Allgaier Returns to Top-Five Form at Charlotte Motor Speedway

May 29, 2010

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (May 29, 2010) – Justin Allgaier, driver of the Penske Racing No. 12 Verizon Dodge in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, recorded a fourth-place finish in Saturday’s TECH-NET Auto service 300 powered by CARQUEST at Charlotte Motor Speedway. It marks a career-best for the 23-year-old driver at the 1.5-mile oval, and ends a streak of five races without a top-10 finish.

After the 12th race of the 2010 season, Allgaier maintains the fifth position in the NASCAR Nationwide Series driver point standings, trailing point leader and Penske Racing teammate Brad Keselowski by 265 markers.

Allgaier recorded the 18th and 16th-fastest times in Thursday’s dual Nationwide Series practice sessions. Saturday morning, the Riverton, Ill. native ran a lap of 29.402 seconds at an average speed of 183.661 mph to place him 11th on the starting grid for Saturday’s race.

From the drop of the green flag, the 2009 NASCAR Nationwide Series Rookie of the Year wasted little time improving on his starting position, overtaking three cars in the opening two laps. Despite two caution periods in the first 10 laps that slowed the pace, Allgaier continued to march his way towards the front of the field. He was running as high as fourth before relinquishing the position, under green-flag conditions, to hit pit road for scheduled service. A problem with the clutch saw the Verizon Dodge fall off the jack midway through the stop, costing the team precious seconds on pit road. Despite the miscue that cost the No. 12 team 19 positions, Allgaier was able to regain his lost ground as he recorded lap times equal to, or faster than, the race leaders.

Crew chief Chad Walter called for adjustments that kept the Verizon Dodge in tune with the changing track conditions, and flawless work on pit road helped Allgaier maintain his position inside the top 10 over the course of the event. 

As the race neared the conclusion, Allgaier raced his way to the third position before the caution flag was displayed at lap 187 for an incident involving the No. 99 car. Allgaier and Walter agreed to come to pit road to take on four tires and a splash of fuel in order to make it to the finish, but varying pit strategies saw some drivers stay on the racing surface, others take right-side tires, and others simply a splash of fuel. The end result saw Allgaier line up 12th with just a handful of laps remaining.

Hard driving, paired with a pair of cautions that allowed Allgaier to maximize his opportunity, saw the No. 12 advance from 12th to fourth when the checkered flag was displayed.

Allgaier's teammate Keselowski finished second.

“We battled some adversity today, but it shows what a good crew behind you can do,” said Allgaier. “We had an awesome race car today. We worked on it and got the Verizon Dodge better toward the end. We made the choice to take four tires and I think it would have been the right choice had we not had so many cautions at the end. A top-five finish is a great day for us with the clutch problem and the adversity we had. When you’re that far back, especially on a green-flag pit stop, you think you’re day is over. It just shows what these guys do, they never give up. That’s what it takes to win races and championships. Even though we lost some points to the guys we’re racing, we could have lost a lot more.”

Next weekend, the NASCAR Nationwide Series heads west to Tennessee for the Federated Auto Parts 300 at Nashville Superspeedway. The race will be televised live on ESPN2 Saturday, June 5 beginning at 7:30 p.m.