Justin Allgaier sees Dover as only true ‘unknown’ of Xfinity Chase

(Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
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There’s one big rule of thumb for Justin Allgaier when it comes to the concrete high banks at Dover International Speedway.

“What goes up, must come down,” Allgaier says.

Dover, with its 24-degree banking and one of the oldest track surfaces in NASCAR, made Allgaier circle the “Monster Mile” as the biggest unknown of the seven races in the Xfinity Chase. Dover is the second Chase race after the opener at Kentucky Speedway.

“A lot of the racetracks we go to are mile-and-a-half in our series Chase,” Allgaier said while promoting the Chase in Philadelphia. “We know what to expect. Even Phoenix … we understand what to expect. But Dover is the one, it’s a tricky racetrack to begin with, just by yourself.”

Of the seven Chase races, only Dover and Phoenix are shorter than 1.5-miles. Allgaier started from the pole at Dover in May after winning the first heat race and finished fourth.

“The biggest challenge is the banking,” Allgaier said. “As cars slide back down the pavement, as things transpire through the course of the race, it’s really hard to get away from other competitors, especially if they’re in trouble or they’re having crashes.”

In the last five Xfinity Dover races, there have been an average of 3.8 cautions. The most was five in the fall 2014 race.

“Another challenge is just not beating yourself,” Allgaier continued. “It’s one of those places that you can overdrive and blow a tire or overdrive and crash yourself really easily. From my standpoint, you’re going to have to almost back it down a little bit, even though you need the speed to run up front and to be competitive. I think you’re going to back it down just a touch to be there at the end to even have a shot to go for the win.”

Heading into the Drive Sober 200, Allgaier is sixth on the Xfinity Chase grid, which is a small miracle in itself. At Kentucky, Allgaier and his No. 7 Chevrolet were in fourth when they were involved in a Lap 130 crash with Sam Hornish Jr. that damaged Allgaier’s front fender. But by the end of the night, with the help of a late caution that took out Erik Jones and Ty Dillon, Allgaier finished ninth.

But Allgaier is only two points ahead of the cutoff spot in eighth.

“It could have been a lot worse,” Allgaier said of Kentucky. “We really shouldn’t have had the speed that we did to get back up through the field and to be able to get into ninth even. For that, I’m excited. However, because of the points being reset, because of the Chase format, it’s dropped us farther in the series points then I would like. It’s not like there’s a comfortable zone without a win, but at the same time I do feel like the higher up you are on the board, the more comfortable you can be going into each and everyone of these races.”