JR Motorsports’ three NASCAR Xfinity Collection championships got here with drivers aged 22 or youthful. Can 35-year-old Justin Allgaier change that development?
Justin Allgaier enters the 2021 NASCAR Xfinity Collection playoffs in third place within the championship standings, 24 factors behind Austin Cindric and A.J. Allmendinger for the lead, and 15 factors forward of the spherical of 8 minimize line.
The motive force of the #7 Chevrolet for JR Motorsports has some momentum getting into the postseason, with prime 10 finishes in 11 of the final 13 races, together with prime 5 finishes in eight of these occasions. Nevertheless, his most up-to-date win got here again in early Could at Darlington Raceway.
Allgaier will make historical past for JRM if he can win his first profession title this season. The group have had no less than one driver aged 30 or older end within the prime 4 in factors in seven of the final eight seasons, together with Allgaier, however none of these drivers received a title.
JRM’s three championships got here with drivers aged 22 or youthful: Chase Elliott in 2014 (18), William Byron in 2017 (19) and Tyler Reddick in 2018 (22).
For the veterans, Regan Smith completed in third place in factors in 2013, second in 2014 and fourth in 2015; he was between 30 and 32 years previous throughout that span (on the finish of the season).
The playoff format was launched to the Xfinity Collection in 2016, a 12 months that noticed Allgaier substitute Smith within the #7 Chevrolet and Elliott Sadler be a part of the group. Sadler completed in second place in factors in each 2016 and 2017 earlier than ending in fifth in his last full season in 2018. He was between 41 and 43 years previous throughout that span (on the finish of the season).
Allgaier joined the group as a 30-year-old and completed in third place in factors in each 2016 and 2017. He completed in seventh in 2018, fourth in 2019 and second final 12 months. He’s now 35 years previous.
Allgaier and Sadler mixed to make six Championship 4 appearances with a median age of 35. The common age of the entire different drivers in a mixed 14 Championship 4 appearances is 23. Since 2016, the champion’s common age is 22.
Whereas JRM’s veterans have contended for championships, it’s the younger drivers who’re nonetheless undefeated. Can Allgaier change that?
Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Talladega Superspeedway and the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval are the scheduled races for the opening spherical of 12.
Allgaier has finishes of second, fifth and fourth place within the three fall races at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, courting again to 2018. He has 5 prime 5 finishes, seven prime 10 finishes, one DNF and a median end of 8.9 in 9 races on the monitor since 2016.
He completed in second, eighth and third place in his first three begins at Talladega Superspeedway with JRM, however he has a DNF in three of his final 4 races there, with a finest end of twenty eighth.
He has finishes of fifteenth, fourth and twenty third place on the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval. So the playoff opener at Las Vegas Motor Speedway may give him his finest probability to drag away from the minimize line or win his approach into the spherical of 8.
The spherical of 8 is scheduled to incorporate races at Texas Motor Speedway, Kansas Speedway and Martinsville Speedway. Allgaier has 4 prime 10 finishes in his final six begins at Texas Motor Speedway, with one DNF. He has a median end of 11.7 on the monitor since 2016, and he completed in second place there within the spring.
He has 4 prime 10 finishes in his final 5 begins at Kansas Speedway, with one DNF. Martinsville Speedway solely lately returned to the Xfinity Collection schedule, and he completed in second place there within the playoffs final 12 months and ninth this previous spring.
Whereas none of Allgaier’s 16 profession wins have come at these first six tracks on the playoff schedule, he has run effectively at them previously and has some factors to work with. And traditionally, making it to the Championship 4 hasn’t been an issue for him, having carried out it in 4 out of 5 seasons.
The season finale is scheduled to happen on Saturday, November 6 at Phoenix Raceway. With a fair factors state of affairs for the game’s last 4, profitable the title may and possibly would require profitable the race.
Allgaier has been hit and miss at Phoenix with JRM. He has six prime 5 finishes and 5 finishes of eighth place or worse, together with a worst end of twenty fourth. His six prime 5 finishes do embody a pair of wins, extra lately on the playoff race in 2019, when this race was nonetheless the penultimate occasion on the calendar.
Allgaier has confirmed that he has what it takes to be a contender for the Xfinity Collection title, however he might want to step it up on the proper time all through the playoffs, together with within the season finale, to grow to be the primary veteran driver to win a championship for JRM.