Allgaier Rallies in Final Two Segments to Cop 8th Place Finish in Richmond

Justin Allgaier and his #7 Hellman's/Northeastern Supply Chevrolet race team came on strong Friday night during the running of the Virginia529 College Savings 250, NASCAR Xfinity Series race and earned an 8th place finish....Justin's 12th top ten effort of the 2017 season.

Allgaier started the race in the 9th position and remained consistent throughout the first stage of the 250-lap test around Richmond International Raceway's wide, 3/4-mile, D-shaped layout. It paid off with a 10th place finish in the segment despite Allgaier complaining of losing grip through the corners. Crew Chief Jason Burdett hoped to solve that issue during the #7 Camaro's first pit stop of the day during the segment break with a 4-tire change, a full tank of fuel and a track-bar adjustment.

During the 2nd segment, Allgaier took the green flag on lap 86 in 11th place but he immediately began moving forward and found himself in 7th by lap 112. One lap later, Allgaier radioed to Burdett that the car began running a little tight through the center of the turns, but Burdett kept Justin on the track and he passed yet another car to take the 2nd segment checkers in 6th place on lap 150 for more segment points.

Allgaier again brought his race machine to pit road for an end-of-segment caution pit stop where Burdett again ordered a 4-tire change, fuel added and another track-bar adjustment to get Allgaier set for the final, 100-lap stage.

The #7 was showing in the 9th position at the start of the final segment with Allgaier seeing but unable to challenge the cars driven primarily by Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series regulars Kyle Busch and Brad Keselowski who together led 216 of the 250 laps. Allgaier, however, was still determined to push his Chevy and by lap 198 actually drove into the top five in 5th place for the first time.

The entire final stage was run without a caution, and as the final 50 laps wound down, the #7 lost a couple of position battles with Sadler first and then Christopher Bell and Justin's other JRM teammate and another rookie of the year candidate, William Byron. Allgaier did manage to stay in the top ten and took the checkered flag in 8th place and earned more segment points.

"There weren't many opportunities to make (major) adjustments tonight, but Jason (Crew Chief Burdett) and the guys made some great calls that got out car dialed in a little but more, and we were able to come with another, solid top 10," Allgaier said.

"I'm excited to head to Chicagoland next week. It's my home track, and the last race before we head into the Playoffs. Hopefully, we can keep building on this positive momentum we've had recently," he added.

Busch, the pole sitter, actually dominated most of the action, leading 182 laps. Keselowski, however, rallied to grab the lead from Busch on lap 235 and held it to the checkers for the victory. Busch was 2nd and was followed by Ty Dillon, Xfinity Series rookie of the year contender Daniel Hemric and Allgaier's JR Motorsports teammate Elliott Sadler to round out the top five.

Sadler has clinched the regular season driver point title with one race to go before the Playoffs and has his JRM teammates Byron and Allgaier right behind in 2nd and 3rd place. Byron (3) and Allgaier (1) have both won races, along with Ryan Reed, to guarantee positions in the 12-driver Playoffs. The remainder of the Playoff drivers will be determined by the finish in next week's Chicagoland race and will come from the grouping of Hemric, Brennan Poole, Cole Custer, rookie Matt Tifft, Blake Koch, JR Motorsports' Michael Annett, Brendan Gaughan, Dakota Armstrong and J.J. Yeley.

The 12 Playoff drivers will then start races needing top finishes and segment points to remain in contention with the top eight drivers in overall points after the races at Kentucky, Dover and Charlotte advancing. The eight qualifiers will then race at Kansas, Texas and Phoenix with the top four drivers in points at that juncture advancing to Homestead-Miami Speedway for the season finale and the final battle of the season with the highest finishing driver in points at the end to be crowned the 2017 NASCAR Xfinity Series champion.