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February 12, 2024

Eyes on the prize: Justin Allgaier still chasing that elusive first title

Justin Allgaier looks on at Bristol.
Jared C. Tilton
Getty Images

Justin Allgaier has long been in pursuit of his maiden NASCAR Xfinity Series title. He has amassed 23 career wins and has routinely made deep playoff runs in the Xfinity Series. Not only has Allgaier qualified for the playoffs for a record eight consecutive seasons, but he also has the most Championship 4 appearances in the series. However, the cards never seem to fall his way come the title race.

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Much like Denny Hamlin, Allgaier has been on a career-long chase for his first championship.

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In ‘NASCAR: Full Speed’ Hamlin’s career title hunt shifted back into focus and will be a growing story line to keep an eye on this year after his prominent role in the Netflix series. But a spotlight should also be shined on Allgaier, whose career story mirrors Hamlin.

Last week, Allgaier talked about how he was focused more on his offseason training and acknowledged his postseason struggles.

“I’ve also done a much better job of being prepared for the year,” Allgaier said in a media teleconference. “Just physically, mentally, I feel like that’s been a big part of, you know, coming off of two years in a row now where I just feel like we’ve been kicked in the gut a little bit at the end of the year of at Phoenix and didn’t feel like it went the way that we wanted it to.”

Undoubtedly, he would like to quickly wash out the sour taste of how last year ended and respond with a hot start this year. What better place than Daytona International Speedway to start the campaign? Allgaier has notched a win and four top fives in his last five visits to Daytona. And a hot start to the season could be crucial in an Xfinity filled with talent all over the grid, where points will come at a premium all season long.

“I feel like this is the most competitive group of cars that we’ve seen in a long time,” Allgaier added. “I look down the list and I’m like, you can be first or 20th in points pretty easily. And, you know, I look at the drivers that I feel like are capable of winning races. And I’m like, man, we have 15 or 20 guys every week that I legitimately feel like have the opportunity to win races.”

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More than the championship glory, Allgaier feels winning the Xfinity Series championship would be the perfect way to repay the many people who have helped him throughout his career.

“I enjoy the trophies when they’re sitting on the mantel,” Allgaier said. “But at the same time, it’s about the people and the relationships and just the experiences I’ve had in this sport.”

Chasing that first elusive title will be difficult in a crowded field, but you can never count out Allgaier among all the unpredictability. He’s remained the only constant with so much turnover in the Xfinity Series. Only time will tell if he’s ready to reach the mountaintop.

Wach Allgaier in the Xfinity Series season opener this Saturday, Feb. 17 (5 p.m. ET, FS1, MRN Radio, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).