Heading into Saturday’s (August 3) Zippo 200 at Watkins Glen International, Justin Allgaier was one of the favorites, winning two of the four road courses last season.
But that came to a crashing halt on lap 15.
After pitting early in the first stage to get track position at the end of the stage, Allgaier and Ross Chastain were battling hard entering the bus stop on a restart. With a few bumps and a few bangs, Chastain sent the No. 7 spinning into the outside wall, junking the rear end of the race car.
By making three pit stops under caution, the Jason Burdett-led crew restarted in the rear of the field, though quickly catching up to Chastain. In turn 5, Allgaier returned the favor, sending the No. 4 into the tire barrier.
The Bus Stop is a tricky place at @WGI.
— NASCAR on NBC (@NASCARonNBC) August 3, 2019
“We’ve had a rocky relationship over our racing career,” Allgaier said after the race. “Unfortunately I’ve been on the receiving side a number of times of him running into me. He flat wrecked me in the bus stop back there. At some point you get to a point where you’re tired of getting run into, and so I ran back into him. I had no intention of putting him into the wall. I wanted to spin him out, for sure. I wanted him to have the same feeling that I did a few laps before whenever he spun me out, and I did it in a position where there was nobody else around us and made sure that if it was going to be a crash it was just going to be the two of us.
“He knew what he was doing when he got into the bus stop and wrecked me on purpose. Even when I caught him back, he slowed way, way down and he knew that I was mad at him. You can’t race like that and not have something come of it.”
The wreck into the tire barrier was enough to knock Chastain out of the race. The end result was a 34th-place finish for the No. 4 car, his worst finish in 16 starts this season.
— Xfinity Racing (@XfinityRacing) August 3, 2019
Chastain was none too pleased.
“You don’t expect to get wrecked like that in a NASCAR national series event,” Chastain said. “Just racing hard, mistakes on all sides. I’m glad my nine-point safety harness did its job because I hit the wall a ton.”
Allgaier is known as one of the cleanest racing drivers in NASCAR. However, he admits he and Chastain haven’t always been on the same page, and he doesn’t think they will be with this incident, either.
“I don’t think we’re going to agree,” Allgaier stated. “He ran into my door down the backstretch into the bus stop, and then proceeded to hit me about three different times and spin me out into the bus stop on purpose – and try to put me into the outside wall on the exit of the bus stop. His idea of not the way you race at all, I think he should look in the mirror.
“That’s not the first time, either. You look at Daytona [earlier this season], I was completely inside of him and he cranked a left. Last year at [Las] Vegas, he put me in the fence trying to battle for the lead. There’s been multiple times that I’ve been on the receiving end. He can look at it however he wants to looks at it, but I feel like I finished it today.”
Over the final two stages, Allgaier’s team played the strategy game, leading 13 laps. The No. 7 Chevrolet took the checkered flag in fourth, his third consecutive top-five finish at WGI.