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In the Draft: Busted at blackjack and brackets

March 20, 2012, Justin Allgaier, Special to NASCAR.COM, NASCAR.com

Justin Allgaier hung with the leaders all day at Bristol and finished seventh -- a season high. (Autostock)

While hoops and cards not going Allgaier's way, on track things look promising

What's up everyone? I hope you have all had a good couple of weeks. We sure have here on the No. 31 team. Las Vegas was pretty good for us. We picked up our first top-10 of the season which was really encouraging for my guys. While the blackjack table may not have been as kind to me as I would have liked, I had a good time in Vegas, getting to see a show with Ashley and having the opportunity to meet some really great folks from BRANDT at a dinner on Friday night before the race. Besides the racing on the track every weekend, I truly enjoy the relationship side of it all and getting to sit down and talk with these folks that make BRANDT the awesome company it is. Without them, I wouldn't be able to do what I love each week.

"While the blackjack table may not have been as kind to me as I would have liked, I had a good time in Vegas."

--JUSTIN ALLGAIER

While we all had a good time out west, it sure was nice to get home to Mooresville, N.C., and get my mind set on going from the longer mile-and-a-half track to the shorter, bump-and-bang track of Bristol. It is one of my favorite tracks on the circuit and I couldn't wait to get there. Ashley and I actually road tripped in our motor home and let me tell you, if there's one thing that takes more patience than 300 laps at Bristol, it's parking that thing in the lot next to the track. I nearly took off my neighbors mirrors in the process, but after a few "Austin Powers-like" three-point turns, I got the task accomplished. Ashley and I both had family in town as well and so we had a good time grilling out with them before getting on the track Friday. Jimmy [Elledge, crew chief] and my guys brought a really great car for me and we discovered that it would be really solid on long runs after the second practice. Fortunately the race had a few of those so we managed to stay in the top 10 most of the afternoon. It got a little dicey for me there at the end, but we notched another top-10 and kept that momentum of good finishes going.

I'm actually pretty excited for our final trip to the West coast this spring. I'm heading out a little early to check out the Globe headquarters in Los Angeles. They are the folks that make the shoes that I wear all the time. If any of you have seen me at the track or out at an appearance, more likely than not, I have on my bright red kicks -- obviously a nod to my sponsor and their love of all things red and because they just look cool! I even got all my guys a pair of Globe shoes when we started the year in Daytona.

How are everyone's NCAA brackets doing so far? I pretty much had to tear mine up on Friday night after Missouri lost. I had them going to the Final Four along with Kentucky, Syracuse and North Carolina. I still think that Kentucky is the strongest team, but North Carolina could give them a run for their money. I think Ohio State has the chance to make a run for it as well, but we'll see. That's all part of the fun, right?

It's kind of hard to believe that after this weekend, we'll be five races in to the season. Then we've got two off weekends ahead of that. I've really been anxious to get back to the go kart track at Millbridge Speedway up near Salisbury, N.C., with Jimmy and the guys. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to do that yet because of my travel schedule, but I'm hopeful I can make it up there after we get back from California. If anyone is looking for some fun on a Wednesday night, you should make your way up there and maybe you'll get to see Jimmy get behind the wheel of a go kart. It's certainly a lot of fun.

Well, thanks for checking in with me. I hope everyone has a good week and I look forward to seeing some of you out in California this weekend! Take care!

In the Draft with Justin Allgaier is a twice-monthly blog and the opinions expressed are solely those of the writer. Follow him and the No. 31 BRANDT Racing team on Twitter: @J_Allgaier, @BrandtRacing or @No31TurnerNNS.

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