Allgaier Finshes 17th after Long Night at Darlington Raceway

May 8, 2010

DARLINGTON, S.C. (May 7, 2010) – Justin Allgaier, driver of the Penske Racing No. 12 Verizon Dodge in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, led laps in the early going of Friday night’s NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Darlington Raceway, but tire failure following a lap-39 restart and a myriad of other issues relegated the third-year driver to a 17th-place finish.

The disappointing finish dropped Allgaier one position, to fifth in the NASCAR Nationwide Series driver point standings. After the 10th race the 2010 season, Allgaier trails point leader and Penske Racing teammate Brad Keselowski by 209 markers.

Allgaier earned two Darlington Stripes en route to recording the 19th-fastest time in Friday’s sole Nationwide Series practice session. Later that afternoon, the 2009 Nationwide Series Rookie of the Year recorded a lap of 28.204 seconds at an average speed of 174.358 mph to place him sixth on the starting grid for the 147-lap feature. 

From the drop of the green flag, Allgaier quickly showed the strength of his Verizon Dodge, advancing to the third position at the completion of the first lap. It took only four green-flag laps for the Riverton, Ill. native to place his No. 12 at the top of the scoring pylon.

When the caution flag was displayed at lap 28 for a multi-car incident, Allgaier and the rest of the leaders came to pit road, where the Verizon crew performed routine service of four tires and fuel, sending Allgaier back on track in the third position for the lap 31 restart. After just a handful of laps, Allgaier reported that he had a tire going down. On lap 40, he came to pit road under the green flag for left side tires, resulting in the loss of several positions and two laps to the race leaders.

As Allgaier continued logging laps, he and crew chief Chad Walter elected not to pit on a later caution, in order to take the wave around and gain one of their laps back.  Another caution period just a few laps later found Allgaier in position to capitalize on the free-pass rule as the first car one lap down, placing him back on the lead lap.

Allgaier made the most of the final laps, advancing as high as 12th with just two laps remaining. However, contact with another competitor resulted in a loss of several positions, relegating the Verizon driver to 17th as the checkered flag waved.

“I’m not sure that there are words that can describe this night,” said Allgaier. “To get up front early and lead laps was awesome. I thought that we had a left-side tire going down, so we changed lefts and went back out, but it didn’t fix the problem. We made a pit stop under another yellow and found out that it was a right-front tire instead. We came back from two laps down, and we were passing for 10th with two laps to go. I got into trouble in Turns 3 and 4 and ended up dropping back to 17th. The Verizon guys worked really hard. I just wish our finish reflected that.”

Next weekend, the NASCAR Nationwide Series heads to Dover International Speedway. The Heluva Good! 200 will be televised live on ABC Saturday, May 15 beginning at 2 p.m. EDT. The Motor Racing Network and Sirius/XM Satellite Radio will also provide live lap-by-lap coverage.