Justin Allgaier springs surprise with Nationwide win in Montreal

Justin Allgaier, driver of the #31 Brandt Chevrolet, takes the checkered flag after winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series sixth annual NAPA AUTO PARTS 200 presented by Dodge at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve on August 18, 2012 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Justin Allgaier, driver of the #31 Brandt Chevrolet, takes the checkered flag after winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series sixth annual NAPA AUTO PARTS 200 presented by Dodge at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve on August 18, 2012 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images for NASCAR)

MONTREAL — Justin Allgaier might come from a family whose roots are deeply planted in oval track stock-car racing but Saturday afternoon, Lil’ Gator proved he can turn left and right with the best of the NASCAR Nationwide Series.

Allgaier captured his first win of the season at the NAPA Auto Parts 200 presented by Dodge on Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal, emerging in front after a frenzied overtime finish.

“Today was just an awesome day,” said Allgaier. “Winning in Montreal means so much because all the people in the series enjoy coming here. The atmosphere is great, the fans never disappoint here but the race played out perfectly for us.”

Allgaier was running third at the second attempt for a green-white-checkered finish when a last-lap bump put him in front of Penske Racing teammates Sam Hornish Jr. and Jacques Villeneuve, who ended up second and third.

“I knew I was closing in on Jacques but he braked really early into corner 6 and I was certain he had ran out of gas,” added Allgaier. “He went really slow and I had too much of a head of steam and was sorry I got into him.”

Hornish, who made one last charge at Allgaier on the final lap, seemed far from happy with his second-place finish.

“I should feel pretty content with finishing second but I feel that Penske Racing deserved more from this day, considering the two cars that they provided us,” said Hornish after the race. “I was running confident, second to Jacques, and felt that we would be battling the win out between the two of us but the 30 (Alex Tagliani) stuck his nose in there on a restart with about 10 laps to go and I was sent back to 23rd place or so. I should be happy to finish second after restarting from 23rd but we deserved better. ”

The seven extra laps ran because of the two green-white-checkered finish attempts, which forced Villeneuve to eke out the last drops of Sunoco gasoline from his fuel cell. However, though his Dodge Challenger ran out of fuel before getting back to the garage on the cool-down lap, the Quebec-born driver says that he saved enough to get him easily to the checkered flag.

“I did not run out of fuel and my engine did not sputter,” said Villeneuve. “I was simply taken out by Allgaier, who used me to slow down in Turn 6 on the last lap. It’s frustrating because Penske and Dodge gave me such a good car. We ran head and shoulders above everyone else even if we were not attacking in order to save fuel and brakes for the end of the race. It’s hard to take.”

Allgaier was apologetic . . . but not too much.

“I am really sorry that I took him out but from what I’ve heard, because I couldn’t see it, earlier in the day, that same car spun out the 30 car (driven by Tagliani) that just happened to be our teammate,” Allgaier said. “So I guess that what goes around comes around.”

NASCAR Nationwide Series points leader Elliott Sadler finished fourth, one position in front of 2008 Montreal winner Ron Fellows. Michael McDowell, Mike Wallace, Billy Johnson, Austin Dillon and NASCAR Sprint Cup series regular Kyle Busch completed the top 10.

With 824 points, Sadler extended his lead at the top of the NASCAR Nationwide Series championship race to 22 points over Ricky Stenhouse Jr., who wrecked late but still finished 12th. With his second-place finish, Hornish is now tied with Stenhouse with 802 points while Austin Dillon (789) and Allaier (756) close out the top 5 in points.

Danica Patrick had a good day, leading 20 laps but mechanical issues on her GoDaddy Chevrolet relegated her to the 27th position, six laps behind the leaders.

“How disappointing is it. We’re bound to catch some good luck some time. I just can’t believe the amount of bad luck we’ve had, ” said Patrick, who even hit a shoe thrown on the track by a fan at one point.

Derek White, a regular in the NASCAR Canadian Tire series, was the best finishing Quebec driver apart from Villeneuve with an 18th-place effort.

Montreal-born Tagliani, who started from the pole position, led seven laps and ran up front most of the day but was moved over by Villeneuve for the lead on lap 67. Tagliani finished 22nd. Patrick Carpentier (29th), Andrew Ranger (32nd), Dexter Stacey (35th) and Louis-Philippe Dumoulin (38th) were the other Canadian drivers entered in the event.

Earlier in the day, Tagliani finished 7th and 8th while running in two different cars in the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series race won by Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas.


