Allgaier Overcomes Mid-Race Setback to Finish Eighth at Kentucky

June 13, 2010

SPARTA, Ky. (June 12, 2010) – Justin Allgaier, driver of the Penske Racing No. 12 Verizon Dodge in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, started third and ran inside the top five for much of Saturday night’s Meijer 300 at Kentucky Speedway, but problems on a restart saw the 24-year-old driver fall to the back of the pack with significant left-rear quarter panel damage. A never-give-up attitude demonstrated by the Verizon team saw Allgaier rally to finish eighth when the checkered flag waved.

Allgaier’s eighth top-10 finish of the 2010 season advances him two positions, to third, in the NASCAR Nationwide Series driver point standings. With 14 races complete in the 2010 season, Allgaier trails point leader and Penske Racing teammate Brad Keselowski by 313 markers.

Allgaier recorded the ninth and second-fastest times in Friday’s dual Nationwide Series practice sessions. Saturday afternoon, the Riverton, Ill. native ran a lap of 30.858 seconds, at an average speed of 174.995 mph, to earn the third starting position for the feature later that night.

Allgaier ran inside the top three for the opening laps, before relinquishing his position under caution, to take on four tires and fuel at lap 22. The Verizon Dodge driver took advantage of an extended green flag run, advancing to third, before the caution flag was displayed once again at lap 111 for a multi-car incident.

With threatening weather in the area, crew chief Chad Walter elected to make a two-tire stop when pit road opened at lap 114. The call sent Allgaier back on track with the lead, where he would remain for 20 laps before debris on the track forced NASCAR to display the yellow flag. Walter called Allgaier back to pit road, with the rest of the field in tow, to take a splash of fuel. With an inexperienced competitor pitted just two stalls away, Walter was cautious releasing Allgaier from his pit stall, which resulted in a loss of two positions due to the extra few seconds on pit road.

As the green flag waved to restart the event at lap 137, the Verizon Dodge failed to come up to speed due to an issue with the transmission. Allgaier went low to get out of the way, but as the field stacked up behind him, another competitor made contact with the right-rear quarter panel. The caution flag was immediately displayed as a result, allowing Allgaier to visit pit road twice to make repairs to his No. 12 Charger.

The unfortunate circumstance dropped Allgaier to the 25th position with just 58 laps remaining. Walter took advantage of multiple caution periods over the remaining laps to make repairs to the Verizon Dodge, which had positive results and allowed Allgaier to come through the field and record an eighth-place finish when the checkered flag waved.

 “The Verizon Dodge guys did a great job all night long,” said Allgaier. “Pit strategy and clean air were really important and Chad (Walter) and the crew were able to keep us up front all night until the very end. On a restart late in the running, as I was accelerating, the gears got hung up between second and third, which resulted in a missed shift. Someone ran into the back of our Charger and caused damage and we lost some of the track position we had worked so hard to keep. The guys rallied behind me and we were able to bring home the Verizon Dodge Charger to another top-10 finish and move back up to third in the driver point standings.”

Next weekend, the NASCAR Nationwide Series heads north to Road America for the inaugural running of the Bucyrus 200. The race will be televised live on ESPN2 Saturday, June 19 beginning at 3:00 p.m.