Chasing The Underdogs

Chasing The Underdogs: Justin Allgaier Ties Career-Best Finish In Pocono


Justin Allgaier ended the 400 by limping a beaten and battered car into the garage area. That information alone would suggest that it was an awful day for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series rookie, but in reality this is possibly the best race Allgaier has had since moving to the Sprint Cup Series, and the end result was a career-best finish.

This week in ‘Chasing The Underdogs’ we will breakdown how Allgaier went about finishing 16th at the Tricky Triangle.

Allgaier’s day on Sunday started with a tweet-up appearance.

For those not in the twitter loop, tweet-ups are one of the coolest things that have been created in recent years for the fans. Each week fans and media join up at a disclosed location at the race track and get to know each other by talking racing, and life away from the sport. You never know who will show up to a tweet-up, there are always special guests. Most of the time a driver will swing by to rub elbows with the fans. Allgaier was the special guest in Pocono, and he walked away from this week’s tweet-up with a souvenir.

After the tweet-up, Allgaier headed to his car on the grid, and he brought a special passenger with him — his daughter Harper Grace.

Photo Credit: Mark Dottle / Rubbings Racing

Photo Credit: Mark Dottle / Rubbings Racing

Once the pre-race festivities were over, there was nothing left for Allgaier to do than strap into the race car and compete at one of NASCAR’s trickiest tracks — Pocono Raceway. Allgaier rolled off from the 22nd position, and by lap eight the rookie had worked his way to the 19th position as the caution flag waved for an incident involving six-time Sprint Cup Series champion — Jimmie Johnson.

Under this caution Allgaier’s crew chief, Steve Addington opted to keep his driver on the track, while a slew of drivers hit pit road for tires and fuel. Allgaier would restart in the 12th position on lap 12. By the third caution of the race on lap 28, Allgaier had moved to ninth.

“We had a really, really good AccuDoc Solutions Chevy. Had a great start to the race, drove our way up through the field, and felt like we were going to have a really solid finish,” Allgaier said in a post-race YouTube video.

The driver radioed to his crew chief under this caution period that he wanted absolutely no changes because the car was, “really good.” Allgaier would drop to 22nd under this pit cycle, as many of the other drivers who had pitted earlier stayed out.

Allgaier would bounce around from the top-10 to 25th with the mixture of different pit strategies all day long.

At lap 51 the caution was out again, this time for an accident involving Kasey Kahne and Joe Nemechek. Allgaier, now 13th, would avoid the accident on track, but a chunk of metal would slam into his car’s grille after Jimmie Johnson ran over debris under this caution. Luckily for Allgaier and his team the debris didn’t do any severe damage to their race car, and they were able to continue in the 23rd position when the race restarted on lap 55. It would be under this run that Allgaier would report that his car had gone to the tight side, so finally on lap 70 his team made their first adjustments of the day on his No. 51 AccuDoc Chevrolet SS race car.

Allgaier would continue his solid day up until a huge 13-car melee ensued on lap 117. Allgaier suffered severe damage to the front end of his car in this accident, but he reported that somehow, some way, his temperatures were normal. Aside from flat tires, all of the damage to his car was simply cosmetic. 

Allgaier would come to the attention of his crew every lap under this caution, and after pitting for repairs he lined up in the 15th-position for the restart.

“Got caught up in a crash, with probably 50 or 60 (laps) to go, and really damaged the car,” Allgaier said, “But my crew did an awesome job. They got everything all fixed up. It wasn’t perfect, but we were still on the lead lap and that’s the biggest part.”

Allgaier would save fuel for the remainder of the event in hopes of stealing a top-10 finish, but late cautions wiped away any advantage he may have had fuel-wise over his competitors. Despite the torn up race car though, Allgaier would hold on to finish 16th, which ties his career-best finish in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.

“Brought home a 16th place finish, which especially for the last few weekends we’ve had some not so great finishes. This was a great finish, and we’ll go on to Watkins Glen next week and hopefully we’ll have a good time,” explained Allgaier.

After the race an understandably enthusiastic Allgaier debriefed with his crew chief Addington.

Although Allgaier and Co. have had some rough days as of late — four 25th-place-or-worse finishes in the last seven races — they have also recorded both of their 16th place finishes in the last two months. Allgaier will now head to Watkins Glen International with a bit of confidence after the speed he and his crew chief found in the HScott Motorsports car at Pocono Raceway.

It seems this underdog team is really starting to gel and work their way into becoming a solid top-15 competitor from week-to-week.

—How Did The Rest of The Underdogs Fare In Pocono?–

12th – Casey Mears
17th – David Gilliland (season best finish)
19th – David Ragan
20th – Ryan Truex (career best finish)
21st – Cole Whitt
22nd – Michael Annett
24th – Josh Wise
25th – Travis Kvapil (season best finish)
26th – Dave Blaney (season best finish)
27th – Reed Sorenson
28th – Alex Kennedy (career best finish)
31st – Alex Bowman
34th – AJ Allmendinger (led two laps, caught up in 13-car crash)
40th – Joe Nemechek
41st – Landon Cassill

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About Toby Christie

Toby Christie is the Senior Writer for Rubbings Racing. He has been watching NASCAR since 1993, and has covered the sport as a media member since 2007. Toby is a proud member of the NMPA. Additionally, Toby is a lifelong Miami Dolphins fan, subpar guitarist and he is pretty good around a mini-golf course.

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