AVONDALE, Ariz. — Justin Allgaier has spent 13 seasons in the NASCAR Xfinity Series and is still looking for that first championship. He knows a little luck with a lot of experience will hopefully make 13 a lucky number on Saturday night.
Allgaier knows that he is fortunate to be in this situation again as he said during media day. He made it in after Ty Gibbs intentionally crashed Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Brandon Jones for the win.
“We knew we weren’t even in the final four until the last corner of the last lap at Martinsville,” Allgaier said. “These Playoffs are different every time we’re in them. The Championship 4 is always different as well. I’m just excited to have a chance at it.”
But as different as each Championship 4 is, Allgaier said this one has a much different feel.
“Obviously the aggressiveness has been at an all-time high,” Allgaier said.
He knows that you may have to do something you don’t want to do on the track and he’s seen a lot of moves this year by other drivers that have been questioned by the sanctioning body, the fans and other drivers.
“This situation forces you to do things that you may not be proud of, but in the end we have given it our all,” Allgaier added. “We’ve put our blood, sweat and tears into this, and when we go into Daytona in the spring, our only thought is to make the final four.
“It really is a big deal for us, just to be here.”
He may say he’s just excited to have a shot at it, but the humble persona certainly hides a desire to bring home the championship to JR Motorsports. They’ve backed Allgaier for many years now, and he knows what bringing that title to Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kelly Earnhardt Miller and everyone at JR Motorsports would mean.
Allgaier talked about JR Motorsports and what it means to him and his career. With a lot of young drivers, Allgaier is the wily old veteran at JRM, but he says the reason this team works is because of “the family atmosphere.”
“There is this allure of people wanting to be there. People enjoy their jobs and want to be there,” Allgaier said. “They know they’re going to have successful race cars on the track, but on the other side of it, the personal touch, you’re a part of our family.
“That is something special to have. We’ve built a lot of camaraderie here.”
And even though there is a close family tie at JRM, families are extremely competitive. With three of the four drivers in the championship hunt, Allgaier knows he may have to ruffle a few feathers on Saturday night.
Being a part of the Championship 4 is special for Allgaier; he knows what it’s like to miss it.
“Last year, we were the first ones out, and rolling into Phoenix last year not being a part of the championship battle really left an empty feeling in my stomach,” he said.
“It’s so hard to make it here, and knowing the swing of emotions from last year, to last week and the up and down of being in and out all race, is tough to deal with, so missing last year put a fire in me to not want to come back here again and not be a part of it again.
“I’m just so proud of this team and all the work they put into this season. No matter the outcome, it’s not going to define the season that we’ve had, it’s not going to define the camaraderie that we have.”
Saturday’s Xfinity Series Championship race is scheduled for 6 p.m. ET on USA Network.