CONCORD, N.C. (October 16, 2009) – Justin Allgaier, driver of the No. 12 Verizon Wireless Dodge for Penske Racing, raced inside the top-10 for most of the race before a flat right rear tire with only three laps remaining led to a 12th-place finish for the team in Friday night’s Dollar General 300 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway.
Allgaier, the 23-year-old rookie sensation, started the 300-mile NASCAR Nationwide Series race from the third spot, which marked the second consecutive week the Verizon Wireless Dodge driver qualified on the inside of the second row. He radioed to his team early in the running of the Dollar General 300 to explain that his car was handling tight from the middle through the exit of the corners at both ends of the 1.5-mile speedway. Crew chief Chad Walter assured his driver the team would make some adjustments to the machine during the first round of pit stops.
By lap 40, the tight-handling race car resulted in Allgaier falling back to the ninth position. He told the team several laps later the car had very little front grip, which was hindering his ability to generate the power he needed on the Verizon Wireless Dodge.
Allgaier brought his machine to pit road on lap 57 lap for a green flag stop. The No. 12 team bolted on four fresh Goodyear tires and filled the car with racing fuel. The squad also made both trackbar and air pressure adjustments to the car in an effort to help it rotate better through the corners. The team produced a lightning-quick stop, picking up two positions on pit lane.
Five laps later, the caution flag was displayed to the 43-car field for an incident on the front straightaway. The untimely caution dropped the Verizon Wireless Dodge a lap down to the leaders, who had yet to make a pit stop. Walter took a gamble and made the call to stay out on track to put the Verizon Wireless Dodge back on the lead lap, but Allgaier had to restart the race near the rear of the field. The rookie point leader knew he would need to be patient to navigate his car back toward the front of the field.
With only 50 laps to go in the event, Allgaier had made it all the way up to the sixth spot and was tracking down the top-five. He still reported a tight-handling car, but the condition was not hurting his lap times. The team had one more opportunity to adjust the car before the end of the 200-lap event.
When the field was again slowed because of a caution flag with less than 30 laps to go, Walter called his driver to pit road. Allgaier arrived in his pit box on lap 176 for a four-tire change. The team also made a slight air pressure adjustment to the car as it tried to dial it in for the 20-lap shootout.
Allgaier restarted the race in the ninth spot and looked to be on his way to the team’s 13th top-10 finish of the season when his right rear tire started to go down with only two laps remaining. Allgaier made it to the finish, but he crossed the stripe in the 12th spot.
“It was a good night for the Verizon Wireless Dodge,” commented Allgaier after his top-15 performance. “We had a good car all night, but unfortunately for us, the right rear tire started to go down there at the end which put us outside the top-10. Those last couple of laps, I was doing all I could to keep it off the wall. The pit crew did a great job all night. Our stops were just fantastic. Overall, it was a good weekend for us. I would have liked to finish inside the top-10, but we will take it and move on to Memphis Motorsports Park next week.”
With his 19th top-15 result of the season, Allgaier remained fifth in the Nationwide Series point standings and continued to lead the Rookie-Of-The-Year battle.
The No. 12 Verizon Wireless team next heads to Memphis, Tenn. and Memphis Motorsports Park for the Kroger on Track for the Cure 250. The race will be seen live on Saturday, October 24 on ESPN2 with coverage beginning at 3 p.m. ET. The race will also be heard live on MRN Radio as well as Sirius Satellite Radio, channel 128.
Justin Allgaier Dollar General 300 Statistics
Laps Led: 0