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November 14, 2019

Justin Allgaier

Homestead, Florida

Q. It seemed like you were probably going to make it here anyway. How important was it to have a win before doing that?
JUSTIN ALLGAIER: I felt like it's funny because you look at the points. We didn't have to win last week. It obviously was a good thing we did. We knew we needed to keep the other guys behind us in points from winning. If we win, there's no way they can win, right?
It really hit me when we got here, you see the board outside, the wins column, the sticker. At least there's a sticker up there, right? I feel like it would be really difficult to come in here and say, We got a shot at going for a championship when we didn't execute well enough in the regular season to get a win.
There were plenty of chances we feel like we should have won. Circumstances obviously didn't play out that way. We've had speed this year, had a great run these last two or three months. I think that win last week couldn't have come at a better time. Gives you that extra momentum.
You cannot buy momentum. No matter what you try, do, that's the one thing that's crazy about this sport. For us, we've got a lot of it on our side right now. I'm pumped about that.

Q. How do you feel about racing here? You've never won here.
JUSTIN ALLGAIER: Never won here, no. I think sixth was the best finish, a couple years ago, then seventh last year.
It's interesting because I feel like every year we feel like something has happened to kind of not give us that position that we'd want to have.
On the flipside, I think we look at the playoffs in general, we've had a much better playoffs this year than we've ever had. The average finish was fantastic. Obviously the win at Phoenix helps a lot.
We've just done a better job. We're in a lot better position. Speed‑wise we've been a lot faster. We've been more on par, especially at the mile‑and‑a‑half's, than we've ever been. That's what it's going to take. Execution on Saturday night it's going to be important. I feel like we've done a better job of that.
Even though we've never had a top five here, if we don't go to Victory Lane on Saturday night, it wasn't because I don't feel like we have the speed to do that.

Q. Is there a different feel coming into this championship battle than past ones?
JUSTIN ALLGAIER: It's funny, last year missing it probably is the biggest help that I've ever in my entire career. It made me realize how much I missed it, how much I enjoyed being in.
You take things for granted. The sport of auto racing, everybody is in a different position. I've been lucky enough, last year we won five races. We absolutely were awful in the playoffs. We fired off the season kind of awful. It makes you realize peaks and valleys. You have to enjoy the good days, but you can't really get too amped up on the good days. It seems like it makes the low days even lower.
This year has been all about trying to manage that, do a lot better job mentally. I think last year missing it, then this year being more competitive, I think it makes me realize how much more I want to be here and do this. Hopefully experience helps. It means I'm getting old, that's all I know.
Morgan Shepherd still does it. There's hope.

Q. Do you feel old next to the other three guys?
JUSTIN ALLGAIER: Yeah, I mean, who is the oldest? I think Christopher is probably the oldest. Cole is, what, 21?

Q. 21, 23 and 24.
JUSTIN ALLGAIER: I'm not quite 10 years, but nine years older than all of them.
Yeah, that means I'm old (laughter). I'm okay. I'm good with it. What's the average age in the Cup Series this year, 36, 38? I'm still good.

Q. Harper make the trip?
JUSTIN ALLGAIER: She did. She was bummed last week. She told me I need to win again because she wasn't there last week to see her helmet in Victory Lane. It's just normal, you got to win again, dad. That's the goal, right. If we win again, life is going to be great.

Q. What will Daniel bring to the organization?
JUSTIN ALLGAIER: He brings a lot. Number one, he's a great person. He's a lot of fun to be around outside of the racecar. He's a great competitor on the racetrack, though, too.
I think Daniel brings a lot of knowledge. Obviously he's been around the sport for a number of years. I feel like he and I have a lot of‑‑ even though we had completely different racing backgrounds, we have a lot of the same style. We grew up having to work on racecars, put every ounce of effort that you could possibly put into it to make it to the racetrack every week, let alone go race.
I have a lot of respect for Daniel on and off the racetrack, who he is as a person, his skill set. I was super pumped when I found out he was coming to our organization. I think he's going to be somebody that cannot only be a key addition to helping the competition level, but I think he also can be a great asset for our younger guys like Noah and Jeb. As they get more experience, run more and more, having more guys that have great backgrounds is going to be a big deal for them.
I'm excited to see what he brings to the table.

