Allgaier to make Cup debut at Chicago in No. 51, with new team owner

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Rumors floating all season that Phoenix Racing, the independent NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stalwart led by James Finch, would be sold have come true as of Wednesday.

Team owner Harry Scott Jr., part of the Turner Scott Motorsports juggernaut in NASCAR’s Nationwide, Camping World Truck and K&N East Pro Series, has bought Phoenix on the Cup side and will run three of the last 10 races with one of his Nationwide drivers, Justin Allgaier. Further information regarding the purchase can be found on NASCAR.com.

Allgaier is a former Penske Racing protege made somewhat famous with Verizon’s “Little Gator” ads, who has finished in the top six in the Nationwide standings each year since 2009. He has three career wins and his three Cup starts will be the first of his career.

For the rest of this year, Allgaier’s car will still  retain Nick Harrison as crew chief and Phil Barkdoll general manager of the No. 51 Brandt Chevrolet.

Allgaier will follow AJ Allmendinger, Mike Bliss, Austin Dillon, Brendan Gaughan, Owen Kelly, Bobby Labonte, Regan Smith, Ryan Truex and Jacques Villeneuve as drivers of the No. 51 this year.

Bliss has been drafted in as a last-minute substitute this weekend at Atlanta for Labonte, who is being treated in hospital for three broken ribs.

Reviewing Danica Patrick’s highs and lows at Indianapolis Motor Speedway

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So much of Danica Patrick’s fame can be traced to Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

It’s where she became a household name 13 years ago when she became the first woman to lead the Indianapolis 500 and emerged as a transcendent athlete.

It’s where everything started. This Sunday, it’s where everything will end, too.

In her last warmup before starting the final race of her career, Patrick had a bumpy final practice Friday on Carb Day. She was eighth fastest, but her Dallara-Chevrolet was in the garage most of the session because of an electrical problem in the engine. After returning during the final 10 minutes of the session, Patrick’s No. 13 seemed to be OK.

“At the end of the day, these are things you’re actually glad for, because if this had happened Sunday, we would have been done,” she said. “I’m glad to get the issues out of the way early on. Overall, today felt good. We made some changes when I went out the second time, and I’m feeling good about starting seventh on Sunday.”
Though she has had her share of success – along with a fourth in her debut, there was a third in 2009 and six top 10s in seven starts — Patrick has learned well how to handle frustration at the 2.5-mile track, too.

Fuel mileage might have kept her from winning her debut, a pit collision ruined 2008, and an unstable setup made 2010 a wild ride.

For a review of her up-and-down history at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and her legacy in racing, watch the video essay above that ran during Friday’s NASCAR America Motorsports Special on NBCSN.