Rare Part Failure Leaves Allgaier 35th at Road America

June 20, 2010

ELKHART LAKE, Wis. (June 19, 2010) – Justin Allgaier, driver of the Penske Racing No. 12 Verizon Dodge in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, started 18th but suffered a rare part failure on the first lap of Saturday’s Bucyrus 200 which left him 20 laps down when the checkered flag waved.

Although the less-than-desired result did not affect Allgaier’s third-place position in the NASCAR Nationwide Series driver point standings, the 2009 NASCAR Nationwide Series Rookie of the Year now trails point leader and Penske Racing teammate Brad Keselowski by 415 markers.

The Nationwide Series arrived to Road America early, with a full day of testing scheduled for Thursday to allow teams and drivers alike the opportunity to familiarize themselves with the 14-turn road course.

When the regularly-scheduled track activities got underway on Friday afternoon, Allgaier recorded the 16th and third-fastest times in the two Nationwide Series practice sessions. Saturday morning, the Riverton, Ill. native ran a lap of 137.263 seconds, at an average speed of 106.167 mph, to earn the 18th starting position for the inaugural-running of the 200-mile event later that afternoon.

Mid-way through the opening lap, smoke began trailing from the Verizon Dodge. As Allgaier reported that he felt something going awry, his Charger lost power entering Turn 5. Instinctively, he pulled off-course, resulting in a full-course caution. Allgaier quickly diagnosed that the drive shaft had broken, and the car would need to be towed to the garage for repairs, where crew chief Chad Walter and the Verizon crew members were waiting to diagnose their problem.

Upon inspection, Walter diagnosed a broken track bar mount was initially to blame. This allowed the rear end of the car to travel which caused extensive damage to the oil tank and various other components. The repairs, coupled with a long green-flag run, saw the No. 12 team lose 20 laps to the leaders before rejoining the field at lap 22.

Allgaier made the most of the remaining laps, picking up positions from cars that had retired from the event. Although the finish was certainly not what the team had hoped for, their never-quit attitude allowed them to gain a few more valuable points towards the year-end championship.

“Going through the kink, I got on the rumble strips and into the grass a little bit,” said Allgaier. “Unfortunately the jolt broke the track bar. I knew something was wrong. I couldn’t exactly tell, and the spotter was trying to figure out what was going on. I felt the track bar moving around and it eventually broke the drive shaft and several other parts. These Verizon Dodge guys do a great job every week, and I hate that our finish doesn’t indicate that.”

Next weekend, the NASCAR Nationwide Series heads to New Hampshire Motor Speedway for the New England 200. The race will be televised live on ESPN Saturday, June 26 beginning at 2:30 p.m.