Allgaier Makes A-Main at Chili Bowl; Elledge’s Run Ends in E-Main

Photo: RipTheFence.com

Ron Lemasters | 1/20/2020

Chili Bowl Justin Allgaier Karsyn Elledge News

Justin Allgaier represented JRM in the A-Main Feature of Saturday's annual Chili Bowl Nationals in Oklahoma.

MOORESVILLE, N.C. (Jan. 20, 2020) – Justin Allgaier put together a solid couple of nights inside the Tulsa Expo Center over the weekend, making the A-Main for the 34th annual Chili Bowl Midget Nationals. Karsyn Elledge saw a promising week in Tulsa come to an end in the E-Main on Saturday.

Once in the 55-lap finale with a Golden Driller trophy on the line, Allgaier had his work cut out for him.

In a sense, however, he’d already done what he came there to do: make the final race on Saturday night. The last time the 33-year-old Allgaier did that was 2009, more than 10 years ago, and this year marked his fourth A-Main appearance overall.  “Just to fire off in the A and have that opportunity was pretty cool,” Allgaier said. “It’s been 10 years since I was able to do that. I’m doing this once a year. Back in 2009, I was a little more prepared. It makes it more difficult. The Chili Bowl never gets old. You crave and want to go to the A-Main on Saturday night, so it was really cool to be able to do that.”

The story began on Friday night, a day later than planned after one of Allgaier’s Team Ripper teammates had a schedule problem and swapped Friday’s prelim program for Allgaier’s slot on Thursday. 

On Friday, Allgaier took his No. 7A Team Ripper machine to victory in the third 10-lap heat race to stake his claim to a spot in the nightly A-Main, topping Chris Andrews and Tanner Thorson. The latter would eventually start the Saturday night main event for all the marbles from the pole. In the qualifier, the top line that Allgaier started in got jammed on the initial start and cost him two spots (from sixth to eighth). Though he would make up those two lost positions in short order, the damage was done in terms of not scoring any passing points, which affected his placement in the prelim A-Main.

In the Friday A-Main, Allgaier started 16th and drove all the way to fifth in 30 laps. “We were able to roll the bottom a lot better than most of the others in the race, and at one point I actually passed for second, went from fourth to second in one lap,” Allgaier said of his journey to the front. “But the caution came out and we had to go back to the last completed lap, which wasn’t ideal. With two laps to go, I bicycled up off the inside berm and was very close to rolling over, but I didn’t. We went from third to fifth at the finish.

“At the end of the day that was disappointing, but to run fifth in a prelim at the Chili Bowl is so difficult. It’s hard to say you were super disappointed.”

His finish on Friday set the stage for Saturday’s B-Main. In that race, Allgaier finished third behind Logan Searcy and Aaron Reutzel, punching his ticket to the 55-lap A-Main. Once in the field, Allgaier would start 15th, well back in the lineup, and that posed a difficulty.

“We were a little tight to begin with, not sure what was going on there, and we had some steering issues toward the end of the race,” Allgaier said of his run in the championship race. “I am not sure what was going on there, power-steering-wise or we bent something. Had a flat tire at one point in the A-Main and had to come in and change it.”

Allgaier crossed the line in 21st place at the end of the night, one spot ahead of Thorson and two in front of Reutzel. “You’re talking about 24 of the best drivers in the world doing what they do...just driving up on them and passing them is not something that’s easy whether you have a good car or not,” he said.

Elledge, daughter of JRM General Manager Kelley Earnhardt Miller, began the day on Saturday in the first E-Main and her weekend ended there with a 17th-place finish in her No. 08K Dave Mac Motorsports Spike. As is usual in the “alphabet soup” features on Saturday, there were more than a few incidents, and Elledge got caught in a couple of them during the event.

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XFINITY Series Standings

After Pennzoil 150

Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course | 7/4/2020
RankDriverPointsBehind
1Chase Briscoe5560
2Noah Gragson535-21
3Ross Chastain501-55
4Austin Cindric495-61
5Justin Haley451-105
6Justin Allgaier434-122
7Harrison Burton #421-135
8Brandon Jones383-173
9Michael Annett373-183