Ashley and Justin Allgaier: A Love Story

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Justin and Ashley celebrate in Victory Lane at Chicagoland Speedway, his second
career NASCAR win.
As I sit each week and watch the Nationwide races, there is one woman that always stands out to me as that every present figure, standing beside her husband at every pre-race ceremony and often in the background during interviews. A private person by nature, Ashley Allgaier has always stood outside the spotlight and remains an enigma to many. In a rare interview I had the opportunity to learn more about the woman behind one of NASCAR's most promising drivers. Ashley opened up about her personal goals, her marriage, and the Allgaier's desire to give back.

Ashley’s Story:

Growing up in a small Illinois town of only 500 people and with her graduating class in high school containing only 48 students, Ashley knew the small town lifestyle; everyone knows everybody is some way. While growing up, participating in the normal “girlie'” things of cheerleading and gymnastics, Ashley was just like every other young girl, although she had a love for racing.

The racing stemmed from her father, Bryan, who helped out with a dirt modified race team. Ashley recalled begging her parents to take her and her brother to the track as a kid, early in the season (around April) but the night races would be too cold for young kids, so the Hansons stuck the kids with a babysitter for the evenings.

Ashley herself is currently a college student, enrolled in online courses, and is perusing a degree in business. Ashley says, “I am very hands on working with Justin Allgaier Motorsports so I want to know what is going on with our business and our contracts to make the best decisions.” As she explained, she lives in reality and knows that Justin could get hurt or even loose his ride at sometime and they need a fall back plan, so this is her fall back career.

The Love Story of Ashley and Justin: Dreams of a fifteen year-old come true

Many people have that boy or girl they meet at a young age and dream of one day marrying, for Ashley that dream happened when she met a young Justin Allgaier at the age of 15.

Recounting the story of how they first met, Ashley told me, "I have a friend, his older brother worked on Justin’s late model. Because I grew up at the track I knew who Justin was. I had thought he was really cute and kept telling my mom that I am going to marry him and being a mom, she said ok… (in that agreeing manner that all moms do) you can marry him. What I didn’t know is that I had already met him a couple of times bowling (that was a big thing in the time and area for teens to do) and once I met him I realized we had a mutual friend, Jeff. I told Jeff he had to introduce me." The two were later introduced at a hockey game by their mutual friend. Ashley went on to say, “back then AOL Instant messenger was huge, so we would IM and we started dating from like, the day we met. We literally grew up together, learned together and our relationship absolutely started from scratch. The only thing I knew about him was that he was a racecar driver, he was my age, and his eyes were gorgeous.”

Justin, Ashley with her parents Bryan and Gayle Hanson
The young love between Ashley and Justin worked, thanks in part to the support of their families. Ashley’s father Bryan often played chauffeur to the young pair as they were too young to drive to see each other for “dates” so dad was called upon to shuttle the duo.

Meeting Justin reignited Bryan’s love for racing as well, by that time he has stopped working for the dirt modified team. Bryan began working with Justin’s team and did for many years, even serving on his pit crew in the ARCA series. It became a family affair as Ashley’s brother also started working with Justin’s pit crew.

Happily married for five years now, Justin and Ashley are living out their dreams. When I spoke to Justin (Inside the Helmet of Justin Allgaier) he attributed his success to Ashley. I read her this great quote from Justin,

“We have an awesome relationship, I love my wife to death. I have said this before, but she is probably the only reason I am racing.” He continued to say “the saying that behind every man is a great woman is more true then it has ever been. I have that great woman and I am glad that she has stuck by me.”

Justin and Ashley at the 2010 Nationwide Series banquet.
I asked Ashley her response to that quote, Justin giving her the credit for where he is today. “He is honestly the sweetest guy ever, he worries about me all the time” Ashley told me of Justin’s concern, putting her first even when they are at track, he makes sure she is okay as well. “He says if it wasn’t for me, well if it wasn’t for him, I would not be who I am because I went through a lot as a teenager and he was the person I ran to.”

As I mentioned in my introduction, Ashley in one of the wives I always notice throughout the weekend, never seeming to skip a beat, she is always there by Justin’s side. Many of the NASCAR women travel the circuit steadfast, when there is a race, they are there and Ashley is one of those wives. Why? As Ashley said, “I feel like I understand racing enough to let Justin know that I understand that we travel 33 weekends of the year. I understand the dedication it takes to be competitive and follow his dreams and his dreams are my dreams." She continued to say, "people kid me and say, well I would not let him out of my sight either, but that is not why I am there. I am there because I want to support him, when he has bad days I have always told myself that I am not going to be his cheerleader, he is not going to come in the motorhome and I will tell him he did great. Maybe he didn’t, maybe he made a bad decision, whatever the case may be, I am not going to be the constant cheerleader where he feels that I am biased (although I am) but not enough to say ‘Oh honey you did so wonderful although you finished 30th.’ I want to be able to see where his head was when he was in Turn 3 and hit the wall, what was going on. He has enough cheerleaders in his life and I do not want to be one of them.” Ashley made it clear, she is there for Justin through the good and the bad, but is simply happy that Justin chooses to have her there.

Keeping in mind, Skirts and Scuffs is a female run website, I would have been remissed not to ask Ashley the most romantic thing that Justin has ever done for her. In a somewhat surprising response, Ashley said “Justin has never been this ooey gooey romantic guy. I was OK with that because I am so independent, so I want to do things for myself. I think the sweetest thing he does is allows me to pamper myself with getting massages and facials, getting my nails done, it is never a compromise for us. He always says to make sure we budget for that.” Seriously, that man is a keeper!

