HScott Motorsports’ Justin Allgaier was left catching his breath after hard contact with David Gilliland during Saturday night’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Kansas Speedway, but luckily the rookie driver was able to shake the incident off.
The two got together in a nearly head-on collision on the frontstretch after AJ Allmendinger lost control of his No. 47 Chevrolet on Lap 186 of the 5-hour Energy 400. Allmendinger’s car caught the right rear of Allgaier’s car, sending him across the track and into the left front of Gilliland’s No. 38 Ford.
The vicious hit shook up both drivers and sent them to the infield care center. On Monday, Gilliland took to his personal Twitter account to say he had been cleared to compete in this weekend’s Sprint Showdown at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
While Allgaier had the breath knocked out of him, suffered a cut on his elbow and was bruised, he did not need to be medically cleared to compete.
"Obviously, David hit way harder than I hit," Allgaier said. "To hear that (he is cleared) is good."
Allgaier said Gilliland didn’t appear hurt after the incident, but could tell his fellow competitor was shaken up.
"When you take a hit like that, you can just see it on somebody," he said. "It’s amazing the advances of our car. I’m glad we’re not in the old stock car anymore. It definitely probably would have been a different outcome."
The rookie driver didn’t realize he had the wind knocked out of him until he tried to radio the crew and nothing but air came out.
"That made my wife more nervous than probably anything," Allgaier said. "Here I am, sounding like that on the radio. She actually thought I was crying. It’s better that I was out of breath than I was crying.
"It was a hard hit, but at the same time, I was really surprised after I got my breath back — you’re always worried about, ‘What if?’ To be able to pop out of that thing and head to the care center was pretty cool."
Talking with reporters at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Tuesday, Allgaier explained he was more worried about hitting the outside wall than cars coming across the track.
"When I got hit by AJ, it turned me to the right and I was more looking at the wall to see where I was going to make impact with the wall, and didn’t really think about other people coming through. I don’t know why; it didn’t really cross my mind. When David hit me, it was like, ‘Whoa, there he is.’"
Since the incident, Allgaier has watched the wreck multiple times in an attempt to see what he could have done differently. Yet despite his struggles over the last few weeks, Allgaier believes he is doing his best to avoid the wrecks, but has been involved because of circumstances beyond his control.
"The wreck at Talladega, they had one of the in-car (cameras) and the wreck started happening and you see me go out of the frame," he said. "The crash in Kansas last week, the wrecks started happening and you see me duck out of the frame. I love the fact we’re anticipating (the wreck), but you can anticipate all you want, but when what happens in Kansas happens, you’re along for the ride."
Allgaier said the most frustrating part of Saturday night’s wreck was that it ruined the team’s best run to date and a potential top-10 finish.
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