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In the Draft: Allgaier looking to close year strong at Homestead

November 13, 2012, Justin Allgaier, Special to NASCAR.COM, NASCAR.com

No. 31 team is gunning to finish season in the top-five of the NNS standings

Hey everyone! I cannot believe that we are heading into the final race weekend of the year. I mean, where has the time gone? For us on the BRANDT team, it's definitely been a year filled with a lot of highs, a few disappointments, but lots of fun.

We currently have a challenge in front of us heading into the season finale this weekend in Homestead. We are sitting sixth in the standings but really want to get back up into the top-five before it's all over. After gaining nine points in Texas two weeks ago, we lost a couple over the past weekend in Phoenix and we're now seven points back heading into Homestead. I truly believe though, that we can make that up and finish out the season in the top-five.

I had a really great time out in Phoenix. To start the weekend off, I got invited to the Bondurant School of High Performance Driving in Chandler, Ariz. on behalf of Chevy. It was such a blast!

There were some media members and representatives from Chevy along with some of my fellow Chevy drivers in attendance. To start the day out, we took some go-karts out on a course, followed by a team slalom event that had everyone in a brand new Camaro, weaving in and out of cones. After that challenge, Juan Pablo Montoya showed off some of his drifting skills in a Camaro on the go-kart course. Man, he is good at that.

Finally, the day ended with the drivers giving rides to guests on the Bondurant road course in Corvettes. I'm pretty sure I was there for about six hours, but the day just went by so fast. It really is true what they say, time flies when you're having fun!

This weekend really didn't turn out as we had hoped it would on track. We learned a lot in the two practice sessions on Friday, but really felt confident after the second one. Unfortunately, we just couldn't quite hit on the set-up during the race though.

I struggled with a tight-handling car, and it seemed no matter what the guys did, we couldn't find the sweet spot. We've got one more race to make it happen though, and I'm confident in Jimmy (Elledge, crew chief) and my team.

This is actually going to be a pretty busy week for me. On Thursday, I get the chance to go to a local school in the Homestead-Miami area on behalf of Nutrients for Life, one of BRANDT's partners. I will talk to a group of FFA students, another organization that we have partnered with this season. That afternoon, as a part of my final "All Access" video on NASCAR.com, I get to take an airboat ride in the Everglades and visit an alligator farm. I mean, how cool is that? Lil Gator visiting the real gators. I'm pumped.

We also have WinField back on the No. 31 Chevy this weekend, the same great folks that were on our car in Texas. Just like that weekend, they'll have a bunch of guests at the race track which will be a lot of fun. BRANDT has entertained over 3,000 people this year and I've had a great time getting to meet them each weekend in the suites and chalets.

This has the potential to be a really great weekend for us at Turner Motorsports. I know I'll be at the Truck race on Friday night, cheering on my teammate James Buescher as he tries to bring home his first Truck Series championship. That No. 31 team has been amazing all season and I'd love nothing more than to see them get the ultimate prize on Friday night, being rewarded for that hard work.

Well, I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday season! I appreciate you all checking in with me throughout the season. I hope it's been as enjoyable for you as it has been for me. Don't forget to head over to NASCAR.com/nnsmpd and cast your vote for the NNS Most Popular Driver. There are still a few more days to cast your vote. It ends on November 16. 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.