DOVER, Del. (September 25, 2010) – Justin Allgaier, driver of the Penske Racing No. 12 Verizon Dodge in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, recorded a ninth-place finish in Saturday afternoon’s Dover 200 at Dover International Speedway. The finish marks a career-best for the 24-year-old driver at the “Monster Mile,” and extends his streak of four consecutive races with top-15 finishes.
Allgaier’s 15th top-10 finish of the 2010 season allows him to maintain the fourth position in the NASCAR Nationwide Series driver point standings. With seven races remaining in the 2010 season, Allgaier trails point leader and Penske Racing teammate Brad Keselowski by 764 markers, and third-place contender Kyle Busch by 264 points.
Allgaier recorded the eighth-fastest time in Friday’s lone practice session. The following morning, having already gone through inspection and being placed on the grid for qualifying, engine tuner Dave Ward went to start the Verizon Dodge only to discover that the starter had gone bad. Quick thinking saw the Chad Walter-led crew push the car out of line and back to the garage area to replace the part, and back to the grid in time to keep their sixth-place draw. The two-time Nationwide Series pole winner ran a lap of 23.568 seconds, at an average speed of 152.749 mph, to earn the seventh starting position for the 200-lap feature.
Allgaier kept his Verizon Dodge running inside the top 10 for the opening 10 laps of the race, but a loose-handling condition exiting the turns saw the third-year driver get sideways exiting Turn 2, resulting in the loss of several positions. As green-flag conditions prevailed, the Riverton, Ill. native held his position inside the top 15, but leader Kyle Busch set a blistering pace that saw Allgaier go one lap down at lap 53. When the No. 7 car made contact with the outside retaining wall at lap 72 to bring out the first caution flag of the afternoon, Allgaier got the break he desperately needed to come to pit road, where Walter ordered major chassis and air pressure adjustments to help the handling of the Verizon Dodge.
Allgaier raced his way to become the first car one lap down when green-flag conditions resumed at lap 76, and stayed there until the caution flag was displayed again at lap 113, for an incident with the No. 73 car, giving Allgaier the “free pass” to return to the lead lap, in the 16th position, when green-flag conditions resumed at lap 142.
Over the final 50 laps of the event, Allgaier advanced his way to the seventh position before handling woes plagued him once again, dropping him to eighth at lap 175 and to ninth when the checkered flag waved. Despite earning his best-career finish at the one-mile oval, Allgaier was left wanting more.
“The Verizon Dodge guys did a great job all day,” said Allgaier. “We felt we found some stuff toward the end of practice yesterday and thought it would be good for the start of the race, but unfortunately it didn’t have the lateral grip we needed to keep pace with the leaders. We tried to hold our own there at the beginning, but unfortunately, we lost too many spots. We got the car back where we needed to be, but we had lost a lot of track position. It’s unfortunate we finished ninth, we felt like we could have finished a little higher than that. Obviously, the 18, 20 and 60 cars were in a league of their own today. I don’t know where we would have ended up, but I think track position is so important here. It’s a top-10 finish and we didn’t lose too many points to all these guys, so it was a good day for the No. 12 team.”
Next weekend, the NASCAR Nationwide Series heads west to Kansas Speedway. ESPN2’s live television coverage of the Kansas Lottery 300 begins Saturday, October 2 at 3 p.m. EDT. The event will also be broadcast live on MRN Radio and Sirius XM Satellite Radio.