Q. What has this week been like for you? What have you done to prepare for this moment coming up?
JUSTIN ALLGAIER: This week has been fun. I'll be honest with you. I think that's probably the best part about this. I don't know with the season that we had, we got to like June, July, I'm like, Man, there's no way we're making the playoffs. I didn't think we were going to make the regular playoffs, let alone the final four. We have went on a streak, had great finishes.
I've looked at this week, I said, Man, you put all this pressure and stress on yourself. You want to go and be a champion, right? Don't get me wrong, I still want that. What I've learned is there's so many scenarios in this race. This week for me has been a lot of video, watching these previous races back, seeing what happened, seeing strategy, listening to onboards, doing all those things.
What I found is that every time you think somebody has it on lockdown, they're going to go and dominate the race, something crazy happens in the race. It doesn't work out any of the way we thought it was going to.
For me, I've enjoyed this week. I've done a lot of studying. On the flipside, I set myself out and said, We were fourth coming into this, of the final four we've probably had the worst season statistically. You say, We're going to go out there and give it everything we've got. If we win, that's great. If we don't, we're going to go out there and know when we left Homestead we've given 100%, we couldn't give anything else, circumstances weren't in our favor.

Q. Is it a good time to peak?
JUSTIN ALLGAIER: Yeah, it is. If you're going to peak, winning the final race before the championship round. I mean, really the playoffs, the stats of the playoffs for us, 3.6 average finish for six races, I mean, I'll take that all day long.

Q. Is it a win to be at Homestead with the way I season started?
JUSTIN ALLGAIER: Absolutely. It's funny because I'm going to look back on this year in 10 years and say, Man, statistically it wasn't nearly as bad as I gave it credit for.
I think the hardest part about the season was the what ifs, right? Bristol, both Bristols really, having the dominant car in both races, the hub failing in the first race, then having a tire get cut with eight laps to go. The chances of that happening are so slim. The 8 cut a tire the lap before. I'm guessing we hit something that came off of his car.
Man, being the leader is great, but you're the first one back to the scene of the crime, right? There's so many things. Man, could have, would have, should have. That's why in my mind it wasn't a successful season.
On the flipside of it, I think when I was running Cup, kind of some of those years before Cup where I didn't run nearly as good as we ran this year. In my mind, they were great seasons. This year based on numbers alone, it's probably my best season I've ever had.
It's just crazy how your mind can kind of jumble things up. If you're not going to Victory Lane, you always feel like it's not as successful as you want it to be.
I think perspective for me has changed a lot in the last four or five weeks. I'm just happy to be competing for a championship.
Whether we win or don't, I'm happy to be here and see the transformation the 7 team has made, our guys, the shop. It's been pretty special seeing the inside transformation.

Q. How satisfying to only have one win getting to Homestead?
JUSTIN ALLGAIER: More than people will probably ever know. Last week was my first playoff win in, what, four or five years. I guess technically I'm the only driver to ever make all the playoffs, right? That's a plus. Granted, we didn't make the final four last year.
I think this season was trying mentally, but that's what made last week that much sweeter.

Q. (No microphone.)
JUSTIN ALLGAIER: You look at Joey last year, Tyler last year, they weren't the guaranteed favorite to win. I don't even think Joey, anybody looked at him and said, I think Joey is going to win the championship. He did that and then some. He absolutely obliterated the rest of the field.
Whether that happens or not, I mean, I think it's been fun. I'll be honest with you, I think it's fun to be that guy that could spoil the party. You want to be the guy that can shake things up. We're not the favorite to win. I'm okay with that. I'm going to go out there and like I said earlier, be at 100%. You can't do any more.
I can want to go 110%, 120%, go faster than I think I should be able to. That's when you start making mistakes, doing things you shouldn't do. For me it's 100%. Whatever happens happens.

Q. Those three guys are going to the Cup Series. Would it give you any satisfaction for them to never have won an Xfinity title and you be the reason?
JUSTIN ALLGAIER: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, on the flipside of it, any of those three guys that are racing on Saturday against us, if anybody were to win the title, those three guys have put in the work, they've put in the effort, mastered their craft masterfully.
If they win, hats off to them. This season has been extremely tough. To see the amount of victories they've all accumulated, it's been pretty impressive.
Regardless of what happens, there's only going to be one of us that walks away with this. Obviously I want it to be me. There's not anybody in this final four that you can count out. Everybody has done a great job this season. It's going to be fun to see who pulls it off.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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