Allgaier to sit out Sprint Showdown after 3 wrecks
May 14, 2014 | 238 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
CONCORD, N.C. (AP) — HScott Motorsports pulled rookie Justin Allgaier from the entry list for the Sprint Showdown on Tuesday after accidents in three of his last four races.

Allgaier will watch Friday night’s qualifier at Charlotte Motor Speedway from the sidelines, and will not have a chance to race his way into the Sprint All-Star race. The top two finishers in the Showdown advance to Saturday night’s $1 million main event.

“For us, being a small independent team, obviously points races are the main focus,” Allgaier said. “With crashing a couple of weeks ago at Talladega and crashing last week at Kansas, it puts a toll on a team and this is going to give us to really hit the reset button and push through. I understand it, I know why we are doing it. I would much rather go and try to win the 600 then to just make it through the Showdown and just make it through the 600.”

Allgaier is 29th in the Sprint Cup standings and does not have a top-10 finish this season.

He said the HScott organization needs to regroup and focus on next week’s Coca-Cola 600, the longest race on the NASCAR schedule. By skipping the Showdown, the crew can work on building cars and concentrate on preparations for the May 25 race.

“Having the time to rebuild inventory is so much different than the luxury of just buying new cars,” Allgaier said of HScott, which purchases old chassis from Hendrick Motorsports. “We get older cars, they are not cheap, and they are not the easiest to get. If they’ve got a good car, they don’t want to get rid of them too soon.”

Allgaier hinted that he’d not be participating Friday night when he tweeted simply a picture of a frowning emoticon face. He received an immediate reply from Dale Earnhardt Jr., NASCAR’s most popular driver.

“Cheer up dude. Hard wreck you walked away from. Things could be worse,” Earnhardt tweeted.

Allgaier’s wreck Saturday night at Kansas Speedway began when a spin by AJ Allmendinger collected Allgaier, sending the rookie’s car up the track into David Gilliland’s path. The collision knocked the wind out of him and left him with a small cut on his left elbow and a few bruises.

He praised the safety equipment for allowing him to walk away, and was grateful for Earnhardt’s message.

“Social media, you put stuff out there, whether it be good or bad or indifferent,” Allgaier said. “To have someone like that respond to it, that says a lot. Just how genuine how a lot of drivers are in this sport. Look at Dale Jr., one of our most notable, most influential and most valuable people in the sport. For him to take the time to tweet me, that was something that was pretty cool.”

Iowa Speedway opens

season on Sunday

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The Iowa Speedway will reopen just six months after its purchase by NASCAR.

New president Jimmy Small is among those eager to see how Sunday’s Nationwide race will set the tone for the short track’s future.

NASCAR took the rare step in November of purchasing the track for a reported $10 million, a steep drop from the $70 million it cost to build it less than a decade earlier.

The 28-year-old Small is the third person to run the Iowa Speedway in less than three years. He inherited a track that has remained popular with fans and drivers despite patches of instability.

“As far as challenges, I think the biggest one has been timing,” he said. “We knew we only had a short amount of time before our first weekend here in just a few days now.”

Points leader Chase Elliott, Trevor Bayne and Ty Dillon headline the list of drivers in the first stand-alone race of the Nationwide season.

NASCAR, which also owns the Road Atlanta course under its IMSA sports car banner, became Iowa’s third owner in just eight years when it bought the track from Featherlite Inc., founder Conrad Clement and his family.

Although NASCAR officials made it clear that they won’t schedule a Sprint Cup series race in Iowa in the immediate future, Small said the new owners see plenty of potential for growth.

NASCAR plans to kick start the track’s new era this weekend with some initiatives based on fan feedback.

Country music duo Montgomery Gentry will perform on Saturday night following the K&N Pro Series race. Track organizers will throw a party for season ticket holders with a chance to win garage access, pace car rides and a seat in the driver’s meeting — which has been moved from the media center to a large suite in the grandstand — before Sunday’s Nationwide race.

“A lot of these initiatives that we’re bringing to the table are still in their development phase. We believe we’re on to something,” Small said.

Iowa Speedway will host just three major race weekends in 2014. The track lost one of its Camping World trucks series races and combined the other with IndyCar’s annual stop in Newton in mid-July.

The schedule, along with new NASCAR initiatives in Iowa this summer, will be up for debate next year. But NASCAR officials hope to brand the 0.875-mile oval as “fastest short track on the planet,” according to Small.

“It’s very racy. You can have two, two and a half, maybe sometimes three lanes in there. It has a bunch of character,” said driver Ryan Blaney, who won a 2012 trucks race in Iowa and plans to run in Sunday’s Nationwide race.