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In the Draft: Allgaier celebrates his good times

July 10, 2012, Justin Allgaier, Special to NASCAR.COM,

Driver builds momentum with two top 10s and has a little fun between the races

How's it going everyone? Since I checked in last, we've had a pretty good two weeks. It's also been nice to have two full weekends at home, with the races being on Friday night in Kentucky and Daytona. We had the chance to get out on the lake as a result.

But first, let's talk racing. The first thing I'll say about Kentucky was how unbelievably hot it was. I'm sure you've all read posts on Twitter about the weather, but you can't truly understand the severity of the heat unless you were in it, although it seems the heat wave was kind of all over the country. I can't begin to count how many bottles of water and Gatorade I went through during our stay. All in all, it was a good race for us, especially getting another top-five finish. We all knew how long and hard these summer months were going to be, but if you can hit your stride as a team and build momentum, there isn't a whole lot that can derail it. Fortunately, I feel like we've been able to start building some of that much-needed momentum at just the right time.

"It's still definitely a good thing to come out of a place like Daytona with all your fenders and a seventh-place finish."


The night after we got home from Kentucky, Ashley and I took the team and their significant others out to a movie and dinner. We had an absolute blast and laughed a lot. Something Ashley and I wanted to do this year was take the time to get to know the guys and their families on a deeper level. We are all together so much between working in the shop and being on the road, but in past years, we haven't actually taken the time to truly get to know them. I think that when you take that time, you build a sense of trust, which makes the team that much stronger. [Crew chief] Jimmy [Elledge] and I have said since the beginning of the season that we have a special group here, and we're excited to see how everything unfolds as we get further into the season.

I hope you all got to enjoy your Fourth of July as much as we did. Even though we had to travel on the holiday, we still had the opportunity to celebrate. When we arrived in Daytona, we all headed to the beach, and some guys got in the water while others of us just hung out watching the waves roll in. Then we headed to dinner on the Ocean Walk before coming back to the beach to watch fireworks. There was a great display down the beach, over the water. Times like that are a great reminder of why we celebrate the Fourth and how much we have to be thankful for.

Daytona was warm, too, but you kind of expect that for Florida in July. It wasn't nearly as hot as Kentucky though, that's for sure. We had another solid effort on Friday night in the BRANDT Chevy. Qualifying didn't exactly turn out how I had hoped it would, but then again, at Daytona, it really isn't as important as it is at some of the other tracks we go to. We had kind of decided to hang out and log some laps through the beginning part of the race to see what the car was going to do and who would be around at the end for us to work with. With about 10 laps to go, I got hooked up with my old teammate Sam Hornish Jr., and we clicked together really well. He had a car that was a good pusher, and I thought we were going to be the pair to beat coming to the checkers. Unfortunately, we got separated after the final flag waved for the green-white-checkered finish. It's still definitely a good thing to come out of a place like Daytona with all your fenders and a seventh-place finish.

We took advantage of the sunny, summer weather and took the boat out on Sunday when we got back from Daytona. We had some friends and brought a tube along as well. Everyone had a good time on that thing, and they probably got a few bumps and bruises to go with it. It's weird, I got sun burned on one arm but not on the other, and it looks pretty funny. I must have been standing in just the right place for that.

This week we're busy getting ready to go to New Hampshire. While tracks like the "Magic Mile" aren't exactly my favorite, I seem to do pretty well on them. I have some decent stats there, and like I said earlier, I really want to keep this momentum going. Also, Jimmy's birthday is Saturday, and it'd be great to give him a one-of-a-kind present, like a trip to Victory Lane. I'm pretty sure he'd remember that for a long time.

Well, I hope everyone has an awesome week, and maybe we'll be able to see some of you out at the track this weekend. Thanks for checking in with me this week. 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.