BRISTOL, Tenn. (August 21, 2010) – Justin Allgaier, driver of the Penske Racing No. 12 Verizon Dodge in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, had a strong Verizon Dodge in the early going of Friday evening’s Food City 250 at Bristol Motor Speedway, but a pair of incidents would eliminate the spring race winner prematurely, crediting him with a 33rd-place finish.
Despite the less-than-desired result, Allgaier maintains the fourth position in the NASCAR Nationwide Series driver point standings. With 24 of 35 races complete, Allgaier trails point leader and Penske Racing teammate Brad Keselowski by 707 markers, and third place Kyle Busch by 273.
Allgaier recorded the 26thth-fastest time in Friday’s lone practice session. Later that afternoon, the two-time Nationwide Series pole winner ran a lap of 15.986 seconds, at an average speed of 120.030 mph, to earn the fourth starting position for the 250-lap feature.
Despite fighting a tight-handling condition, Allgaier showed the strength of his Verizon Dodge from the drop of the green flag. The 24-year-old driver overtook Kyle Busch on the opening lap, and held the third position for the opening 18 circuits. As the leaders encountered lapped traffic, Allgaier found himself trapped behind a slower competitor, which saw him lose four positions to fall to eighth in the running order when the first caution flag was displayed at lap 54 for debris on the backstretch.
Crew chief Chad Walter called for air pressure adjustments that helped loosen Allgaier’s No. 12 Dodge, and the Riverton, Ill. native began his climb towards the front once again. Unfortunately, on lap 81, the No. 99 of Trevor Bayne dove to the inside of Allgaier’s Dodge, as he ran side-by-side with the No. 38 of Kasey Kahne. Bayne forced Allgaier into Kahne’s machine, which resulted in the No. 38 getting into the outside retaining wall before rolling over onto its side. The damage sustained in the incident required several pit stops, and quick work by the Verizon crew helped Allgaier maintain his position on the lead lap.
Mired in traffic, Allgaier did all that he could to improve his position. Unfortunately, at lap 187 while racing for the 17th position, Allgaier’s Verizon Dodge was sent spinning into the wall by another competitor who misjudged the 2009 NASCAR Nationwide Series Rookie of the Year’s corner entry. The damage sustained in the incident would take longer to repair than there were laps left in the race, leading Walter to retire the No. 12 entry some 63 laps before the conclusion of the event.
"Man, what a tough break for this Verizon team,” said Allgaier. “They gave me such a great race car tonight. We got into Kasey (Kahne) early in the race and that set us back. When you get behind the eight ball, you try so hard to get back to the front. We got back out there and things got tight running mid-pack where we were. It looks like the 35 car got into us. I think that he thought that I was going to the bottom and he (Jason Keller) just ran into us. It's a shame. This was one fast Dodge Charger and my guys didn't deserve this kind of finish. That's racing at Bristol. Sometimes fate does you in and tonight was one of those nights."
Next weekend, the NASCAR Nationwide Series heads to Circuit Gilles Villeneuve for the Napa Auto Parts 200 Presented by Dodge. Live coverage of the race will be carried on ESPN2 Sunday afternoon, August 29 beginning at 2 p.m. EDT.