Justin Allgaier will not compete for the Xfinity Series championship after winning a career-high five races and the regular-season championship.
Allgaier was one of the four drivers eliminated after Saturday afternoon’s race at ISM Raceway. After sustaining damage to his right front and right side when John Hunter Nemechek slid sideways across the track and hit him on lap 145, he faded to a 24th-place finish when the No. 7 Chevrolet burned out its brakes.
It was a harsh turn after everything seemed to go his way early in the day, when he won the first two stages of the Whelen 200 and led 69 laps.
“Disappointment,” Allgaier said of his emotions. “At the end of the day, we did everything right this year. We had a great season. Today we did everything right at the beginning of the race, and that was probably the most frustrating part is we led a lot of laps, we won both stages, all things considered, it was going to be a great day.
“Ultimately there at the end, getting ourselves in a bad position and getting caught up in that little bit of a crash and losing brakes. At that point it was survival and gain as many points as we gain because we knew that we still have fifth, I guess, on the line next week at Homestead, so, try to gain as many points as we can so we can go there and try to get the best points position we can get.”
Allgaier said it didn’t make sense that the collision with Nemechek would have caused his brake issues, so his team will have dissect everything.
This is the first time Allgaier has not been eligible for the championship in Miami. He finished third in points the last two seasons. His five wins are second most in the series.
“We still won five races this year, and I’m not going to be disappointed in that,” Allgaier said. “My goal is to go make it six, but it is disappointing. But on the flip side of it, we’ve had a great season, and this 7 team deserves to be in that final four. We’ve done everything right. We just haven’t done everything right in the playoffs, and that’s disappointing for those guys.”