Verizon Team News and Notes
• This Week’s Verizon Dodge… Justin Allgaier will pilot Penske Racing chassis PRS-202 in Friday night’s Subway Jalapeno 200 powered by Coca-Cola at Daytona International Speedway. This is a brand-new Verizon Dodge Challenger that will be put through its first paces this weekend at Daytona.
• After 16 Races… Over the season’s first 16 races, Allgaier has accumulated five top-five and nine top-10 finishes, an average starting position of 12.4 and an average finish of 10.6. The Riverton, Ill. native has led 116 laps of competition and has completed 99.3 percent of the laps contested (2,978 of 2,999) thus far.
• Get to the Points … Allgaier is currently ranked third in the championship point standings, 440 markers behind leader and Penske Racing teammate Brad Keselowski, and 193 points behind second-place contender Carl Edwards.
• Best in Class… Allgaier’s third-place position in the point standings is best among full-time, Nationwide Series-only drivers. Allgaier leads fellow Nationwide-only driver Brendan Gaughan, currently ranked seventh, by 382 points.
• Allgaier at Daytona … In three previous NASCAR Nationwide Series starts at Daytona International Speedway, Allgaier has one top-five and two top-10 finishes. Additionally, the 24-year-old driver has a 25th-place average starting position, an average finish of 17.3, and has completed 88.9 percent of the laps contested (304 of 342) at the “World Center of Racing”.
• Are You Experienced? … In addition to his three previous NNS starts at the 2.5-mile superspeedway, Allgaier competed in two ARCA Series races at Daytona, posting his best finish, second, in the 2008 season opener.
• Penske Racing at Daytona … In five previous Nationwide Series starts at Daytona, Penske Racing entries have recorded one top-five and two top-10 finishes, have completed 538 of 582 laps contested and have led three laps.
• Welcome back, Challenger … Friday night’s Nationwide Series race marks the first time that a Dodge Challenger has competed in NASCAR competition since the early 1980s. Virginian James “Chubby” Arrington fielded Dodge race cars in the late 1970s and 1980s with several drivers, including Satch Worley, who finished 15th in Arrington’s No. 29 Dodge Challenger at Daytona (February, 1983) in what is now known as the Nationwide Series.
• Last Time Out … Allgaier started fifth and was a mainstay inside the top 10 for all 200 laps at New Hampshire Motor Speedway en-route to recording his career-best finish of sixth at “The Magic Mile” in last Saturday’s New England 200.
• Penske Racing in 2010 … With 16 races completed in the 2010 season, Penske Racing’s two NASCAR Nationwide Series entries have recorded four poles, four wins, a combined 18 top-five and 24 top-10 finishes. Penske Dodges have an average starting position of 11.2, an average finish of 7.3, have completed 5,977 of 5,998 laps contested, and have been atop the leaderboard for 702 laps with drivers Allgaier and Keselowski.
• Homecoming … Shaun Rinaman, catch can man, is the only native Floridian on the Verizon team. Rinaman was born and raised in Sarasota, located about 180 miles southwest of Daytona.
• Meet the Driver … Fans will have several opportunities to meet Allgaier in Daytona. The Riverton, Ill. native will sign autographs on Wednesday, June 30 from 6 - 7 p.m. EDT at the Verizon Wireless store located at 2296 W. International Speedway Blvd. The following day, he will sign for fans at the Penske Racing souvenir trailer from 12:30 - 1 p.m. before stopping by Daytona Dodge, located at 1450 N. Tomoka Farms Rd. in Daytona Beach, for a Challenger kick-off event from 8 – 9 p.m. He will also participate in a Dodge autograph session on Friday, July 2 from 11:30 a.m. - 12 p.m. EDT at the Dodge display located in the midway at Daytona International Speedway, and prior to the start of Friday night’s race in the Fanzone at Daytona from 5:30 – 6:30 p.m.
• Welcome Aboard … 26-year-old, China Grove, N.C. native Scott Marritt joins the Verizon pit crew this weekend as the new front-tire carrier.
Justin Allgaier on racing the new Dodge Challenger this weekend
“I think everyone is looking forward to Daytona this weekend and this first race with the new cars. Just as the Cup guys wanted to be the first to win at Bristol in 2007, we all feel the same now that we have this opportunity. Dodge has certainly given us the tools to be successful with it, and it would mean a lot to me to win the first race since the Challenger return.”
Justin Allgaier on Daytona International Speedway
“I think that Daytona will certainly be interesting given that it will be the first race with the new cars. Daytona is a very rough race track, even more so now in 2010 than it was in 2009. Handling will be key this weekend. We were fortunate enough to have participated in a test at Daytona a few weeks ago, and we discovered that the new car drives very differently than the old car. So, we will have our work cut out for us, but I feel like our Verizon team will be up to the task.”
Crew chief Chad Walter on Daytona International Speedway
“It’s a summer tradition to be at Daytona during the July 4th weekend. It seems like no matter who I’ve been with, we’ve always ran strong in the race – and that has nothing to do with the last lap. It’s a nerve-wracking race because you never know what’s going to happen. We’re looking forward to racing the Verizon Dodge Challenger this weekend, we feel that we’ve got a very strong race car. We don’t know what to expect with qualifying, but we know we’ll race strong.”