Playoff Push: Allgaier, No. 7 Team Have Clear Shot to Championship 4

Ron Lemasters | 10/9/2019

Brandt Justin Allgaier News Playoffs XFINITY Series

He's running the best he has all year and now with the Round of 8 a week away, Justin Allgaier is poised to advance to the Championship 4.

MOORESVILLE, N.C. (Oct. 9, 2019) – A year ago at this time, Justin Allgaier was in a great position to make it back to the Championship 4 and battle again for the NASCAR Xfinity Series championship. He entered the 2018 playoffs with five victories and the regular-season championship on his resume and had a ton of momentum in his favor.

Those playoffs were not kind to Allgaier or his No. 7 BRANDT Professional Agriculture team almost from the start. A crash not of his making at Richmond derailed a near-perfect run, and the chaotic initial race on the Charlotte Roval saw him place 15th. He needed a strong run at Dover to advance to the Round of 8 and he got it, finishing a strong third.

The Round of 8 was more difficult still, as he was eliminated at Kansas in a first-lap crash that put him out of the transfer spots for the finale. A great run at Texas the week after put him fourth in the points, in position to advance, and headed to one of his favorite tracks at ISM Raceway.

Again, late-race mechanical woes struck and he finished 24th, which ended his dream of making it to Miami for the third year in a row.

Despite no victories in 2019, none of that matters to Allgaier. What is important is the next three races, getting back to Homestead-Miami and winning a title.

“We’ve had good speed all year,” the Illinois native said. “We’ve had chances to win. We led the most laps at Bristol and ended up having a mechanical issue. We led the most laps at Bristol in the fall and had a tire problem at the end. We’ve been fast all year, but don’t have anything to show for it.”

In a season where three drivers have won a combined 19 of 29 races, there is reason to believe that Allgaier and Burdett and the rest of the No. 7 team can step right in for the four remaining races and make some noise.

Statistically, there is a lot of credence to that notion. Only one driver—point leader Christopher Bell --has won more than seven stages through the first 29 races. The next two on the list? Allgaier and second-place points man Cole Custer, both with seven. At Dover, Allgaier took both stages on the way to a runner-up finish.

For all the talk about not winning, Allgaier has certainly been right there, especially in the past five races. Over that span, he’s not finished worse than fifth, taking runner-up finishes at Dover last week and at Indianapolis in September. Over the last 13 races, dating back to Kentucky in July, he’s been no worse than ninth in the running order.

Getting out of the Round of 8 and into the championship race is the goal, of course, and he’ll enter the race at Kansas next weekend just three points out of the top four but 48 points adrift of point leader Bell and a single marker ahead of Chase Briscoe. Austin Cindric currently holds the fourth spot.

“Obviously, you want to win to make it into the Championship 4 and go race for a championship, but I don’t think you have to win,” Allgaier said. “We need to keep doing what we’ve done these past 13 races, score stage points and finish in the top five.”

Kansas was the place last year where Allgaier’s Round of 8 went pear-shaped. In the middle of Turns 1 and 2 on the initial lap, Allgaier’s car broke loose underneath Bell and put both cars into the fence. Despite last year’s accident, Allgaier has a great record at Kansas with five top-10s in eight starts and a pair of fifth-place runs in his last four starts there.

The other tracks that are ahead on the road to Miami are good ones for Allgaier, too. ISM Raceway is one of his best tracks, with an average finish of 9.1, and he’s run very well at Texas, posting eight top-10 results in 18 starts.

“It’s just a matter of doing what we’re capable of doing every week,” he said. “We have fast Chevrolets, and Jason and the team are working really hard to keep us in this fight. It’s about executing what we have to do to advance, and I know we can do that.”

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XFINITY Series Schedule

XFINITY Series Standings

After Ford EcoBoost 300

Homestead-Miami Speedway | 11/16/2019
RankDriverPointsBehind
1Tyler Reddick (P)40400
2Cole Custer (P)4035-5
3Christopher Bell (P)4032-8
4Justin Allgaier (P)4023-17
5Chase Briscoe #2302-1738
6Austin Cindric2294-1746
7John Hunter Nemechek #2253-1787
8Noah Gragson #2246-1794
9Michael Annett2239-1801