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Allgaier Returns To Scene Of A Big NNS Victory

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Friday, July 20 2012

A year ago, Justin Allgaier got to pay a visit to Victory Lane at Chicagoland Speedway. He would love to pay another visit this weekend. (RacinToday/HHP file photo by Gregg Ellman)

By Jeff Hood | Senior Writer

JOLIET, Ill. – Justin Allgaier’s second career victory in the Nationwide Series came in spectacular fashion here during last season’s STP 400 at Chicagoland Speedway when the Riverton, Illinois native streaked past Carl Edwards on the final lap after Edwards No. 60 Ford ran out of fuel with the checkered flag in sight.

“To win it the way we did, it was an unbelievable day,” said Allgaier, the defending champion of Sunday’s STP 300. “And then a couple of weeks later, we ran out of gas at Road America (while leading) and didn’t win.

“I think (sponsor) Brandt had 150 people here that day and I just kind of randomly told them ‘Hey, if we win this race tonight you’re all coming to victory lane to celebrate with us right?’ And sure enough they did.

“It was a great win for me, don’t get me wrong. But to see the emotions of everybody else and to see the way they celebrated in victory lane is something I’ll never forget.”

Mention a 1.5-mile oval to a NASCAR fan and many are quick to label it a “cookie-cutter” facility.

But that’s not necessarily the case with Chicagoland Speedway.

Chicagoland Speedway is not your basic cookie-cutter. (File photo by Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Nestled in the southern suburb of Chicago and alongside several fields of corn, it all starts with mastering the unique curve on the backstretch of the track set to host a NASCAR/ARCA tripleheader this weekend.

“Everybody talks abut the mile-and-half tracks all being the same, D-shapes and long sweeping corners,” said veteran driver Todd Bodine, who will make his 200th start in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series American Ethanol 225 Saturday night.

“In that respect, they are (the same), but in just about every aspect they are different. Every race track has its own personality, its own bumps, its own quirks, its own spots on the track that you get tight or you get loose. And Chicago is no different.

“Every one of the 1.5-mile tracks has something that makes them unique. And that’s probably one reason, as a driver, that we don’t get tired of them.”

Red Horse Racing’s Tom DeLoach has quietly become one of the most successful team owners in the Camping World Truck Series garage.

Founded in 2005, his organization claimed its third win of the season Saturday night when Timothy Peters drove the No. 17 Toyota to victory at Iowa Speedway.

DeLoach’s other victories this year were scored at Dover by Bodine and in the season-opening event at Daytona by John King.

Series points leader Peters may just be on the cusp of handing DeLoach the ultimate prize: a NASCAR championship.

“I’ve learned a lot about character from Tom,” said Peters, who announced on Friday that he learned earlier this week his wife is expecting a baby boy. “He is definitely successful, but he’s humble about it. He cares about his race team and he cares about people.

DeLoach, a native of Statesboro, Ga., has succeeded in the series despite being unable to secure major corporate sponsorship.

“To say that we’ve been underfunded all year is an understatement,” Bodine said. “But Tom has stepped up to make sure our teams have everything we they need every single week to go out and be competitive and win races.

“And that kind of commitment you just don’t find this day and age.”

A former driver for Penske Racing in the Nationwide Series, Allgaier was delighted to learn earlier this week that 18-year-old Ryan Blaney had landed a part-time ride with his former team in NASCAR’s junior circuit.

“I saw the breaking news on Twitter and sent him a congratulatory tweet,” Allgaier said. “Obviously, he’s going to be in great equipment over there.

“I’m a little disappointed because I don’t want to have to race against him in that equipment. But he’s going to do a great job and is one of the guys I see in the future that is going to be a Cup race winner and champion.”

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

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Friday, July 20 2012
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