JOLIET, Ill. (July 9, 2010) – Justin Allgaier, driver of the Penske Racing No. 12 Verizon Dodge in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, had a strong showing in Friday night’s Dollar General 300 powered by Coca-Cola at Chicagoland Speedway, overcoming an untimely caution and late-race skirmish to record a 10th-place finish.
Despite posting his 10th top-10 finish of the 2010 season, Allgaier dropped one position, to fourth, in the NASCAR Nationwide Series driver point standings. Halfway through the 2010 season, Allgaier trails point leader and Penske Racing teammate Brad Keselowski by 454 markers.
Allgaier recorded the eighth and 24th-fastest times, respectively, in Friday’s dual Nationwide Series practice sessions. That evening, the Riverton, Ill. native ran a lap of 30.728 seconds, at an average speed of 175.735 mph, to earn the 11th starting position for the feature later that night.
Allgaier kept his Verizon Dodge running inside the top 10 from the onset of the race, and as green-flag conditions prevailed, the Riverton, Ill. native advanced to the lead at lap 58 when the field began to hit pit road for scheduled pit stops. Allgaier continued to run inside the top 10 through the next cycle of pit stops, again assuming the point at lap 137 before hitting pit road at lap 139 for his scheduled service.
As Allgaier rejoined the field, debris on the backstretch forced NASCAR to display the caution period, trapping Allgaier one lap down to the race leaders. Fortunately, the Verizon Dodge was the first car scored one lap down, giving Allgaier the “free pass” to return to the lead lap, in the 15th position.
As green-flag conditions prevailed over the remaining laps, Allgaier found himself trapped in traffic, unable to improve his position. A caution flag at lap 190 gave Allgaier and his Chad Walter-led crew an opportunity to hit pit road one final time for adjustments to help him make it to the finish.
Allgaier aggressively worked his way through traffic as the laps wound down, and appeared to be headed for a top-10 finish when, at lap 198, the 24-year-old driver was involved in an incident with the Nos. 16 and 99 cars. Fortunately, Allgaier survived the skirmish with minimal damage, allowing him to finish in the 10th position when the checkered flag waved.
“From the time that we unloaded off the truck we felt like we were okay,” said Allgaier. “We just never felt like we had the success that we’ve had at some of these other race tracks. This particular Verizon Dodge has been pretty good for us in the past, so I was a little baffled as to why we ran like we did. We started the race and just kind of held our own. We weren’t moving forward, but we weren’t moving backwards either. Unfortunately, pit cycles and stuff happened and we lost some spots and ran around 15th for a long time. I made a mistake with the Nos. 99 and 16, it’s tough to say what happened. It’s not the day that we wanted. We got a top 10, but we just didn’t race well today.”
Next weekend, the NASCAR Nationwide Series heads to Allgaier’s home track, Gateway International Raceway, for the Illinois-Missouri Dodge Dealers 250. The race will be televised live on ESPN Saturday night, July 17 beginning at 7:30 p.m. EDT.