KANSAS CITY, Kan. (October 3, 2009) – Justin Allgaier, driver of the No. 12 Verizon Wireless Dodge Charger in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, finished sixth Saturday afternoon at Kansas Speedway to record the 12th top-10 finish of his impressive rookie season.
Allgaier lined up for the start of the 300-mile Kansas Lottery 300 in the 18th position, but after the two practice sessions on Friday afternoon, the Verizon Wireless team felt it had a car capable of running inside the top-10. By lap 50, Allgaier had his red and black No. 12 car in the 15th position and he was preparing to make a green flag pit stop. He brought his machine down pit lane on lap 54 for service. The Verizon Wireless Dodge team went to work and changed four tires and filled the car with fuel. The crew also made air pressure and wedge adjustments to the machine with the goal of improving its handling for the next run. Unfortunately, two laps later, the caution flag was displayed to the field, which dropped the No.12 car one lap down to the race leaders.
The Verizon Wireless Dodge team put itself in position to capture the “lucky dog” free pass back onto the lead lap during the next green flag segment. Allgaier, the series rookie leader, kept his machine at the front of the lapped cars and when the caution flag was again shown to the field on lap 75, the Verizon Wireless Dodge returned to lead-lap racing.
The team struggled midway through the race with a car that was handling loose entering the corners and tight from the center through the exit of the turns. Crew chief Chad Walter explained to his driver that the team would make significant adjustments to the car on the next round of pit stops, but Walter encouraged Allgaier to do the best he could and to take care of his machine.
The team made its final pit stop of the day on lap 139, under the caution flag. The Verizon Wireless crew again bolted on fresh rubber and added enough fuel to get to the end of the 200-lap event. They also made both a trackbar and air pressure adjustment to the Dodge Charger in an effort to dial it in for the remaining 60-lap shootout.
The changes helped the car come to life and Allgaier was on a charge to the front. By lap 150, the 23-year-old Riverton, Ill. native broke into the top-10 and never looked back. He relayed to the team that the car was really running well on the bottom of the track and was rotating smoothly through the center of the corners, which produced improved speed down the straightaways.
The Verizon Wireless Dodge driver avoided trouble during two late-race caution periods and brought his machine home in sixth position. With the strong result, Allgaier reclaimed the fifth spot in the championship point battle. He is 13 points ahead of sixth-place Steve Wallace in the standings. Allgaier also remained the leader in the Rookie-Of-The-Year battle with only six races left to run on the 2009 schedule.
“I am so proud of the Verizon Wireless Dodge guys,” said Allgaier. “We felt like we had a good car (Friday) in practice but knew we would have to be patient in order to get to the front. We struggled early in the race to find the balance, but [crew chief] Chad Walter was not willing to give up. We got a bit behind early getting a lap down, but getting the ‘lucky dog’ added a spark. I knew at the end I had a good car and needed to push the limit. We went three-wide a couple of times getting into turn one, but I knew I had to take advantage of every opportunity. This was a good day for the Verizon Wireless Dodge.”
Allgaier and the No. 12 team return to racing action next Saturday at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. The Copart 300 will be seen on Saturday, October 10 live on ESPN2 with coverage beginning at 4 p.m. ET. The event will also be heard live on MRN radio as well as Sirius Satellite Radio channel 128.
Justin Allgaier Kansas Lottery 300 Statistics
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