Awesome Allgaier Answers Salem Speedway Victory Bell SALEM IN (9-15-07) -- With ARCA RE/MAX Series championship contenders Frank Kimmel and Michael McDowell lined up in his rearview mirror, and just five laps left on the board, Justin Allgaier...
Awesome Allgaier Answers Salem Speedway Victory Bell
SALEM IN (9-15-07) -- With ARCA RE/MAX Series championship contenders Frank Kimmel and Michael McDowell lined up in his rearview mirror, and just five laps left on the board, Justin Allgaier tugged on his belts one final time, then pulled away from the pack to win the thrilling Eddie Gilstrap Motors 200 by Advance Auto Parts Saturday night at Salem Speedway before a packed house.
"I have to thank these guys of mine more than anything," said Allgaier. "They gave me good pit stops all night. You know it has been awhile since we've won and I wanted to prove to everyone that we could still do it and what a way to end the season. We only have a few races left and this is just unbelievable. You can never count anyone out here and Keselowski was really strong early. We had a pretty good race going and I knew Frank (Kimmel) and Michael (McDowell) were both good. Fortunately there on the restart we were able to get by Frank (Kimmel) and he got caught up with a car. This place is all about luck. And we just had the car in the right place at the right time."
A late-race caution set up a four-lap dash to the finish during which Allgaier, who led five times for 73 laps, stretched his advantage over Kimmel, who finished five lengths away in second.
"There was just so much good racing going on all the way around the racetrack all night, and hard racing at that," said Kimmel. "We didn't have a car to run in the short runs; it took about ten laps or so to get going. Those cautions there at the end were really hurting us. Justin (Allgaier) ran great; he was really fast all night, so was Keselowski, and Michael (McDowell) was right on my bumper all night. It was tight, hard battling all night long."
With just two events remaining in 2007, McDowell, who finished third on Kimmel's bumper, closed to within 140 points of Kimmel for the national championship.
"We were will good at the beginning of the race but then really loose in the middle," said McDowell. "The Z Line Design-Make A Wish-Beck Dodge team worked hard on it in that last stop, put four tires on it and made a big adjustment. We actually ran over a piece of debris there at the end and we were just trying to salvage what we had. We led a lap and qualified second so that gave us 15 points. Frank gained five on us in the race so we actually gained some this weekend even though we finished behind him."
Brian Keselowski, who earned the SIM Factory Pole Award earlier in the day, had the car to beat for much of the race, leading 99 of the 200 laps before a tire went down on his Lucas Oil Dodge, which caused him to wreck 42 laps from the finish. He was not injured.
Despite long, green flag runs, four drivers exchanged the lead nine times, including James Buescher, who led 16 laps before bringing his Mercedes Homes-Red Line Oil Dodge home in fourth.
Brett Hudson finished fifth in the Habitat for Humanity-Hudson Machine Chevrolet.
McDowell, who led the first 12 laps, posted the Accel Fastest Lap of the Race and was the Highest Finishing Rookie.
Michael Simko, Nick Tucker, Chuck Barnes, Jr., Justin Marks and Justin South completed the top-10 finishers respectively. South, who started 22nd, earned the Hoosier Tire Hard Charger Award for advancing the most positions.