1. (15) Justin Allgaier, Chevrolet, 81, $94,318.
2.  (2) Sam Hornish Jr., Dodge, 81, $60,193.
3.  (3) Jacques Villeneuve, Dodge, 81, $47,893.
4. (17) Elliott Sadler, Chevrolet, 81, $43,093.
5.  (8) Ron Fellows, Chevrolet, 81, $32,875.
6.  (6) Michael McDowell, Toyota, 81, $34,118.
7. (22) Mike Wallace, Chevrolet, 81, $31,893.
8.  (9) Billy Johnson, Ford, 81, $24,200.
9. (19) Austin Dillon, Chevrolet, 81, $31,368.
10.  (5) Kyle Busch, Toyota, 81, $24,050.
11. (11) Brendan Gaughan, Chevrolet, 81, $28,818.
12. (16) Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Ford, 81, $29,543.
13. (23) Mike Bliss, Chevrolet, 81, $28,218.
14. (32) Tayler Malsam, Toyota, 81, $28,068.
15. (20) Alex Kennedy, Toyota, 81, $28,918.
16. (34) Erik Darnell, Chevrolet, 81, $21,350.
17. (36) Tim Andrews, Ford, 81, $21,225.
18. (42) Derek White, Chevrolet, 81, $21,075.
19. (41) Eric McClure, Toyota, 81, $27,418.
20. (21) Brad Sweet, Chevrolet, 81, $27,968.
21. (27) Kyle Kelley, Chevrolet, 81, $20,975.
22.  (1) Alex Tagliani, Chevrolet, 81, $30,593.
23. (31) Daryl Harr, Chevrolet, 81, $27,143.
24. (10) Brian Scott, Toyota, 81, $27,068.
25. (26) Jeremy Clements, Chevrolet, 81, $27,468.
26. (18) Jason Bowles, Toyota, Brakes, 77, $26,948.
27.  (4) Danica Patrick, Chevrolet, 75, $31,693.
28. (33) Michael Annett, Ford, 73, $26,848.
29. (13) Patrick Carpentier, Toyota, 69, $26,813.
30. (39) Joe Nemechek, Dodge, Radiator, 62, $27,078.
31. (37) John Young, Dodge, Drive Train, 59, $20,250.
32. (12) Andrew Ranger, Dodge, Suspension, 57, $20,215.
33.  (7) Cole Whitt, Chevrolet, Engine, 54, $26,653.
34. (28) Kenny Habul, Toyota, Accident, 46, $20,150.
35. (38) Dexter Stacey, Chevrolet, Accident, 30, $20,110.
36. (29) Timmy Hill, Ford, Transmission, 21, $26,543.
37. (14) Eric Curran, Dodge, Transmission, 15, $20,025.
38. (35) Louis-Phillipe Dumoulin, Ford, Suspension, 14, $19,981.
39. (24) Chris Cook, Chevrolet, Brakes, 6, $19,845.
40. (43) Matt DiBenedetto, Chevrolet, Overheating, 6, $19,710.
41. (30) Blake Koch, Chevrolet, Brakes, 5, $19,625.
42. (40) Chase Miller, Chevrolet, Brakes, 4, $19,570.
43. (25) Jeff Green, Toyota, Vibration, 2, $19,392.


Average Speed of Race Winner: 70.043 mph.
Time of Race: 3 Hrs, 7 Mins, 58 Secs.
Margin of Victory: 0.353 Seconds.
Caution Flags: 8 for 22 laps.
Lead Changes: 12 among 6 drivers.
Lap Leaders: A. Tagliani 1-2; S. Hornish Jr. 3; A. Tagliani 4-5; S. Hornish Jr. 6-7; J. Villeneuve 8-19; S. Hornish Jr. 20; D. Patrick 21-40; J. Villeneuve 41-45; E. Sadler 46-51; J. Villeneuve 52-63; A. Tagliani 64-66; J. Villeneuve 67-80; J. Allgaier 81.
Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led): J. Villeneuve 4 times for 43 laps; D. Patrick 1 time for 20 laps; A. Tagliani 3 times for 7 laps; E. Sadler 1 time for 6 laps; S. Hornish Jr. 3 times for 4 laps; J. Allgaier 1 time for 1 lap.
Top 10 in Points: E. Sadler – 824; R. Stenhouse Jr. – 802; S. Hornish Jr. – 802; A. Dillon – 789; J. Allgaier – 756; M. Annett – 690; C. Whitt – 633; M. Bliss – 609; B. Scott – 540; J. Nemechek – 506.

Greg Engle
About Greg Engle 7421 Articles
Greg is a published award winning sportswriter who spent 23 years combined active and active reserve military service, much of that in and around the Special Operations community. Greg is the author of "The Nuts and Bolts of NASCAR: The Definitive Viewers' Guide to Big-Time Stock Car Auto Racing" and has been published in major publications across the country including the Los Angeles Times, the Cleveland Plain Dealer and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He was also a contributor to Chicken Soup for the NASCAR Soul, published in 2010, and the Christmas edition in 2016. He wrote as the NASCAR, Formula 1, Auto Reviews and National Veterans Affairs Examiner for Examiner.com and has appeared on Fox News. He holds a BS degree in communications, a Masters degree in psychology and is currently a PhD candidate majoring in psychology. He is currently the weekend Motorsports Editor for Autoweek.