Justin Allgaier 2013 year in review
December 11, 2013, Holly Cain, NASCAR.com
This is the second in a series of 2013 NASCAR Nationwide Series driver recaps that will be featured on NASCAR.com.
He was the only full-time series driver without a single DNF and had six top-five finishes in the Turner Scott Motorsports No. 31 BRANDTChevrolet, including runner-ups at the tough Elkhart Lake, Wisc. road course and tricky Phoenix one-miler.
Allgaier ranked among the top five in points for all but four weeks in the 33-week schedule and led the points standings early.
The season felt good, performance was high if not exceptional and heck, the series champ Austin Dillon didn’t win a race either. But still the Nationwide Series 2009 Rookie of the Year Allgaier had higher hopes.
And higher even, for next year.
“The beginning of the year was absolutely amazing,’’ Allgaier said, smiling. “To come out of Daytona with a new crew chief, new car and to have new crew members all the newness and still come out of the box strong and take the points lead, I thought that was amazing.
“Then the summer months we really struggled. We had the deal at Indy, didn’t even take the green. Had an electrical issue. Wrecked at Richmond. Just poor finishes, where races didn’t go our way. It seemed like the summer months were tough.
“But,’’ he added, “These last few races throughout the year, I feel like we rallied behind these long stretches and put ourselves in position. We kinda chugged along and did our normal deal and made up a lot of points. I’m very proud that in all my years in Nationwide Series (I've) never been out of the top six in points and that gives me some confidence going forward.’’
The Sprint Cup garage is taking note and showing that confidence in Allgaier as well. This year he made his Cup debut in four starts for team co-owner Harry Scott. His best finish was 24th at Talladega in October, but the taste of Cup action has Allgaier optimistic about his potential there.
It was especially beneficial to have the extra seat time that a double-header weekend affords and it made Allgaier feel better prepared in the Nationwide car while showing his ability to adapt to the Gen-6 Cup cars as well.
“I think the results proved themselves,’’ Allgaier said. “When I was in the Cup car and came back to Nationwide, I really was able to figure some things out. That was cool, but to have the opportunity to get in Cup car and be a part of that series was huge. If that opportunity presented itself next year, I’d love that.
“The Cup Series car and style definitely suits my driving style more than the Nationwide.
“If I’m in a Cup car fulltime, the goals and expectations are different next year than if I’m in Nationwide, where I definitely feel like we could contend for the championship.’’
The possibility of having that opportunity feels like a victory in itself.
“The offseason for me is super busy,’’ Allgaier said with a grin. “There’s a lot of stuff going on, but that’s not a bad thing. Sometimes if you’re twiddling your thumbs you’re wondering what’s going to happen.
“I’m looking forward to getting to Daytona and getting the season started.”