Season finish: 29th
2014 Season Stats: 0 wins, 0 top-5, 0 top-10, 0 Poles.
What went right: It was admittedly a trying Sprint Cup rookie season for Justin Allgaier. Still, there were positives: he led 16 laps (more than Danica Patrick’s 15), and had a pair of 15th place finishes, his best showings of the season, within five races of each other: Charlotte and Homestead. All told, he had 10 top-20 finishes, including four in the last five races, a definite sign of optimism heading into 2015.
What went wrong: Sure, Allgaier likely would have wanted a better first season in the Cup series. But after five seasons in the Nationwide Series (four top-five finishes and one top-six season finish), it was time for him to make the jump upward into the Cup ranks. The team was sold late in the 2013 season from James Finch to Harry Scott Jr., and when 2014 came around, it took a while for Allgaier and crew chief Steve Addington to bond and establish good communication. But there were definitely positive signs in the second half of the season that bode well for 2015. Perhaps the worst thing that went wrong is he failed to qualify for the fall Talladega race.
2015 Prospectus: The 2015 season could be a mixed bag for Allgaier. On the one hand, he’ll be in his second full season of the schedule, as well as working with Addington. But on the flip side, he may be one of those beset by NASCAR’s notorious sophomore jinx for second-year drivers in the Cup series. However, given that 2014 wasn’t the year he wanted, Allgaier may surprise us and have a much improved campaign in 2015.
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