By Toby Christie, Editor — Follow on Twitter @Toby_Christie
FORT WORTH, Texas — Justin Allgaier started Saturday at Texas Motor Speedway by qualifying eighth for the My Bariatric Solutions 300. When the race began a couple of hours later, Allgaier asserted himself as one of the drivers to beat.
The Riverton, Illinois native was looking sporty in his No. 7 Brandt Chevrolet Camaro with it’s corn racing stripes. Then, toward the end of Stage 1, Allgaier began to fade. Allgaier radioed to his team that he believed he was down a cylinder. His car continued to sputter around the track at a noticeably slower pace.
After the Stage finished, Allgaier took his car to the attention of his team in the garage.
The JR Motorsports team quickly made the repairs to the engine compartment, and Allgaier returned to the race.
However, after completing his 70th lap of the frigid afternoon in Fort Worth, Allgaier pulled his car back to the hauler to load up. Obviously it’s a disappointing finish for a driver and team who have been in the thick of the battle for wins basically week in and week out.
“The engine shop has been flawless. That’s probably the one thing I have to give them a lot of credit for. We very rarely have engine trouble. and when we do there’s usually an outlying reason,” Allgaier said after changing out of his fire suit, “And hopefully we can take the parts back — we didn’t want to kill it today, we just wanted to get the parts back home and figure out what exactly happened and move on from it.”
This race was a qualifying event for the first Xfinity Dash 4 Cash race, which takes place in Bristol next week. The top-four highest finishing Xfinity Series regulars in Texas will battle for $100,000 next weekend. By suffering engine issues, Allgaier is on the outside looking in. Allgaier would not lay down on his team, even with bad day.
“You know what it’s racing, right? It’s ebbs and flows and peaks and valleys. I can’t be disappointed in this team at all,” Allgaier explained. “We’ve had three of the last three races up until now, worst finish was third. The guys have been flawless. The car today was really fast.
“If you win next week at Bristol, you’ll automatically make the next one, so that’s the goal now. We know we don’t have a shot at the $100-grand next week for the Dash4Cash, but if we do our job next week we’ll put ourselves in for the following week, and that’s all we can do.”
Allgaier was racing this event in honor of his father’s 70th birthday, he even had a decal for his dad on the top of his door next to his name. Upon pulling into the garage, Allgaier’s dad — who has never missed one of his son’s races in ARCA or NASCAR competition — had some words of encouragement.
“You know my dad knows me really well and how hard I am on myself and wanting to run well and be competitive. This weekend was his 70th birthday — tomorrow is his birthday, so I wanted to run well for him,” Allgaier explained, “He said, ‘Listen man, you got a lot of effort here. A lot of guys that are putting heart and souls into making sure this thing gets back out onto the racetrack. There’s nothing to be disappointed about,’ That’s cool. My dad is a racer, he’s been around this sport his whole life. A lot of wisdom, a lot of insight that I’ve been lucky enough to be around my whole life.”
When Allgaier pulled the car toward the team hauler to end the day, Mike Allgaier was heard telling people how proud he was to make it to 70 years old because when he was younger he tried not making to that age. Allgaier shared his favorite story about his father’s daredevil lifestyle.
“My dad, you hear the stories of his childhood and how he grew up and some of the things he’s had to endure and it’s crazy. My favorite story I guess if you will, he actually got blown out of the side of a trailer — an air compressor blew up and blew him out the side of a trailer. When he woke up — back then the nurses wore the white outfits with the white hats — he said he thought he went to heaven and that the angels were dressed as nurses. He couldn’t figure it out. He’s a tough bird.”
Photo by Toby Christie / The Final Lap