Chicago Corner: Get to Know Justin Allgaier
From racing quarter midgets as a five-year-old to winning the STP 300 NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Chicagoland Speedway in 2011, Justin Allgaier has come a long way en route to NASCAR stardom.
The Riverton, Ill. native was dubbed “Little Gator” for his size and aggressive nature behind the wheel as he worked his way up through the motorsports ranks. By the time he was 12, he had captured five championships and over 100 wins while establishing himself as one of the premier young drivers in Illinois.
In 2003, at age 16, Allgaier debuted in the ARCA racing series and was running a full-time ARCA schedule by 2006. During his first full season in ARCA, Allgaier won a dirt-track race at the Illinois State Fairgrounds and became the first Springfield area resident to win that event in 72 years of racing at the fairgrounds.
Allgaier’s breakthrough ARCA season came in 2008, as he visited victory lane in six of his 21 starts at on his way to winning the series championship. His success generated interest from Penske Racing, and Allgaier joined the team’s developmental program for four Nationwide Series starts to close the year.
With a full-time Penske Nationwide ride in 2009, Allgaier captured three top-five and 12 top-10 finishes while finishing sixth in the point standings. Those totals were good enough to earn the 2009 NASCAR Nationwide Series Rookie of the Year award and served as a springboard to Allgaier’s first Nationwide Series win in 2010 at Bristol Motor Speedway.
Allgaier entertained the Chicagoland crowd in 2011 with a thrilling victory over Carl Edwards in the STP 300 as both drivers dealt with a lack of fuel in the closing laps. After a win at his hometown track, Allgaier did not even have enough fuel to celebrate with a customary burnout before heading to Gatorade Victory Lane.
Don’t miss your chance to watch an Illinois native, and one of the up and coming drivers on the NASCAR circuit, compete at Chicagoland Speedway twice this summer. First in the STP 300 during the Rally, Rock and Race weekend, July 19-21 and also in the Dollar General 300 Powered by Coca-Cola Sept. 14 during the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup weekend. We’ll see you at the races!
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