News & Media

In the Draft: Allgaier gets 'oh-so-close' to first win

August 07, 2012, Justin Allgaier, Special to NASCAR.COM,

What's up everyone? We've continued to roll here on the BRANDT team through the end of July and into August. Even as busy as things were for us at Chicagoland, it continued into Indianapolis and Iowa. Busyness isn't a bad thing though. It keeps me on my toes.

We were all really excited to get to Indy for the Nationwide Series' first race at the Brickyard. To add to the excitement, we had a new paint scheme on a brand new chassis for the Indianapolis 250. BRANDT partner Precision Tank & Equipment (PT&E) was on the hood of the No. 31, and we actually got a lot of compliments on the new scheme, which was cool.

"That first trip to Victory Lane has to be just around the corner for us."


After making a handful of appearances on Saturday, including three suites full of BRANDT and PT&E folks, we finally got down to race time. Unfortunately, the race didn't quite end up how we hoped it would. My guys worked hard all day, and when we got the car parked after the race, we realized the splitter had been damaged at some point during the race. It really affected the way the car handled. Bummer.

After the race, I quickly got ready and headed up to Springfield, Ill. While we were racing, one of the biggest BRANDT events of the summer was going on -- the annual BRANDT barbecue. I wanted to try and get up there for as much of it as I could to celebrate with all of those folks and just let them know how much I appreciate them. We had a great time, and the party rolled on well into the night.

Last week was really great for a number of different reasons. For the first time in I don't know how long, I had four full days at home with Ashley before we headed out on the road again. Even though we didn't technically score a top-10 in Indy, we still did team lunch on Monday. Regardless of what happens, I just want to make sure the guys know how much I appreciate them and the work they do. On Tuesday, we got to head out to Summer Shootout at Charlotte Motor Speedway to watch Sierra Brandt, BRANDT CEO Rick Brandt's daughter, race her bandolero again. She continues to get better every week, which makes me super proud. She notched her best finish of the season last week, a fourth-place result. We'll be back at it again Tuesday night and hoping to improve that once again.

We had a really good weekend at Iowa and came oh-so-close to getting our first win of the season. The guys worked really hard on our car. It's one that we've used at many of the short tracks throughout the season (Phoenix, Richmond, and Iowa) and Jimmy [Elledge, crew chief] was convinced it had a little more in it than we've gotten at past races.

Both practices were pretty good on Friday afternoon, especially the last one. Then the rains came. No one was quite sure how that would affect things, especially with a green race track, but I know everyone was appreciative of the cooler temperatures. We qualified well also, one of my highest spots of the season. This certainly gave me and the rest of the team some confidence going into the race.

Man, talk about heartbreak. We quite literally had almost the perfect race. Jimmy had to make only slight adjustments on the car all night, and I can't say enough about the pit crew. They were absolutely spot-on all night. If we lost any spots, it was because of differing tire strategies. It was so frustrating for me in those closing laps because I could see Elliott [Sadler] getting closer and closer, but I just couldn't quite catch him. While it was hard to walk out of there knowing we were so close to the win, the finish certainly gives me and the rest of the team a shot of confidence going forward. That first trip to Victory Lane has to be just around the corner for us.

Next up is Watkins Glen. While road courses definitely aren't my forte, I still learn something every time I go to one. I have all the faith in the world in Jimmy and his ability to call a road-course race from the pit box. Plus, the scenery up there in the Finger Lakes region of New York is absolutely beautiful. More often than not, the weather is a bit cooler than what we've been in the past few weeks. A welcome change to be sure.

I hope everyone has a great week. Thanks so much for checking in with me!

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.