New Adventures: Their first home and giving back..

If you follow Ashley on Twitter (@AshleyAllgaier) you have read of the adventures of her and Justin purchasing and building a new home. Though married for a few years now, this took some convincing on Justin’s part. Ashley was being practical making sure they were secure in the move to Charlotte and had their footing in NASCAR before making such a big purchase.

Ashley and Justin got the opportunity to make all the decisions in the home, and after choosing a floor model, the process began of making the selections from countertops to carpets and windows began. The Allgaiers got to put their touches on the design of their new home making it one-of-a-kind.

Ashley and Justin just moved in, less then two weeks ago, so they are still in that whole process of adjusting to the home and unpacking as they live there. How are they dealing with the move and getting situated with their busy racing schedule? Ashley said, “now that I live here, there are boxes everywhere, this house is a disaster and I do not have enough furniture. We hired a designer out of Charlotte to help us pick out furniture, I can walk in the model and love how it’s designed but can’t go to the store and pick it out for myself.” Feeling the stress of living in boxes at this point, Ashley knows that her and Justin will overcome it all.

Another side to Ashley and Justin I learned about through the power of social media has been their goal of giving back through working with Motor Racing Outreach and Back2Back Ministries. In October they will be adventuring to Monterrey, Mexico as part of a MRO mission trip, heading to meet up with a child they have been sponsoring. “It is exciting for me that while on this mission we get to go play and love on the orphans there”, Ashley excitedly told me of this big adventure headed their way. “For us, we are both Christians and we try to walk the straight and narrow path, though it is hard at times. This will be good for us and make us appreciate our dreams and our lifestyle twenty million times more by going to Monterrey and doing God’s work there!” Joining the Allgaiers on their trip with be other NASCAR crew members and drivers. The NASCAR community can never be labeled as one who does not give back to others and that is one reason why I will always be proud to say I am a NASCAR fan!

About Back2Back Ministries and MRO: Back2Back Ministries Back2Back Ministries and Motor Racing Outreach MRO both are faith based organizations. MRO is present each week at NASCAR events, provides support and outreach to the NASCAR community. Back2Back Ministries is a non-profit organization that provides for needy children in many improvised areas of the world.

The scoop on the man they call ‘Lil Gator’:

‘Lil Gator’ is purely a play on his last name, not because he has a ferocious bite, Justin is perhaps the most mellow, calm driver you will find in the garage area. That being said, does he have a pet peeve? After an initial chuckle, Ashley replied “yes, he told me this morning, I left the cap off the toothpaste and he wasn’t really happy with me.”

This is Justin's kart, he designed it himself.
Drivers is NASCAR lead such a public life between their weekends at the track, sponsor appearances, autograph sessions and even through social media, its rare you find a gem that is something unknown about a driver. I asked Ashley, what is one thing that most people do not know about Justin? “I would have to say that not a lot of people know how artistically talented he is. He can sketch and draw better then anyone. He is a perfectionist in his artistic world. He likes to design things like helmets and racecars and in fact for MRO I am doing the Better Half Dash, so I am racing a bandolero and he is so pumped because he designed my racecar. Those are the things that excite him when we sit at home with nothing to do.”

Back to this Mrs. Ashley the racecar driver…woah! This is serious business, not some namby pamby deal. After picking up the racecar body, the team is able to wrap and decal the car. That is where Justin comes in, as he is heading the design team. (I want to see pictures come October) Explaining the race deal, there are two test nights at Charlotte Motor Speedway, in which Ashley said “I will need all two hours each night.” The exciting part for Ashley, her girlie touch to her helmet, being designed by Justin’s designer, it is going to be her favorite color – purple and the added touch will be “lots of” glitter. Ashley says, “The bad and good of it, Justin gets to spot for me. He thinks just from reading the information we have, that I do not get to talk back. He says, ‘I am going to love this, I am going to be smiling ear to ear telling you what to do and you cannot say anything.’” Patience will be the key for Ashley, but with Justin coaching her, I expect her to be in Victory Lane, no pressure!

Final thought…

As we all know, NASCAR fans are as passionate as they come, good or bad they love their driver. For a newer driver like Justin Allgaier, making his way into NASCAR, I asked Ashley how she would sway the fans into his camp. “Most young drivers that are trying to make it in Nationwide and trying to move up to the Cup level are so good with their fans. Justin will stop anytime, any place and sign an autograph. Not just sign, but he talks with the fans, he makes them feel important, not just a sign and go. Justin has not mastered the sign and walking (are there classes for that?) because he cannot stop talking. My pitch would be that he is very fan oriented, a good role model – not only does he have Christian values, he thinks before he speaks.”

Ashley told me of the numerous messages she gets on Facebook from parents who credit Justin with their son or daughter learning to take their own racing careers gracefully.

“To me he is fan friendly, a good role model and that is why I would follow Justin Allgaier,” That ringing endorsement from his loving wife alone should be an unbiased opinion to sway you to Camp Allgaier!

I would sincerely like to thank Ashley Allgaier for taking the time to speak to me, it was such a pleasure to laugh and share in her stories. In now speaking with her and Justin both, I cannot wait to see the path that their adventures in life and NASCAR take them, big things await them both.
Ashley and Justin Allgaier: A Love Story Ashley and Justin Allgaier: A Love Story Reviewed by Unknown on Saturday, September 03, 2011 Rating: 5