Motorsport News

Justin Allgaier Holds Down Fort for Kyle Larson, HMS with 13th-Place Showing in Coke 600

Nascar Cup Series

CONCORD, N.C. — With the job that he was given for Sunday’s (May 26) Coca-Cola 600, Justin Allgaier more than delivered.

Mother Nature did not.

In a perfect scenario, Kyle Larson would’ve run all 1,100 miles of the Memorial Day Double. But rain showers delayed the start of the Indianapolis 500, and it soon became clear that Larson would either have to leave Indy early for the 600 or miss the start of the 600 to complete Indy.

He chose the latter. Allgaier was on stand-by for Larson in Charlotte this weekend, and he got the nod to take the green flag with the NASCAR Cup Series field — it was a call that even surprised Allgaier himself.

“To be honest, I think even at like 3:00 [p.m,], I was pretty confident there was no way I was going to be driving today,” Allgaier said.

Larson qualified 10th for the 600 on Saturday (May 25), but Allgaier had to drop to the rear at the start of the race for the driver change. It was a struggle at the start of the race, as Allgaier initially hovered around 35th in the opening laps.

“I was pretty confident that I was going to be dead last after the first five laps,” Allgaier said. I mean, you talk about — it was like I was in Europe going on the wrong side of the road.”

But as the laps continued to click away, Allgaier found his groove, worked with crew chief Cliff Daniels and began logging fast laps, even unlapping himself before the end of stage one.

“Cliff Daniels did an amazing job to get me up to speed,” Allgaier said. “We were able to look at the SMT and get the car where I needed to be at, and then just balance. We worked on the balance throughout the course of the run there. To be able to unlap myself was probably the highlight of the night to be honest with you, to pass a Hendrick Motorsports teammate (William Byron), to pass Ty [Gibbs], which I have a lot of respect for on the racetrack, was really, really nice, and it just kind of helped elevate the way the race went.”

While making his way through the field, Allgaier also expressed the urgency to keep the car in one piece for when Larson showed up.

“If I crash the car, it doesn’t matter when Kyle gets here,” Allgaier said. “If I crash the car, the Double is over. The last thing I wanted for Kyle was to land in Charlotte and be like, ‘oh, by the way, we wreckered that thing into the garage, and you have nothing to get into.’ Whether it was halfway that he was going to get in it, or even…

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