Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidate hits ‘reset button,’ focuses on Coca-Cola 600
CONCORD, N.C. — Crashes at Talladega and Kansas in recent weeks have taken their toll on HScott Motorsports and led to the team’s decision to not participate in this weekend’s Sprint Showdown on Friday at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Driver Justin Allgaier, on hand Tuesday at Charlotte Motor Speedway as the seven members of this year’s Sunoco Rookie of the Year class met with the media, said his team would instead focus on next week’s Coca-Cola 600.
“For us, being a small independent team, obviously points races are our focus,” he said.
Missing the track time, a 95-minute practice as well as the 40-lap Showdown, shouldn’t be a big issue for the team, Allgaier said, since there will be ample track time next week as teams prepare for the Coca-Cola 600.
“But at the same time, it’s like this week there’s a lot higher risk of damage and getting something torn up,” Allgaier, 27, said. “I think this is the best move we can make as a company — hit the reset button and refocus on next week. Obviously, points racing is where we are looking at the most.”
Allgaier is 29th in points through the first 11 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races, with a best finish of 17th at Bristol. Although he ran well in the most recent Cup races — at Talladega and Kansas — he was involved in crashes in both events.
HScott is a single-car team. It purchases cars and engines from Hendrick Motorsports.
“We had a lot of really good things come out of Kansas,” Allgaier said. “I felt like the car was fast … it showed promise. And that’s what we need to accomplish when we come back next week. We don’t feel like (skipping the Showdown) will be a huge hindrance for us.
“The Showdown is 40 laps total, right? And you get only an hour and a half practice. Really the time that we’re missing out on out on track — it’s significant, don’t get me wrong — but the bulk of our practice is going to come next week before the 600 anyway.”
And that practice should come under conditions much closer to what drivers will face in the 600.
“We talk about that all the time — this is the track that changes the most with the heat and temperature and shade,” he said. “For us getting practice the week we’re actually going to race is probably is more important.
“It wasn’t that we weren’t ready or didn’t have the equipment to come here; we just wanted to make sure we focused on the races that were most important. And five or six, or 10 weeks from now … we’re not in a scramble trying to fix wrecked race cars.”
The Sprint Showdown, scheduled for Friday night at Charlotte, is a 40-lap race open to drivers that have not won in either 2013 or through the first 11 races of 2014, who are not past series champions or past winners of the All-Star Race.
The winner and runner-up from the Showdown advance into Saturday night’s NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race, as well as one driver chosen by fan vote.