Each week, Popular Speed will ask a different NASCAR personality 10 questions about their career, lifestyle or off-beat personality traits. Next up: NASCAR veteran, ARCA champion and Sprint Cup rookie of the year candidate, Justin Allgaier.
Popular Speed: Do you still feel the novelty and aura of getting to the race track each week or has it become a job?
Justin Allgaier: I still love what I do and while it can feel like a job, I can’t picture myself ever wanting to do something different.
PS: What first attracted you to motorsports?
JA: I was involved in racing when I was little through my dad (Mike) who worked in the ARCA Series. I wanted to be at the track and my mom, who was trying to keep me out of racing, took me to a quarter midget race when I was five to see a friend of mine race. It hooked me and I saw those kids race and I wanted to be like them too.
PS: I thought your mom was trying to keep you away from racing? (Laughs)
JA: I think she concluded that it was inevitable. Her worst fear came true. (laughs) But seriously, I don’t think anyone regrets. We had a blast with it and I still am.
PS: Who was your childhood hero?
JA: Mine was different just because I came up in the ARCA ranks and watched Ken Schrader race. He was my guy because I saw him race on Sunday in the Cup Series but he would dabble in ARCA and race anything you offered to him. He would come over to our house when I was younger when ARCA was in town and he gave me that personal link to root for him on Sundays.
PS: Do you have a bucket list track that you haven’t been able to race on yet?
JA: I look at race tracks that are on schedules that I don’t run anymore. I look at some of those Kansas quarter midget tracks. But the more I think about it, I would love to race at Laguna Seca – that corkscrew. I played that circuit on video games and it seems like such a fun course.
PS: Who would you like to pluck from a different discipline and race side-by-side against in NASCAR?
JA: You would start with a guy like Kimi Raikkonen, right? He didn’t give it the full attention that you need to but you saw the potential and he exceeded expectation. But when I look at all different sports, I think I’d rather race the guys we race now. I don’t want to race against anyone but those guys because they are the best in the world at what they do.
PS: What is your favorite all-time paint scheme?
JA: Sammy Swindell — the TMC sprint car. It was a simple paint scheme but it always stood out to me.
PS: What is your favorite on-track battle that you’ve been a part of?
JA: It wasn’t a long battle but I think of the one me and Carl (Edwards) had at Chicagoland in 2011. We had both ran out of gas but were still digging to get back to the line. We ran out coming through Turn 2 and were side-by-side, not knowing if we would make it.
PS: What is your favorite race city to visit?
JA: It’s funny because if you had asked me last week, I would have had a different answer. I really enjoyed my time in Sonoma. It is just a cool laid back atmosphere — just awesome. But I always enjoyed going to Nashville. The one thing that’s disappointing about what we do is that we go to all these amazing cities but we never have time to enjoy them because we’re there to work.
PS: What is one make-or-break moment that has defined your career?
JA: I would say for me, the ARCA championship in 2008. It didn’t affect my next contract — I had already sent it back to Penske but being in a position to be called a champion is something that really matters to me. It’s still something I put a lot of pride towards.
Read the rest of the Going the Distance NASCAR Q&A Series HERE.