Last Lap Pass Puts Allgaier in Victory Lane at Talladega
Justin Allgaier, in the family-owned Hoosier Tire Midwest-AG Tech Dodge, surfaced just in time to wrestle the lead away from Joey Logano Friday afternoon at Talladega Superspeedway to win the thrilling, action-packed ARCA RE/MAX 250.
Allgaier, with no drafting help, drove to the outside of Logano down the backstretch on the last lap, bounced off the former leader and sailed away to earn the biggest victory of his career. The Springfield, Illinois driver, after being stuck in the back most of the afternoon, led just one lap.
"Penske gave me an engine for this race; this is the first time I've ever been in a Dodge," said Allgaier, who just signed with Penske Racing to race in the NASCAR Nationwide Series. "We fought hard today. Brian Scott blew a tire and when that happened something went through the radiator. I was a little nervous because at some point we didn't have any water pressure. My crew chief Jim Pohlman talked me through it. You come to a place like Talladega and the chances of winning are kind of up to what everyone else does so we put it in God's hands."
Allgaier battled from the tail-end all day after making several stops on pit road to repair front-end damage caused from a multi-car wreck in turns one and two, one of several pile-ups that left several machines badly damaged or destroyed. There were no injuries.
With darkness falling down on the 2.66-mile superspeedway, Allgaier maneuvered his way from 10th to first inside of 10 laps from the finish to earn his seventh career series victory. Allgaier, who started 25th, also earned the Casite Hard Charger award.
Logano, who led 15 laps in the Interstate Batteries-Venturini Motorsports Chevrolet, had to settle for second one length away.
"I don't know; I did everything I could do; I just got beat," said Logano. "He just schooled me. I learned a lot and I will do things different next time. That was a lot of hard work a lot of hard hours by all those guys. I'm just mad that I didn't live up to it for them."
Bobby Gerhart, in his own Lucas Oil Chevrolet, battled back from several unscheduled pit stops to cure his ill-handling car to finish third. In doing so, Gerhart's brother and crew chief Billy Gerhart was the Cometic Crew Chief of the Race.
"It was certainly pretty wild," said Gerhart. "I honestly don't remember much of it except for the last corner. I don't think the car that was leading the race was as fast as the cars running second through fifth and whenever that happens you're going to have a little bit of excitement. We got pushed down into the wall and ended up third so that's just the way it goes."
Jeremy Clements finished fourth in the Boudreaux's Butt Paste Chevrolet with Patrick Sheltra trailing in fifth in the Quality Turf-Casite Chevrolet.
Sheltra, looking for his career-first victory, lost a heartbreaker when the Indiantown, Florida driver gave up the lead to Logano just two laps shy of the finish.
In addition to the typical Talladega multi-car wrecks, the race also had major championship implications for point leader Scott Speed and runner-up driver Ricky Stenhouse, Jr., both of whom were involved in separate wrecks. Both, after spending several laps behind the wall in repair, returned to competition several laps down. Speed was ultimately credited with the 23rd finishing position while Stenhouse was 28th.
That also takes the title chase to Toledo Speedway next Sunday, October 12th where Speed, Stenhouse, Allgaier, Frank Kimmel and Matt Carter will all have a shot at the championship.
Kimmel finished sixth in front of John Wes Townley, who finished seventh in the Zaxby's Ford. Townley also earned the SunTrust Highest Finishing Rookie of the Race honors.
Mark Thompson finished eighth in the Phoenix Air-BeavEx-Byus Ford. Chrissy Wallace, in her second career series start, finished ninth in the Germain Racing Toyota. Carter finished 10th in the Stine Seed-Piggly Wiggly-NuSouth Lemonade Ford.
Tom Hessert III led at the onset from his outside front row starting position and paced the field for 51 laps, earning the Aaron's Lap Leader and Klotz Halfway Leader awards. However, Hessert, while racing back to the front after pitting for fuel, got caught up in one of the aforementioned wrecks and was relegated to the 27th finishing position.
John Jackson, in Mario Gosselin's Chevrolet, also led 25 laps before he too got caught up in a wreck.
James Buescher earned the SIM Factory Pole award but fell out 59 laps shy of the finish with transmission failure. Eddie Mercer posted the Accel Fastest Lap of the Race.
The ARCA RE/MAX 250 at Talladega Superspeedway determined the 2008 Bill France Triple Crown and the Hoosier Tire Superspeedway Challenge Championships, with Kimmel earning his sixth career Triple Crown title and Eddie Sharp earning his career first Superspeedway Challenge Championship. Both awards will be formally presented at the ARCA RE/MAX Series Championship Awards Banquet at the Northern Kentucky Convention Center in Covington, Kentucky in December.
The ARCA Lincoln Welders Truck Series will join the ARCA RE/MAX Series at Toledo Speedway next weekend for ARCA Championship Weekend. The 200 lap Hantz Group 200 presented by Belle Tire and Federated Car Care marks the 21st and final race of the 2008 ARCA RE/MAX Series season and is LIVE on SPEED at 2:00 PM ET Sunday, October 12th.
Unofficial Top-10 ARCA RE/MAX Series Points after The ARCA RE/MAX 250 at Talladega Superspeedway (10-3-08); 1) Scott Speed 4885; 2) Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. 4800; 3) Justin Allgaier 4780; 4) Frank Kimmel 4740; 5) Matt Carter 4700; 6) Patrick Sheltra 4120; 7) John Wes Townley 4090; 8) Tom Hessert 4005; 9) Tayler Malsam 3970; 10) Dexter Bean 3900.