JUSTIN ALLGAIER (No. 12 Verizon Wireless Dodge Charger) TALK ABOUT YOUR SEASON SO FAR AND COMING HERE TO PHOENIX TO RACE TONIGHT? "The season has been great. The Verizon Dodge guys have done a great job all year. I think we're all extremely...
JUSTIN ALLGAIER (No. 12 Verizon Wireless Dodge Charger)
TALK ABOUT YOUR SEASON SO FAR AND COMING HERE TO PHOENIX TO RACE TONIGHT? "The season has been great. The Verizon Dodge guys have done a great job all year. I think we're all extremely proud and happy to be where we're at and to have our teammate (Brad Keselowski) right there with us (in second-place) is great. We feel like last year we had some good runs, but we just never could put the consistency together. So this year, we've been working on that. I feel like we're running more consistent than ever.
"Coming here to Phoenix, this is a race track that I really enjoy. It' a lot of fun. It's very challenging. I've had my fair share of problems here. We crashed in qualifying here in the spring race, so hopefully we don't do that again. It's a lot of fun. We feel like we race well here. We worked all morning really hard and didn't feel like we exactly have the car we wanted. We feel like we have a car that will race well tonight. Hopefully, the conditions will change for us tonight in our favor; we'll squeeze by in qualifying and come out with a good car for the race."
WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE A CHASE FORMAT IN THE NATIONWIDE SERIES? "In the couple years that the Chase has been around, I think that it's worked well. For us last year, if we had a Chase system, and if they would have taken 10 or 12 (teams), we would have been 10th or 12th. We feel like that last 10 (races) were where we struggled the most. I think that it definitely helps on the Cup side. The only thing that I disagree with is the fact that if a guy runs really well all season long and pushes it and gets himself into the Chase, how do you justify if he has a couple bad races and not win the championship? I think there's good and bad. It goes down to basketball, baseball, football--it comes down to those last couple of games for them and it works very well and it's been very consistent. I'm not opposed to it. But I also think that there's got to be some differences between the Cup side and the Nationwide side. I'm sure that there's something that they can come up with that would keep them different, but still have the regularity, consistency of a good finish each year."
TALK ABOUT HOW DIFFICULT IT HAS BEEN TO EARN FIVE-CONSECUTIVE TOP-10'S? "I think you look week in and week out--if you look at the Gibbs cars, it doesn't look like it's that hard to do. If you look at the majority of the field, it's tough. The competition level is probably as good as it's ever been. The equipment is really good right now. I think you have a lot of cars that are running up front. It's encouraging to see guys like Mike (Wallace) that are getting good finishes week in and week out and being able to run well. It's never easy. I think the biggest thing for me that's tough is the fact that we go out week in and week out and if we get 200, 300 miles in a weekend, it's great. But most of the guys that are coming over from the Cup side are getting an extra 300, 400, 500, 600 miles, so every time that I go to the race track I'm going to lose that much more experience. I think that being able to run in the top five is very encouraging, but I also feel like a lot of that falls on the shoulders of my team. I feel like I have an excellent team at Penske Racing; they do a great job week in and week out. The engine department does a good job. (More)
"Consistency. That's one thing that we didn't have last year. We needed more consistency and I think that we found that this year. All the pieces to the puzzle make good finishes week in and week out and I think that's the thing that we have to really focus on."
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON TEXAS NEXT WEEKEND? "Having a track that you enjoy going to is determined by that day; if your car is right, you're happy. For me, my crew chief always tells me that I'm the second guy going to the top. You're on the gas a lot (at Texas). You really feel like you can race and do a lot of things at Texas that you couldn't do at some other places. Each race track has its own characteristics and I think the biggest thing is finding out what you like about each one of them. We'll be focusing in on that, trying to make ourselves better."
HAVE YOU RECOGNIZED ANY BLEED OVER FROM THE EARLY SUCCESS OF THE PENSKE CUP TEAMS INTO THE NATIONWIDE PROGRAM? "In terms of the Cup side to the Nationwide side, yes. I think there has been some bleed over. But I don't necessarily think that it's in the form of knowledge, I think more so that the moral is up in the shop. To run as well as the Cup guys did last year. They added Tom German in the engineering department which was a big help last year; we're still seeing the effects of that. The addition of Steve Addington (crew chief, No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge) and Paul Wolf (crew chief, No. 22 Discount Tire Dodge) was a big help--and Brad Keselowski. There are so many different areas that you can attribute to why we are running better. The number one thing for us is Chad Walter (crew chief, No. 12 Verizon Wireless Dodge). He's extremely smart and has been with some race teams that he's learned a lot and been able to propel them into victory lane. When we started last year, the middle of January, we found out that we were able to go racing full-time. We got a great race sponsor in Verizon, but we also found out that we were going to race 35 races instead of 10 which was what we were gearing up to run. So, we really didn't have a whole lot of equipment. We didn't have a whole lot of good equipment, so we went to the drawing board and started building and building. We didn't start to see the effects of that until halfway through the season. We ran well, but we were still working on it. I feel like over the offseason, we were able to take apart a lot of the stuff that we didn't like and re-do it--whether it was a tool box or trailer--you have to re-tool all those pieces. All of our crew guys are basically the same, so continuity is a big important piece of that puzzle. In general, whether it's the 2, 12, 77 on the Cup side or 12 or 22 on the Nationwide side, I feel like we're completely in tuned with each other and working very hard. I feel like it's an entire shop that's better, not just one team versus the other."
WHAT'S THE TIMETABLE FOR MOVING UP TO CUP? "The only plan is there is no plan. Obviously Roger is very passionate about the sport and wants to make things happen in a time frame that makes the most sense. I basically told Roger, Tim Cindric, Mike Nelson and everybody that makes the decision at Penske Racing that I want the opportunity eventually. I signed the contract at Penske Racing because I felt like that was a great opportunity for myself, but I also didn't want to ruin my career. There are guys that have come through and made that transition (from Nationwide to Cup) way too quickly and I don't want to be that guy. I want to be able to win race over here (Nationwide) and be competitive and do the things we need to do week in and week out. Obviously, right now our shop is very large, but I would say that we're at capacity of what we're trying to accomplish. We're building race cars left and right. Body's and pit crews are going like crazy. There's a lot that would have to go into it and I don't know if we would ever jump into something. Penske Racing is very good at being planned. I don't think we would jump into anything, but I also think that it would take a little time to get it. I'm kind of riding. I'm focusing in on the Nationwide side. With Verizon being on our Nationwide car and not being able to go to the Cup side, I want to make sure it's the right opportunity and we don't ruin any relationships that we already have because I really enjoy working with them and I'm enjoying the Nationwide Series right now. Whatever happens is on their time table."
-source: dodge motorsports