Race Weekend Central

2011 NASCAR Driver Review: Justin Allgaier

Justin Allgaier

2011 Ride: No. 31 Turner Motorsports Chevrolet
2011 Primary Sponsor: Brandt
2011 Owner: Steve Turner
2011 Crew Chief: Jimmy Elledge
2011 Nationwide Series Stats: 34 starts, 1 win, 6 top fives, 17 top 10s, 3 DNFs, third in points

High Point: Allgaier’s highlight of the season had to be his win at Chicago in June. Allgaier and Carl Edwards were pushing their fuel to the finish. After taking the white flag leading the race, Edwards ran out of gas. Just as Allgaier went around Edwards, he also ran out of gas. With both cars coasting, Trevor Bayne closed in, but Allgaier’s momentum was enough for him to make it to the checkered flag before Bayne came around to pass the two slowing cars. The final lap of the race was the only lap Allgaier led all evening.

Low Point: Racing can be a fickle sport and, while we always want our drivers to be pushing as hard as they can, the fact is that sometimes they give each other extra space. This is especially true for teammates when one of them is in the heart of the championship hunt. At Atlanta in September, Allgaier was trying to move forward in the pack late in the race and made slight contact with teammate Reed Sorenson.

The incident took Sorenson out of the race and set the events in motion that ultimately led to his dismissal from the team. Allgaier went on to finish sixth, but was quite upset about the outcome and extremely apologetic for days, if not weeks, afterwards.

Summary: Allgaier continues to develop as a stock car driver and is establishing himself as one of the top drivers in the Nationwide Series. This was the third full season that Allgaier has competed in the series and he has bettered his finishing position every season. A new team can be a challenge for a driver and it can take some time to get acclimated to new surroundings but Allgaier did a great job of meshing with crew chief Jimmy Elledge to finish the season in third position in points.

While Allgaier only won one race in 2011, he was in the lead at Road America when his car ran out of gas due to the race going extra laps. 2012 should be another good season for Allgaier assuming the organization around him is still stable. Turner Motorsports is now the predominant Nationwide team with KHI and Roush cutting back on their operations. Assuming they do not run into financial issues, Allgaier should be near the front in the points for the entire season.

Team Ranking: Allgaier ended the season as the number one driver at Turner Motorsports. Sorenson was tops for most of the season but was dismissed by the team.

Off-Track News: Allgaier’s wife Ashley competed in the Better Half Dash at Charlotte before the Bank of America 500. She led the majority of the race before a part failure caused her to slow over the final laps. Allgaier also competed in the Prelude to the Dream race at Eldora Speedway, finishing fifth.

2012 Outlook: Allgaier and crew chief Elledge will be teamed up together again for 2012 and should be a preseason favorite to win the title. With Roush Fenway cutting back to one full-time car and KHI shutting down and moving their operations to Richard Childress Racing, Turner is the premier team in the Nationwide Series. With Allgaier improving his points finishing position every year, 2012 very well could be the year he reaches the pinnacle.

2011 Frontstretch Grade: B+

About the author

What is it that Mike Neff doesn’t do? The writer, radio contributor and racetrack announcer coordinates the site’s local short track coverage, hitting up Saturday Night Specials across the country while tracking the sport’s future racing stars. The writer for our signature Cup post-race column, Thinkin’ Out Loud (Mondays) also sits down with Cup crew chiefs to talk shop every Friday with Tech Talk. Mike announces several shows each year for the Good Guys Rod and Custom Association. He also pops up everywhere from PRN Pit Reporters and the Press Box with Alan Smothers to SIRIUS XM Radio. He has announced at tracks all over the Southeast, starting at Millbridge Speedway. He's also announced at East Lincoln Speedway, Concord Speedway, Tri-County Speedway, Caraway Speedway, and Charlotte Motor Speedway.

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