By: Ashley McCubbin
At the beginning of the season, Justin Allgaier would have given anything to score consistent top-fives. Though now he has scored a top-three the past three races, the focus is on getting to victory lane.
“I think that’s the thing – as a racer, you’re always wanting more,” he told NEWS FROM THE PITS. “If you finish 40th, you want to finish 30th. If you’re fifth, you want to finish third. There’s no way to get around that – we’re all competitive in our own right.”
Allgaier knows the team is very capable of doing so, as evident by two previous wins this year and being a constant threat for the championship over the past five years. Different circumstances, and the No. 7 could have been in victory lane at Pocono Raceway. Without the damage sustained under the yellow flag, the veteran feels they had a legitimate shot.
Despite the damage, they were able to run up front throughout the event and get a third-place finish.
“Jason Burdett and our 7 team did a great job in playing the strategy right, doing what we needed to do, and keeping our track position even when we felt the balance wasn’t right,” he explained. “We were able to beat some cars that I felt were a little better at the end, and that’s what these races are all about.”
Being able to make the right decisions in these moments, combined with their recent stretch of success has Allgaier confident heading into Road America this weekend.
It’s certainly a better tune then the previously mentioned beginning of the year, where Allgaier scored four finishes outside of the top-10 to start 2021.
“Some of it is luck,” Allgaier said of the turnaround.” The definition of luck is when opportunity meets preparation and some of those we haven’t had the opportunity and been in the right place at the wrong time and things haven’t worked out. Some of them have been not being prepared. I talk about it a lot, but execution is the name of the game week in and week out and there were some races where we didn’t do that.
“I’m going to take responsibility for that. I failed as a driver. I didn’t put myself in good position and it took ourselves out of a good finish. It’s easy to do and sometimes hard to rebound from those races and pit yourself back in that rhythm of going to the race track every week and some of it putting yourself in that mental space to go to the race track and compete for a win. It’s really easy to lose. It’s difficult to win. So I think for us, at the beginning of the year we got beat up and behind.”
The other reason for the switch around is being able to start closer to the front. As Allgaier notes, the maxtrix system used for the starting line-up has resulted in them having an average of 13.3 due to the poor start to the season.
“That’s been an area / issue for me to start behind the eight ball, and make the most of it and put yourself in a bad position early and end up crashing out another one,” he explained. “Well, now your points now reflect that. it’s been a challenge, but it’s nice when things come full circle and you’re able to get back to where we’re at and have the finishes we’re having.”