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In the Draft: Allgaier gets a taste of home

September 18, 2012, Justin Allgaier, Special to NASCAR.COM,

Driver tours hometown with film crew, then finishes 11th at home track

Well, I believe this is my first official blog from the road, literally. Ashley, her brother Jon, my dirt modified crew chief Kelly Kovski and I are on the road back home from Springfield, Ill. I bought an old pickup truck that I plan to restore, and the only way to get it back to Mooresville, N.C., was for me to load it up in a trailer and drive it back. Fortunately, I've had a couple of good co-pilots, so the trip has been pretty good. We should be home in about three hours.

Since we're talking about home, I actually came up to Illinois a few days early to shoot a feature for SPEED in my hometown. What a cool experience! We filmed for two full days and got to hit places like my childhood home, one of my favorite dirt tracks on the planet, my old race shop, my dad's tire store and the spot where Ashley and I first met. I don't want to give too much away, but I'll be sure and let everyone know when it's going to air. Be sure to check back here often as well as my Twitter. One of my favorite parts of the trip was introducing the producer, his crew and my PR rep to the famous "horseshoe" at lunch on the first day of shooting. This may be the best meal period, end of story. It's a thick piece of bread topped with your favorite meat (I usually get a hamburger patty), French fries and then cheese sauce. I grew up on those things. Absolutely amazing.

"We filmed for two full days and got to hit places like my childhood home, one of my favorite dirt tracks on the planet, my old race shop, my dad's tire store and the spot where Ashley and I first met."


* Video: Allgaier visits hometown favorites

After the shoot, Ashley and I made the two-and-a-half hour drive up to the speedway. We got in pretty late, but we made a stop on the way to visit some of Ashley's friends. Friday went really, really well. The BRANDT team brought me a great car, and it showed in our two practice sessions. At the end of the day, we were the fourth best in terms of consistent lap times. We were all optimistic for sure. On Friday night, I got the chance to go to the SPEED stage and spend time with Krista Voda, Rutledge Wood and Kyle Petty on Trackside LIVE. They always have so much fun, and the fans really enjoy seeing the show taped live, too.

Well, not only was the car good in race trim, it wasn't bad in qualifying either. We started the race 10th and were all itching to get to Victory Lane at our home track. We continued to race the track, as it was changing throughout the afternoon with the weather. My crew did an awesome job, too -- they have been on their game these past few weeks. Unfortunately though, I made a little contact with the No. 43 car and then the outside wall as we were racing for position toward the end of the race. The damage was really minimal, but it kind of killed our momentum, and we finished 11th.

We're just going to regroup and head back to Kentucky this weekend ready to get back at it. We finished fifth there earlier in the season, and I think we can definitely better that this week. We're bringing the same car from that race, but the conditions will definitely be different. If you don't remember, the temps were well over 100 on race day in June. When I checked this morning, they may not even reach 70 this weekend. It'll be a different ball game for sure, but we'll be ready.

Before we get to the track, I have the opportunity to tour Churchill Downs with my Turner Motorsports teammates on Thursday afternoon. This is the spot where they hold the first race of the Triple Crown, the Kentucky Derby. There's so much history at this place and I'm excited to have the chance to do this.

Well, as always, if anyone is out at the speedway this weekend, be sure and stop by. There's a Nationwide Series autograph session on Saturday morning that I'll be participating in with some fellow drivers. I'd love for you to come and say hello. Have a great week!

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.