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Allgaier Adjusting Well To Life As NASCAR winner

Jeff Hood | Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Friday, April 2 2010

Justin Allgaier held off Penske Racing teammate Brad Keselowski to win at Bristol last month. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

By Jeff Hood | Senior Writer
RacinToday.com

Gladeville, Tenn. – There’s been little downtime over the past two weeks for Justin Allgaier, the newest first-time winner in NASCAR’s Nationwide Series.

Following his dramatic victory at Bristol Motor Speedway last month, the second-year driver known as “Little Gator” has been on a whirlwind schedule during the days leading up to Saturday’s Nashville 300 at Nashville Superspeedway.

“Busy is the best way to describe it,” Allgaier said. “But it’s been a lot of fun. I’m just trying to do as much as we possibly can to celebrate the win.

“The media side has been great. We enjoy doing it and I think that’s been cool with all the people that have said stuff. But I think the best thing for me is getting the text messages and the voice mails from all the people that I’ve come into contact with over the years or my peers and guys that I raced with that called. It means a lot.

“Probably the best thing that’s happened over the last couple of weeks is to see just how much support we’ve got. The fans have always been that way. It’s been busy keeping up with Twitter and Facebook and all the stuff we do.”

Allgaier was forced to hold off Penske Racing teammate Brad Keselowski during the closing laps to score his breakthrough win at Bristol.

The driver of the No. 12 Dodge hopes the same scenario plays out again on Nashville’s concrete oval, even if he’s following his teammate across the finish line this time around.

“I enjoy racing with Brad,” Allgaier said. “We’d love to finish 1-2 in the rest of the races all the way through the end of the year. And I don’t think either one of us would complain if it was 50-50 with both of us getting the same amount of victories.”

Keselowski, who is running the full Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series schedule, sees Allgaier as a valuable commodity who can help fill in some gaps while he’s busy pulling double duty.

“It’s good to have some continuity within the program,” Keselowski said. “And, certainly, having Justin as a teammate brings that.

“And it’s also nice to have a driver that’s dedicated just to that series as a teammate. There are a lot of advantages to having a consistent teammate. And I can’t think of a better one than Justin.”

Allgaier, the 2008 ARCA champion, hopes to remain his humble and grounded self, despite etching his name into the record books as a NASCAR winner.

“It’s a challenge,” Allgaier admitted. “But I think a lot of my attitude and philosophy in life comes from having great parents. They’ve always taught me whether the tide is up or the tide is down, we’re still coming in. I’m very fortunate and very blessed to be in the situation I’m in.

“We’re still enjoying what we’re doing. That was the big thing for me always: I wanted to have fun in a race car no matter what happens.

“I had to have fun. And I’m still doing that.”

– Jeff Hood can be reached at jhood@racintoday.com

Jeff Hood | Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Friday, April 2 2010
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