By Toby Christie, Editor — Follow on Twitter @Toby_Christie
While most of the buzz in the NASCAR Xfinity Series this season has been about how Joe Gibbs Racing’s young phenom Christopher Bell looks like he’s ready to move to the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, Justin Allgaier has continued to chalk up results like he has throughout his eight full-time seasons in the NXS ranks.
And this has me wondering: Why aren’t more people talking about Allgaier?
Through 22 starts in 2018, Allgaier has three wins, 17 top-10 finishes and when Friday night’s Food City 300 at Bristol Motor Speedway went to an overtime finish it was Allgaier – not Bell – who worried Cup Series regular Kyle Larson for the win.
Allgaier would restart from the bottom lane, while the preferred lane all race long was the top. However, when the green flag was shown Allgaier got a great launch. He hung with Larson side by side for an entire lap, but then his car broke traction slightly after a tap from Bell on the final lap in turn one.
The No. 7 Brandt Agriculture Chevrolet Camaro would slide up the track, Larson would go on to win while Allgaier wound up third on the night. But he was the only driver all night who really showed that he wasn’t content to just finish second to a Cup Series driver.
“Came up a little bit short there at the end. That’s all you can do,” Allgaier said. “It’s hard battling at Bristol, this place is fun. Hopefully the fans that were here had a great time. Hopefully the fans at home that were watching had a fantastic time watching. It was definitely a cool race.”
Allgaier, 32, has raced for three different race teams (Team Penske, Turner Scott Motorsports and JR Motorsports) over his eight full-time seasons in the NASCAR Xfinity Series. Along the way he has racked up eight wins and has never finished worse in points than sixth.
Yet there is no buzz for the Riverton, Illinois native to move to the next level.
The only time so far that anyone has been willing to give a call to Allgaier to drive for their Cup team was when the late Harry Scott Jr. started his HScott Motorsports team back in 2013. Scott put Allgaier behind the wheel of his No. 51 car full time in 2014 and 2015, but this was far from a top tier outfit capable of showcasing Allgaier’s talents.
Heck, even a driver who has made the Playoffs in the NASCAR Cup Series in year’s past, Clint Bowyer even had his worst year behind the wheel of an HScott Motorsports Chevrolet while waiting on his new ride at Stewart Haas Racing.
Does Christopher Bell deserve to move to Cup? Of Course. But so, too, does Allgaier.
It would be a shame if we never get a chance to see what a talented driver like Allgaier could really do if given a shot with a decent team in the Monster Energy Cup Series.
Photo: Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images