By David Morgan, Associate Editor
FORT WORTH, Texas – It all comes down to Phoenix and for Justin Allgaier. It’s him vs. the “Big Three” of the NASCAR Xfinity Series – Christopher Bell, Cole Custer, and Tyler Reddick.
While the other three have been racking up wins all season long, Allgaier has yet to visit Victory Lane in 2019, but with a 18-point advantage over Chase Briscoe in fifth-place after finishing sixth Saturday night at Texas Motor Speedway, the driver of the No. 7 Chevrolet for JR Motorsports heads to a track where he has found success in the past, ready to lay it on the line for a place in the championship race at Homestead.
“The hard part is being fourth,” Allgaier said. “Fourth is that one spot where if any of the other four guys that are behind us in points win a race, you’re out. Not only that, you’ve got to Phoenix and execute. We did that tonight. I was a little bit nervous, but we were able to drive our way through and put ourselves in a good position and get stage points in both stages.
“You know, that’s what you’ve got to do. When you have a day like we had today, you’ve got to maximize it and I feel like we did that. I was bummed we lost a couple of spots right there at the end, but all in all, a solid day and a good points day for us.”
In 18 starts at ISM Raceway, Allgaier has won one race at the desert mile, taking home the victory in 2017, along with six top-five finishes and 11 top-10 finishes. Despite his past success, the 33-year old noted it’s no guarantee with all of the remaining Playoff drivers gunning for a win to try and lock themselves into the season finale.
“You’ve got to go there and be on you’re A game,” he said. “I mean, there’s too many guys in this field that can go to Phoenix and win the race. I look at the 98 (Briscoe), I look at the 9 (Gragson), I look at the 1 (Annett), I look at really anybody that’s in these Playoffs. Even the guys that are in front of us in points, any of those three can win.
“So, for us, 18 points is great. I’d love to have 800 points because at this point, we know that 18 is really just two stages. We could be behind before the end of the second stage, so we just need to go there and execute and we’ll be fine.
“The goal is to win. I mean for us, that’s one of the better race tracks we have. We ran really well there in the spring and unfortunately had a car expire an engine in front of us. We were running top-two whenever that happened, so we just need to go and have a good day.
“We had a good day today. Even though we started at the back, we did all the things right. We had good strategy and it just worked out. So, we need to go and do that again next week.”