JR Motorsports Race Report
|November 3rd, 2018|
|Race 31 of 33:||O'Reilly Auto Parts 300 at Texas Motor Speedway|
|Track Specs:||1.5-mile quad-oval / 200 laps|
|Weather:||Mostly cloudy; 71 degrees|
|Race Winner:||Cole Custer|
Justin Allgaier navigated his way through a caution-filled race to finish fifth at Texas Motor Speedway in the Suave Men Chevrolet, leading 37 laps and collecting valuable stage points along the way. The effort was the No. 7 team’s 17th top-five finish of the season. Allgaier is fourth in the NASCAR Xfinity Series point standings and will head to Phoenix, the final race in the Round of 8 and one of his strongest tracks, as the fifth seed in the playoffs, just 12 points below the cutoff line.
Allgaier rolled off the grid from the fifth position for the 300-mile event and radioed to the team early in the race that the No. 7 Chevy was struggling in dirty air. He was running in fourth when the second caution of the day waved on lap 14. Under the yellow, he relayed to the team that he had nothing to lean on with the right rear. Restarting in the fourth position on lap 19, he was stuck on the outside and lost a few spots, but worked hard to regain ground. As Stage One went on, the Suave Men Camaro became extremely aero tight and when the green-and-white checkered flag waved, Allgaier was scored in the seventh position.
Under the stage-ending caution, Allgaier came to pit road for four tires, fuel, a wedge adjustment and an air-pressure adjustment. He took the green flag for Stage Two from the seventh position on lap 52 and wasted no time working his way into the top five, moving into third on lap 59. Less than 10 laps later, he radioed that the Suave Men Camaro was getting tighter as the run went on. Allgaier was still in third when a caution came out on lap 81 and when the green flag was back out, he advanced one more position to end Stage Two in second on lap 90.
The team called Allgaier to pit road under the stage-ending caution for four fresh tires, fuel and a track-bar adjustment. He started the final stage on lap 97 from the 12th position, with teams on varying pit strategies, but was back up to sixth by lap 107. When a caution came out on lap 125, the team opted to pit for four tires and fuel. Crew chief Jason Burdett told Allgaier to save fuel as part of a strategy to potentially make it rest of the way without another stop. Allgaier restarted in fifth on lap 131 and quickly maneuvered his way to second before another caution came out on lap 133. Back under green, he battled with leader Daniel Hemric and made his way to the top spot before the yellow flag waved once again on lap 139. He chose the outside line for the lap-145 restart and battled with Hemric, this time with Hemric coming out on top. Allgaier would get another chance to race for the lead though, with the caution flag waving yet again.
With the green flag back in the air, Allgaier stayed strong on the outside of Hemric and took the lead back on lap 153. He paced the field for several laps before the No. 42 of John Hunter Nemechek worked his way by on lap 184. Knowing the team was close on fuel, Burdett instructed Allgaier to start saving a bit more where he could, but on lap 189 the field saw the yellow flag be displayed once again, changing the strategy for the No. 7 team. Burdett called Allgaier in for four tires and fuel while some competitors stayed out on old tires. Restarting in eighth on lap 194, Allgaier was starting to make moves when a wreck brought out an ill-timed caution for the team. With the field back to green with two laps to go, Allgaier worked his way by as many cars as he could, taking the checkered flag in the fifth position.
Cole Custer won the 200-lap race and clinched a spot in the Championship 4. He was followed by JRM driver Tyler Reddick, Austin Cindric, Nemechek and Allgaier to round out the top five.
Justin Allgaier, driver No. 7 Suave Men team
“Our Suave Men Camaro was good. At the end there, I thought for sure we made the right choice. We were a little too tight when the No. 42 got around us and I thought we made the right choice by coming and getting tires. Then, the way the caution fell after that, it really hurt us because we needed a few laps to get going and get through some of the traffic. It just didn’t work out in our favor. Hats off to Cole (Custer). He did a great job today. You know, it’s just how these playoffs work. For us today, we did our job and did what we needed to do. Obviously that’s tough for us in points with Cole winning. We’ll move on to Phoenix next week, a great track for us, and hopefully go to Victory Lane and lock our way into Homestead.”
No. 7 Suave Men Camaro
|Laps Completed (Led)||200 of 200 (37)|
|Points (Bonus)||45 (0)|
|Point Standings (from leader)||4th (-20)|