Justin Allgiaer is something that the NASCAR Nationwide series has struggled to produce:a future superstar.
Allgaier in 2009 fresh off his 2008 ARCA Remax series championship came into the nationwide series having three top fives, 13 top tens, finished sixth in points and won rookie of the year honors. Now in 2010 he won his first career win at Bristol with all the cup guys with teammate and points leader Brad Keselowski finishing 2nd, Kyle Busch who has 19 cup wins, a nationwide title, and over 30 nationwide wins 10 of them this season in third, Carl Edwards with 16 cup wins, a nationwide title, and 24 nationwide wins in 4th, and Kevin Harvick the points leader in cup with 14 career wins, 2 nationwide championships and 30 wins in 5th.
He has racked up six top fives, 13 top tens, and is 4thin points with ten more races left in the season. Allgaier has shown he has what it takes to race on Sunday so what is the hold up?
In Penske's cup program he has 2004 cup champion Kurt Busch his most valuable and bankable driver. He has Brad Keselowski who is struggling in 2009 but will get better with time and be a threat.
But then you have Sam Hornish Jr. The 3 time Indycar champion and 2006 Indy 500 winner has just not cut it in NASCAR. He has since his fulltime debut in 2008 just two top fives and seven top tens. No top tens this season thus far for Hornish.
Hornish's cup career isn't for certain as he needs a sponsor for 2011 but Penske would like to keep Hornish in the fold.
Question is why?
Yes Hornish is a talented racecar driver and is one of the best Indycar drivers to ever race but he just hasn't cut it in NASCAR yet. A move back to the IRL would be best. If not perhaps go back to nationwide or trucks (see Aric Almirola).
Allgaier and his current crew chief should be moved up to Cup for the 2011 season. Turn the 77 into the 12 and it is perfect. Allgaier might not light the world on fire in his first season but he would for sure be top 20 in points getting a few top fives, and decent amount of top tens, and maybe a pole. In his second season just like in nationwide he will burst out.
Penskealso has another driver with talent waiting in the wings. The Critically acclaimed Parker Kligerman who in lesser cars has finished 9th and 13th twice this season.
Think about say in 2013 Penske's cup team has four cars consisting of Busch, Keselowski, Allgaier and Kligerman at the wheels of his cars. That would be a team that could compete with Hendrick, Gibbs, Roush, and Childress with potential.
So it is time for Penske to make the decision and a great one at that to move Allgaier into cup. It is certainly not one to regret in a few years when he will sitting at the high table with Allgaier celebrating him winning his first cup championship.