3rd, 3rd, 7th, 4th, 2nd.
These are the final positions in the standings for JR Motorsports driver Justin Allgaier since the playoffs were implemented for the NASCAR Xfinity Series in 2016.
Allgaier has been a mainstay in the Xfinity Series 2009, driving for Team Penske and Turner/Turner Scott Motorsports prior to his move to the Dale Earnhardt Jr.-owned staple. Allgaier has found consistency in the series with just a worst-standings finish of seventh in 2018, but no championships.
His best chance came last season at Phoenix Raceway. After leading a race-high 76 laps, late cautions scrambled pit strategies and Allgaier was beat by would-be champion Austin Cindric, who was on fresher tires. Allgaier finished fifth, coming runner-up in the championship battle.
Whenever Allgaier has been in prime position to win his first Xfinity title, there’s always another driver coming through in clutch moments to take it from him.
In 2016, it was Daniel Suárez getting the job done at Homestead-Miami Speedway to earn his lone Xfinity championship. A year later, rookie William Byron took the title. Allgaier failed to reach the Championship 4 in 2018, but earned the opportunity again in 2019 after winning the penultimate race at Phoenix. Even with the momentum, he was not a factor in the title race as it was a three-way battle between Tyler Reddick, Christopher Bell and Cole Custer. Reddick went on to win that race to earn his second-straight Xfinity championship.
While he may not see it this way, Allgaier has turned into a gatekeeper in the Xfinity Series, allowing the up-and-comers to dominate the series and win championship after championship even when he’s had great seasons.
With Phoenix being the new host of the championship race, this is the perfect window for Allgaier to finally cement his name in the Xfinity Series history books and nab that elusive title.
When it comes to Homestead, Allgaier had a rough average finish of 17.9 — definitely not optimal in a four-car, winner-take-all event.
At Phoenix, however, Allgaier has the seventh-best all-time average finish(of drivers with 10+ starts) at the 1-mile track with an 8.7 clip. The six drivers with better average finishes are all Cup Series staples such as Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick.
There’s only been three fall races where Allgaier has finished outside the top 10(2008, 2009, 2018).
By the time November rolls around, he will be a 35-year-old man. If Allgaier sees himself as a champion in the Xfinity Series, he needs to get the job done soon or continue to be the gatekeeper for the rising stars in NASCAR.