JR Motorsports Race Report
Saturday, April 28, 2018
Race 9 of 33: Sparks Energy 300 at Talladega Superspeedway
Track Specs: 2.66-mile tri-oval / 113 laps
Weather: Sunny, 80 degrees
Race Winner: Spencer Gallagher
Allgaier’s finish: 3rd
Justin Allgaier raced the TradeMark Nitrogen Chevrolet to a third-place finish in Saturday’s NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Talladega Superspeedway, battling back after running out of fuel during a late-race caution. The comeback qualified Allgaier for next week’s Xfinity Dash 4 Cash finale and allowed him to move up to third in the NXS point standings. He’s now 47 markers behind the leader, his teammate Elliott Sadler.
Qualifying sixth for the 300-mile race, Allgaier had worked his way up to second by lap 5. With the front-runners running single file for much of the first portion of the race, the Illinois native was able to stay in the same spot, finishing second at the end of Stage One on lap 25, collecting nine valuable stage points. Under the yellow flag, Allgaier came to pit road for fuel and adjustments, with the team opting not to take tires.
Back out on the track, he took the green flag for Stage Two in the second position in the bottom lane on lap 32. With the outside line getting the better restart, Allgaier was posted in the seventh position on lap 33 when a caution came out for a wreck. He restarted in seventh on lap 41 and faded back to 11th, but worked his way up to eighth before the green-and-white checkered flag for the end of Stage Two came out on lap 50. Allgaier relayed to the team that his TradeMark Nitrogen Chevy drove better during that stage and came down pit road for right-side tires and fuel.
The 31-year-old driver restarted in sixth for the final stage on lap 57. He was running in the outside line for a few laps until he could find a hole to switch down to the bottom, where there was more momentum. When the caution came out for a spin near him on lap 62, he was scored in the 13th position. Crew chief Jason Burdett called him to pit road for four tires and fuel. Before the race went back to green, Burdett called Allgaier back down one more time to top off in an effort to make it to the end without having to pit again. Restarting in 28th on lap 67, Allgaier was able to work his way up to eighth on lap 73 and assumed the lead just two laps later as the cars in front of him elected to pit under green.
The team’s strategy looked like it was going to pay off as Allgaier paced the field for 35 laps before a caution came out with less than 10 laps to go. Under the caution, Burdett relayed to Allgaier that he needed to save as much fuel as he could, but the No. 7 Chevy ran out and had to be pushed back to pit road. Making it to his pit stall, the team filled the TradeMark Nitrogen Camaro with enough fuel to make it to the end and got him back out without losing a lap. The length of the caution, due to multiple car running out of gas, forced the race into overtime, with Allgaier restarting in 17th. He and teammate Sadler worked together, moving to the middle line to advance position on the final lap. Allgaier was ultimately able to cross the line for the final time in third and secure his spot for the Xfinity Dash 4 Cash finale at Dover International Speedway next week.
Spencer Gallagher took home the race win and was followed by Brandon Jones, Allgaier, Noah Gragson and Sadler to round out the top five.
Justin Allgaier, driver No. 7 TradeMark Nitrogen team
“I’m really just proud of this team and everyone at JR Motorsports. This TradeMark Nitrogen Camaro was really fast today. We led a lot of laps there. I was bummed when Daniel (Hemric) had his issue because the caution came out and then in the grand scheme of things when we ran out of fuel, I thought well maybe it was the best thing that could have happened. The TradeMark Nitrogen group was out there watching on the back straightaway and I could see them out there and I could see their hands go to their heads when we ran out of fuel and I was so bummed. But again, really proud of these guys. We locked our way in to next week’s Xfinity Series Dash 4 Cash event. We’re going to keep fighting. We’ve got a great race track for us next week on the schedule and I’m excited about it.”