Allgaier prepping for double duty

Justin Allgaier could be a bit preoccupied right now, but it would likely be too difficult to pick just one pressing matter. He's fifth in the Nationwide Series standings -- 52 points behind leader Sam Hornish Jr. with eight races remaining -- entering Saturday's event at Chicagoland Speedway (3:30 p.m. ET, ESPN2 and WatchESPN).

His wife is recovering from kidney stones, again -- and then there's his Sprint Cup debut.

Lots to do.

Allgaier, who is in his fifth full season in NASCAR's top developmental series -- finishing as high as third and never worse than sixth -- earned his Cup opportunity when Harry Scott Jr., co-owner of his Turner Scott Motorsports Nationwide team, purchased Phoenix Racing last month and opted for a known commodity initially in the No. 51 Chevrolet. Allgaier will make his first of three Cup starts -- including Charlotte and Talladega -- on Sunday (2 p.m. ET, ESPN and WatchESPN) just as the Sprint Cup playoffs commence. Another thing to think about.

ESPN.com caught up with the 27-year-old amid all his tasks.

Q: What is the dominant emotion entering your attempt at a Sprint Cup debut?

A: Obviously, the first emotion is I'm excited. When I started racing 22 years ago, the goal was to make it to the Sprint Cup series. There's things about it that make me nervous. Obviously it being the first race of the Chase and trying to go out there and learn myself and not get in anybody else's way. I get three races to try and earn respect from the guys around me and try to learn these race cars and try to figure out what I am doing in the race car. I want to make the most of it so I can do the best job I can if anything were to happen to where I would be able to run the car more next year.

Q: Who will run the remaining seven races in the No. 51?

A: I think they have some stuff in the works, but I don't think they have it all put together.

Q: Does this feel like a tryout?

A: Not really. There's a lot of things that they are trying to put together for next year and there's a lot of things that are close, but all the pieces of the puzzle would have to come together this year before we could look at next. None of that hinges on performance. That's a plus in that regard. I don't have to try and go out and drive over my head or be "super rookie." But the big thing right now is trying to put all the pieces in play and if we can do that. I think we can. It would be great for me to be able to run full time in the Cup series next year.

Q: Would (sponsor) Brandt come with you to Cup?

A: I've been very fortunate with Brandt and their backing of me. Next year, for them, obviously, their goals are to make it to the Cup series as well in some capacity, but at the same time, the budget of what a Nationwide team would run is probably based more on what they would like to spend as far as sponsorship dollars goes, activation dollars. Trying to bridge the gap, if you will, of what it takes to do the Cup side versus the Nationwide side, looking at their partners and some of their customers and people who may be interested in getting involved. And there's other outside things too, companies, I feel we have a great package to offer someone who wants to get into the Cup series and don't want to get involved with the budget of a big powerhouse team.

Q: When did you get an inkling this could happen?

A: It actually started well after the media buzz kind of started. I had a question posed to me: If all of this would come together, would I be interested in driving it. I think the answer was "Is that even a question?" I've been very fortunate with Harry Scott Jr., to get to know him as a person and as a friend and the direction he is heading and the goals he has. I am very strongly behind him, and I want this to work out for him just as much as I do for myself. When that all kind of got put into play, I still didn't know any answers, honestly, until the day it was announced I was going to run the 51 car. We kind of finalized some things that morning, and then I knew it was for sure. It probably didn't come together quite like I thought it was going to, but at the same time, I think in some aspects that definitely helped me, because I didn't have the pressure and the stress to think about it.

Q: Does your familiarity and success at Turner Scott give you an edge on landing the job full time?

A: It's great to know who you're driving for, and obviously being a part of Turner Scott Motorsports the past couple years and being involved with Harry in some capacity, I definitely think that helps. But the other part of it is I think this whole process has put a lot of people together in some ways and put some things in place that I don't know if this hadn't happened if those friendships and relationships would have come together. No matter how it comes together, I think it's been a great, great sequence of events, and I am excited to see where it all lands.

Q: Will it be difficult for the mind to naturally wander toward the next big opportunity even as you're in the stretch of a Nationwide campaign?

A: I definitely wonder what could be, but at the same time, I am still focused on the Nationwide side and trying to win the championship. We're not out of it by any stretch. It's not going to be easy, but we're not out of it. That's the main focus at the moment. It kind of makes a lot of other things a lot easier.