BRISTOL, Tenn. — Justin Allgaier’s Friday night frustration was evident after a slugfest of a NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway. The end to his so-far-winless season was within especially close reach, but like so many times this year, that victory slipped away in heartbreak.
“This one’s going to hurt for a while,” he said after a tire issue forced his JR Motorsports No. 7 Chevrolet into the outside retaining wall with 11 laps remaining. Allgaier had led 131 of the 300 laps in the Food City 300, a near repeat of his performance at the .533-mile track in April, when he set the pace for 138 laps before a crash sidelined him.
“Just super disappointed,” said Allgaier, who wound up eighth, two laps behind race winner Tyler Reddick. “I don’t even know, there’s no words that can describe tonight.”
Allgaier had the 300-lapper nearly in hand until he suspected that a tire was losing air pressure on the frontstretch. By the time he reached Turn 1, the No. 7 Chevrolet veered into the barrier, forcing him to stop for fresh rubber a lap later.
It was another stinging instance of aggravation for Allgaier & Co., who filled their win column with five victories last season but have gone bone-dry so far in 2019. The No. 7 team has placed among the top three eight times this year, but without reaching the top step on the podium.
“Tonight’s a perfect example of how our year’s gone,” Allgaier said. “I don’t know. I don’t know what could be the difference. Hat’s off to the guys at the shop. They built a great race car. It was obvious we had a fast car. Just nothing to show for it again at Bristol.”
The No. 7 operation recovered to extend its streak of top-10 finishes to six in a row. The team is also solidly in the Xfinity Series playoff picture with a moderately comfortable grip on fourth place in the drivers’ standings. But the lack of wins has made it difficult to wedge into the power triumvirate of Reddick, Christopher Bell and Cole Custer, who have combined to win 14 of 22 races this year.
Jason Burdett, the crew chief for JRM’s No. 7 Chevrolet, said there’s no single factor that’s kept the team out of Victory Lane.
“Obviously, we felt like we had that one pretty well covered. The year has been a year of stupid stuff like this,” Burdett told NASCAR.com. “It seems like every week, we have a good week and then get a couple of good finishes strung together and then something gets us. We had a good, fast race car tonight. Unfortunately, it didn’t make it to the end.”
Burdett indicated that Friday night’s performance was of some consolation as the series moves forward to its next round, Aug. 24 at Road America.
“What else do you do? I don’t know,” Burdett said. “Everybody works really hard. You feel bad for all the guys that were working hard all week long, the guys at the shop. They deserve to get a win because we’ve been close and we’ve had opportunities. Whether we’ve messed up, not had a good enough car, or Justin’s sped on pit road … it just seems like every time we turn around, it’s something little that gets us. Tonight is nothing that anybody did wrong. We had a good car, he did a fantastic job, pit stops were great. We just came up 10 laps short.”