MOORESVILLE, N.C. (March 20, 2017) – It’s been a whirlwind last couple of days for Justin Allgaier, driver of JR Motorsports’ No. 7 BRANDT Professional Agriculture Chevrolet. On Saturday, Allgaier drove to victory in the NASCAR Xfinity Series event at Phoenix International Raceway, snapping an 80-race winless streak in the series and winning the $100,000 Xfinity Dash4Cash bonus to boot.
Think the 30-year-old Illinois native is a bit pumped up about all that?
You bet he is. On his weekly JR Motorsports Up Front podcast, which airs in Dirty Mo Radio every Sunday, Allgaier gave vent to his feelings from 30,000 feet, flying toward central Illinois with sponsor Rick Brandt, and it was quite a ride.
“Hot, tired, sticky, it’s been a long day, but…I’m sitting on a plane, technically with a trophy, we freaking won Phoenix!” he exclaimed as the podcast opened. “Not only did we win the race—I got a checkered flag too—we won the NASCAR Xfinity Series Dash4Cash. People write storybook endings all the time, but you don’t expect them to come true. How cool is that?”
Brandt, who has been with Allgaier for five seasons and is a very hands-on sponsor, got credit for pre-race words he said prior to the start of the 200-lap race. “What do you always tell me to do,” Allgaier asked him. “Go cause a party,” Brandt replied. “What did we do?,” Allgaier queried. “You caused a freaking party!”
Indeed he did. Allgaier led 85 of the 200 laps to earn his fourth career NXS victory and first since Montreal in 2012. It was also the first ever for JRM on the desert oval, and Allgaier’s first for the team after a 2016 season that saw the No. 7 come so close to victory only to be denied at the end.
“The race played out the way that it needed to play out,” Allgaier said. “We had long green-flag runs, and our car was not a good long-run car. For 25-30 laps, it was Jack the Bear. We had that long run at the end and I was like, ‘holy crap, I’m in trouble.’ But the end of the race, coming down to the end…probably the coolest part for me is racing really hard with my competitors. You go out and battle with these guys wheel-to-wheel, and you’re not giving anything, but you’re not necessarily rooting a guy out of the way, either.
“Then, you turn around and in Victory Lane and everything, Dale Earnhardt Jr. helps me get my seatbelts and everything out of the way. That in itself is pretty awesome. He also gave Rick Brandt the flag, and said “take this, and don’t let go.” He hasn’t let go yet.”
Getting to Victory Lane is the ultimate goal of every driver and team, and since Allgaier had had some time to think about what it meant, he opened up on how good it felt to be there again.
“We were at a baseball game the night before with some BRANDT customers,” he said. “One of the customers said to me, ‘I know you want to win, but I NEED you to win.’ I thought that was really odd, but at the same time I thought that was cool. One of our customers, coming to the track, wanted us to win as much as we wanted to win.
“You win a race and see the things that happen in Victory Lane, and people don’t realize the amount of time, work and effort that go into one of these races. The guys back at the shop…the effort that they put into this. It’s a full-time plus job, a lot of these guys are putting in 80-90 hours a week. Race teams are a lot like farming, don’t you think? We work HARD during the racing season as farmers work hard during the farming season, and you work equally as hard when you’re not in the fields or at the track, getting stuff ready to go and making sure that your I’s are dotted and your t’s are crossed. It doesn’t always work out the way you want it to, either.
“Nothing is guaranteed. We’ve gone five years without winning a race, but we’ve been darn close. That’s probably the toughest part. We’ve been so close so many times.”
With Dale Jr., the Brandt family and his No. 7 team in Victory Lane already, Allgaier got visits from teammates Elliott Sadler, William Byron and Michael Annett, and former JRM driver Kevin Harvick came out of the FOX Sports TV booth to offer congratulations as well. But Allgaier did miss one person: his young daughter Harper.
“She told me good luck, don’t crash and get up on the wheel,” Allgaier recalled of the FaceTime conversation they had before the race. “How cool is that? Got to FaceTime with her after the race, too. How special is that?”
To hear the rest of the story, tune in to JR Motorsports Up Front on the Dirty Mo network, or on iTunes, Stitcher and SoundCloud.