Amanda Vincent, NASCAR Correspondent
Sadler, Dillon,Stenhouse Jr. and Hornish Jr. eligible for Dash 4 Cash Bonus
Elliott Sadler (No. 2 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet), Austin Dillon (No. 3 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet) and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (No. 6 Roush Fenway Racing Ford) head to Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill., looking to cement their NASCAR Nationwide Series championship chances with the running of Sunday’s STP 300.
Those three drivers along with Sam Hornish Jr. in the No. 12 Penske Racing Dodge have their sights set on a $100,000 bonus from series title sponsor Nationwide Insurance through the Dash 4 Cash program.
But another driver, Justin Allgaier, has more sentimental reasons to look forward to this weekend’s race. The driver of the No. 31 Turner Motorsports Chevrolet is from Riverton, Ill., and considers Chicagoland Speedway his home track.
“This is a weekend that we on the BRANDT team have had circled on the calendar since the beginning of the year,” Allgaier said.
His sponsor, BRANDT, also calls Illinois home, as if Allgaier needed any more incentive to run well in front of the home crowd.
Chicagoland is also the site of Allgaier’s most recent win in Nationwide competition. After running out of gas, he coasted the No. 31 across the start/finish line ahead of the No. 60 Roush Fenway Ford of Carl Edwards last year to claim the home state win.
“I’d love nothing more than to be able to repeat what we did last year and take all of the guests to victory lane with us,” Allgaier said. “It was such a thrill for me to win the race the way we did and then be able to celebrate with my team and BRANDT at the end of the night at our home track.”
Allgaier’s somewhat out of the championship conversation at this point, despite being fifth in driver points, because he’s 73 points, more than a race-and-a-half, behind series leader Sadler.
His points deficit, though, is mainly due to a bumpy start to the season. The hometown favorite has been on somewhat of a hot streak, as of late. He heads home riding a streak of four-consecutive top-10 finishes, with seven top-10s in the last eight races.
The top-10 is familiar territory for Allgaier at his home track. He has four-career Nationwide Series starts at Chicagoland, with three resulting in top-10 finishes.
Of course, Allgaier isn’t the only driver who considers Illinois home to plan to race on Sunday. Despite being born in Wisconsin, Patrick claims Roscoe, Ill., as her hometown. But when it comes to Nationwide Series experience in her home state, Patrick is inexperienced, compared to Allgaier.
Patrick has a couple of Nationwide start at Chicagoland under her belt. One of those starts did produce a top-10 finish – 10th in last year’s event. She finished 24th in her debut at the track.
“We’re working on things like qualifying, restarts and getting faster all the time,” Patrick said. “Everything is about finding improvement.”