation which took him out of contention for the win. He was determined to make his second Nationwide Series start at the venue a strong one. Before taking the green flag, crew chief Chad Walter reminded the series’ leading rookie to exercise patience on his way to the front. On lap 30, Allgaier radioed Walter to explain that the No. 12 Verizon Wireless Dodge was a bit loose-handling in the center of the corners, which was hindering Allgaier from getting back on the gas coming out of the turns.
When the caution flag was displayed to the field on lap 40 because of an incident on the racing surface, Allgaier prepared to make his first pit stop of the night. He rolled into his pit stall on lap 42 for service. The team changed both right-side tires and filled the car with racing fuel. The No. 12 crew also made a slight air pressure adjustment, hoping to stabilize the car in the corners during the next green flag stint.
The green flag waved to restart the race on lap 45 and Allgaier found himself running in the 17th spot. He started to again make a charge to the front of the field, using the low line on the race track. On lap 75, he reported that the car was still a bit tight in the center of the turns, but the Verizon Wireless Dodge was now handling a bit free while Allgaier was trying to get back on the accelerator.
As the green flag stint progressed, Allgaier and the No. 12 car continued to get stronger and stronger, making their way through the field. By lap 100, Allgaier had improved to the 15th position and was running lap times comparable to the race leaders.
The caution flag was again displayed to the field on lap 125 and the Verizon Wireless team prepared to make another stop. Allgaier pulled into his pit stall two laps later for service. The team bolted on four fresh Goodyear Eagles and filled the car with fuel. Walter again worked with the tire pressure trying to tighten up the car’s handling. The team did an excellent job completing its service and picked up three valuable spots on pit road.
The race was restarted on lap 132 and Allgaier found himself in the 11th position. The Verizon Wireless Dodge Charger was making steady progress towards the front. With only 50 laps remaining in the 200-lap event, Allgaier made his way inside the top-10.
Allgaier battled wheel-to-wheel with several NASCAR Cup Series regulars for the final 25-lap shootout to the finish, as he eventually posted a strong eighth-place result.
“Richmond [International Raceway] has been circled on my calendar since we left here in May,” commented Allgaier after recording his 11th top-10 finish of the season. “We really struggled here in the spring and have spent a lot of time testing trying to get a feel for this race track. Tonight was a testament to all the guys on the Verizon Wireless Dodge. It was a total team effort. The pit crew did a great job every time I came to pit road, and Chad Walter did a fantastic job calling the race. Our hard work over the last couple of months paid off tonight. I am going to enjoy my week off and will be ready to get back behind the wheel of the Verizon Wireless Dodge in Dover.”
Friday night’s impressive finish helped Allgaier remain fifth in the overall Nationwide Series driver point standings with eight races remaining on the schedule. He also continued to lead the series’ Raybestos Rookie-Of-The-Year race.
Allgaier and the No. 12 Verizon Wireless Dodge team get a well-deserved week off before returning to racing action at Dover International Speedway. The Dover 200 will be seen live on Saturday, September 26 on ESPN2 with coverage beginning at 3 p.m. ET. The event will also be heard live on MRN radio as well as Sirius Satellite Radio channel 128.
Justin Allgaier Virginia 529 College Savings 250 Statistics
Laps Led: 0