Death and taxes are iffy compared to the consistency of Justin Allgaier in the NASCAR Xfinity Series. The man cashes more top-10 checks than a bank on payday and is always in the hunt for the championship.
For all his success in 12 full-time seasons, however, Allgaier has yet to capture the title. If he falls short of the Championship 4 and another crack at the crown this fall, he might look back on Saturday as a missed opportunity for crucial points.
Justin Allgaier is in the midst of a tough points battle
The NASCAR Xfinity Series is a mix of young drivers seeking to get to the Cup Series and veterans making a decent living in the second tier. As such, the depth is impressive. But that’s especially true this season.
With four races left in the regular season, NASCAR veteran AJ Allmendinger has opened a 61-point lead over Ty Gibbs in the standings. Justin Allgaier, Noah Gragson, and Josh Berry are all close enough to challenge Gibbs.
Twelve drivers make the playoffs, and the remaining seven currently above the cut line are all top-notch drivers as well, from NASCAR veteran Landon Cassill to defending champion Daniel Hemric to 19-year-old Sam Mayer.
Behind them are perhaps half a dozen others who easily could win a race and snare a playoff spot. Every point earned in a race can translate to playoff points. Given the number of legitimate contenders, every point will matter in the transfers to the field of eight survivors and then the Championship 4.
Watkins Glen was a missed opportunity
Justin Allgaier had to go to the back of the field for the start of Saturday’s Xfinity Series race at Watkins Glen because of unapproved adjustments to the No. 7 Chevy after qualifying.
In a matter of four laps, the 36-year-old from Spaulding, Illinois, worked his way up to 20th place. But Jeremy Clements’ Chevy got loose while working through the esses, and Allgaier overcorrected to the outside behind him. He slid nose-first into a guard rail between Turns 3 and 4, inflicting too much damage to continue.
It would prove to be costly. The JR Motorsports standout started the day second in points, 19 behind AJ Allmendinger and nine ahead of Ty Gibbs. Allmendinger finished second to Kyle Larson to pick up 52 points to just one for Allgaier. Even worse, Gibbs slid himself out of contention for the win with five laps to go, but he still finished 27th and scored 25 points.
As a result, Gibbs starts the final month of the regular season nine points ahead of Allgaier.
Justin Allgaier now owns a triple crown he won’t be bragging about
In 11 years of Xfinity Series racing, Justin Allgaier has finished second in the standings once and third three times. He has never placed lower than seventh, and his resume includes 19 victories and 234 top-10 results.
On Saturday at Watkins Glen, he did something he’d never done in the series by finishing last for the first time in 394 starts. So many things out of a driver’s control can go wrong, so making that many appearances without being the first man out is an achievement.
Unfortunately for Allgaier, it completed an unhappy triple crown. According to LastCar.info, he is the 40th driver in NASCAR history to have finished last in a race in each of the three national series.
Previously, he was the first truck series driver out at Kansas (won by Todd Bodine) on July 2, 2005, and the last-place finisher in the Cup Series’ Coca-Cola 600 (Carl Edwards) at Charlotte on May 24, 2015.
With four regular-season races left and the standings tight, Allgaier has to hope he’s seen the last of last place.
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