NASCAR: Justin Allgaier sitting out of Friday’s Sprint Showdown

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Sprint Cup rookie Justin Allgaier will not compete in Friday’s Sprint Showdown for an opportunity to make the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race at Charlotte the next night.

The winner and runner-up in the Showdown move on to the main event, but Allgaier’s car owner, Harry Scott, has opted to pull the Illinois driver from Friday’s event in order to focus on upcoming points-paying races such as the Coca-Cola 600 on Memorial Day weekend.

The decision comes after Allgaier wrecked in last weekend’s 5-Hour Energy 400 at Kansas Speedway. He was clipped by a spinning A.J. Allmendinger and spun into David Gilliland, who took a second impact with the SAFER Barrier in the tri-oval.

Both drivers were checked and released from the infield care center, but not after enduring perhaps the hardest hit so far this Sprint Cup season. It was Allgaier’s third crash in the last four races.

“For us, being a small independent team, obviously points races are the main focus,” Allgaier said according to the Associated Press. “With crashing a couple of weeks ago at Talladega and crashing last week at Kansas, it puts a toll on a team and this is going to give us to really hit the reset button and push through.

“I understand it, I know why we are doing it. I would much rather go and try to win the 600 then to just make it through the Showdown and just make it through the 600.”

Allgaier also noted that his team buys older chassis, primarily from Hendrick Motorsports, and needs time to prepare them.

“We get older cars, they are not cheap, and they are not the easiest to get,” he said. “If they’ve got a good car, they don’t want to get rid of them too soon.”

It’s been a trying first year in Cup for Allgaier, who ran five full seasons in the Nationwide Series before moving up for 2014. He sits 29th in the Cup standings with a top finish of 17th at Bristol Motor Speedway in March.

Porsche pulls GTLM cars from Mid-Ohio because of COVID-19 positives

Porsche Mid-Ohio COVID-19
David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
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Porsche will skip Saturday’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race with its two GTLM cars at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course after three positive COVID-19 tests were confirmed during the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

That resulted in Porsche choosing to pull out of the Nurburgring 24 Hour endurance race in Germany, electing to avoid sending any team members as a precautionary measure.

Porsche Motorsport announced Tuesday that its COVID-19 decision also would apply at Mid-Ohio to its No. 911 and No. 12 teams.

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Three of Porsche’s four IMSA GTLM drivers — Laurens Vanthoor, Frederic Makowiecki and Nick Tandy — also were racing in Le Mans. The trio has remained isolated in Europe and won’t be allowed to travel.

“Based on yesterday’s decision that no employee or racing driver of our Le Mans team will participate in the Nürburgring 24 Hours, we have today decided that this ruling will also apply to the upcoming IWSC race in Mid-Ohio,” Fritz Enzinger, vice president for Porsche Motorsport, said in a release. “This means that Laurens, Nick and Fred will not be traveling to the USA.

“This is very regrettable, but we would like to emphasize that in this case as well the health of all those concerned is the prime focus of the decisions we have taken.”

The decision also affects Earl Bamber, who teamed with Vanthoor to win the GTLM championship last year in the No. 912.

Porsche said its GTLM Porsche 911 RSR-19 entries will return for the Oct. 10 race at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval.

That will reduce the GTLM class to four cars — two Corvettes and two BMWs — this weekend at Mid-Ohio, in what could be somewhat of a 2021 preview. Porsche Motorsport announced earlier this year that it will leave IMSA after the 2020 season because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.