ALLGAIER NETS SECOND CONSECUTIVE TOP-10 IN THUNDER VALLEY
Bristol, Tenn. (March 17, 2012) – Justin Allgaier showed a great deal of patience at the half-mile coliseum of Bristol Motor Speedway, especially in the waning laps of the 300-lap event, as he battled hard for a seventh-place result. Wanting to build upon their momentum from last weekend’s top-10 finish, Allgaier and his No. 31 BRANDT team knew they had a solid car heading into the Ford EcoBoost 300 after the two productive practice sessions and 10th-place qualifying effort. Even though he fought with a tight-handling race car through the second half of the event, Allgaier scored his second top-10 finish in as many weeks. He remains ninth in the NASCAR Nationwide Series point standings, 65 points out of the top spot.
It took until the second practice session on Friday, but the BRANDT team hit on a set-up they felt would work well for the Saturday afternoon race, especially on long, green-flag runs. This was confirmed with Allgaier’s 10th-place qualifying effort. From the drop of the green flag, Allgaier moved toward the leaders, settling in to the eighth spot by lap 47. He radioed to crew chief Jimmy Elledge that he was starting to get tight in the corners, and was ready for adjustments when the caution flag was shown to the field for the first time on lap 104. Elledge instructed the BRANDT crew to make wedge and air pressure adjustments along with changing four tires and adding fuel. The crew made quick work of the stop, gaining their driver one spot to restart seventh on lap 112.
Allgaier battled with the No. 6 car and had moved into the sixth position before falling to seventh when the caution flag came out on lap 156. Allgaier again said his BRANDT Chevy was tight-handling in the center of the corners. Elledge exercised some pit strategy and called for a two-tire and fuel stop to gain his driver three spots on pit road to restart fourth on lap 163. Just three laps later, the caution flag was shown and Allgaier had moved to the second spot. He radioed to the team explaining his car was much too tight after the two-tire change, but he remained on track through the caution period.
The handling proved too much to overcome as Allgaier fell to the ninth spot by lap 227. Fortunately, the caution came out one final time on lap 262, giving the BRANDT team the opportunity to make one last change for the final laps of the race. Elledge called for another wedge adjustment, along with four tires and fuel. Allgaier restarted 11th as he was one of two drivers on the lead lap to take four tires. Two competitors remained on track, while others took two tires.
Allgaier went to work after the final restart, going two- and three-wide on the tiny half-mile track to try and gain position. After another fierce battle with the No. 6 car, Allgaier exercised wisdom beyond his years as patience seemed in short demand in the closing laps. By lap 281, Allgaier had maneuvered his way to the seventh spot, where he took the checkered flag 19 laps later.
“We continued to make progress today with this seventh-place finish,”” Allgaier said after the race. “The BRANDT team brought me a really great car and I kind of had the feeling we would have some long green-flag runs. We had just the car for that, but we got a little tight there in the middle of the race after putting on two tires. I’m encouraged though and excited to continue our momentum as we head out to the west coast again next weekend. I’m hopeful we can make some more gains in the point standings.”
Next Stop: The NASCAR Nationwide Series makes one more trip this spring to the west coast for the Royal Purple 300 at Auto Club Speedway on March 24. The Saturday afternoon race will air on ESPN beginning at 5:00 p.m. EST with coverage on MRN affiliates and Sirius Radio channel 90.