By Seth Eggert, Staff Writer
BRISTOL, Tenn. – Despite getting caught in an early wreck, Justin Allgaier rallied to finish runner-up in the Fitzgerald Glider Kits 300. In a race at Bristol Motor Speedway with only NASCAR Xfinity Series drivers, Allgaier’s second-place finish also qualified him for the Xfinity Dash 4 Cash at Richmond Raceway next weekend.
On the final restart with nine laps to go, Allgaier restarted in third behind eventual winner Ryan Preece and race leader Brandon Jones. Jones, whose right-side tires were 127 laps old put up a strong fight with Preece. However, the age of the tires proved too much, and he quickly faded. Allgaier in his No. 7 Suave Men Chevrolet Camaro SS took advantage of the situation but did not have enough time to catch Preece. He settled for second and qualifying for next week’s Xfinity Dash 4 Cash.
“It’s huge,” Allgaier explained about qualifying for the Dash 4 Cash. “It’s super important. It’s awesome. I’m disappointed I didn’t qualify for it last week, but obviously Ryan won the race and he was part of it. We still would have come up a little bit short anyways. If you’re going to waste all of your luck, I guess you better do it in one shot. We have a great, great program for Richmond, our cars at JR Motorsports have been really, really stellar. It’s just a matter now of trying to execute like we’ve been doing and go to Richmond next week. If we do what we’ve been doing, we’ll be in great shape.”
Allgaier’s journey to his second-place finish was adventurous. Contact between Allgaier and Jones on lap 102 sent him spinning into the inside wall. The contact damaged the left front splitter, hurting his aerodynamics. Luckily for Allgaier, he didn’t get major damage as five more cars piled into the wreck.
Allgaier utilized the high line to make his way back up through the field. In comparison, many were trying to utilize the quickly fading ‘Bristol Bite’ traction compound on the inside line. Allgaier had climbed back inside the top-10 with less than 100 laps to go.
The second-place finish is the fourth top-five and fifth top-10 finish of the season for Allgaier. He moved from fifth to fourth in the Championship Standings, 21-points behind points leader, and JR Motorsports teammate, Elliott Sadler. Allgaier is also 77-points ahead of the Playoff cutoff held by Ross Chastain.
Now Allgaier and his entire JR Motorsports team will prepare to fight for $100,000 in the ToyotaCare 250 at Richmond Raceway on April 20.