Will this finally be Justin Allgaier’s year?
The 36-year-old Illinois driver has filled the seat of the No. 7 JR Motorsports Chevrolet for seven seasons, including the current one. From a numerology standpoint, that’s a good omen, but omens only go so far.
Allgaier has qualified for the NASCAR Xfinity Series Championship 4 Round in four of the previous six seasons, but his best finish in the final standings is second behind series champion Austin Cindric in 2020.
This year, Allgaier enters the Playoffs third in the standings, 28 points above Jeremy Clements and Sam Mayer, who are tied for eighth. JR Motorsports has enjoyed a singularly productive season, winning 12 of the first 26 races and putting all four of its full-time drivers in the Playoffs.
But, as Allgaier points out, there are no “gimmies.”
“This is the best position I’ve ever been in,” Allgaier said during Xfinity Series Playoffs Media Day at the NASCAR Hall of Fame. “But nothing’s guaranteed… I learned a long time ago that the more and more you feel like the universe owes you something, the less and less you really succeed.
“I think, for me, we’ve put the work in. We’ve put the effort in. The definition of luck is when opportunity meets preparation. We’re more prepared in 2022 than I’ve ever been. We just need the opportunity. And if we get the right opportunity, we will go win a championship.”
Allgaier will have plenty of competition, most notably from teammate Noah Gragson, who leads the standings thanks to six victories, and from five-time winner Ty Gibbs and regular-season champion AJ Allmendinger.
“We have a great group of drivers this year for the Playoffs,” said Allgaier, who won three times during the regular season. “We just have to go execute, do our job, and if we do that, I think we’ve got a good shot.”
Allgaier enters these playoffs on the heels of 7 top 7 finishes in the last 10 races including 4 top 4’s in the last 6. He finished 4th at Texas back in the spring race and while he was only 22nd at Talladega, it’s not like he can build enough of a cushion to skate by there before going to the ROVAL to where he has a pair of top 10 finishes in his last 3 tries.