Allgaier’s second at Dover is motivation for playoffs.

Logan Whitton/NKPPhoto

By Caleb Whisler, Staff Writer

After an up and down weekend at Kentucky Speedway, a second place finish in the Use Your Melon Driver Sober 200 from Dover International Speedway was the run Justin Allgaier needed in the opening round of the Playoffs.

Last weekend at Kentucky Speedway, early problems put Allgaier in a hole that took time to come out of. Although he finished in the third position, Allgaier lost the opportunity for stage and playoff points in the race at Kentucky. Luckily, Allgaier realized the power of those points.

“I looked at last weekend and we had a great weekend, but we gave up a lot of stage points, but the advantage for us was that we had a lot of bonus points in the regular season to fall back on. It made me realize real quickly how important those were leading up to the playoffs, but trying to earn those as best as possible,” said Allgaier.

As the playoffs advance forward, Allgaier believes being able to gain playoff points like William Byron did today will be huge. Although the playoff points gained in this opening round would not come into play until the next round, Allgaier believes that drivers will be wanting as many of those playoff points as possible.

In only the second race of the playoffs under the new points structure, Allgaier has noticed the difference from the inaugural playoffs to this year. The biggest difference is how his competitors are pushing to gain those points.

“I think it’s different. Last year, I think there were more guys playing defense and being more conservative. This year you are having to push a lot harder to try to get those points and try to get those bonus points,” said Allgaier.

With his second place finish at Dover, Allgaier is working his best stretch of races of the season. Allgaier and his team were able to lock themselves into the playoffs in March with his victory at Phoenix Raceway. After that win, the No. 7 team began to experiment.

“We pushed ourselves through the summer months, but we tried a lot of stuff. We were off on strategy just trying to be different from everybody else. Sometimes it worked sometimes it didn’t,” said Allgaier.

JR Motorsports as a whole has shown speed across the board throughout the year. Although the drivers at JR Motorsports are at different stages of their career, they are constantly pushing each other and working together to make sure the organization has the chance to win each and every week.

“One of the cool things is that we all tend to run very, very evenly and we all push each other. Very rarely will you see us have an issue amongst the group of us on or off the track,” said Allgaier. “We work together so seamlessly. It’s pretty incredible. That’s one of the strengths at JR Motorsports. We are not the largest team by any means. We work really hard and work together.”

With his finish at Dover, Allgaier sits as the points leader, only 52 points ahead of Ryan Reed on the cutoff line. Allgaier wants to arrive at Homestead-Miami Speedway in the next five weeks with the chance to win a championship. Allgaier feels his team is prepared and ready for that battle.

“I don’t want to go to Homestead and not have a chance for a championship. That is the difference for me. If we go to Homestead, that is one of my best race tracks. It is one of the ones I feel most comfortable at. If we have a shot, we have the chance to win a championship. I think that is the difference maker.”

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