Monday, December 21, 2009

AJ Allmendinger: 2009 Year in Review

There is only one thing that’s been constant for AJ Allmendinger since moving to the NASCAR Sprint Cup ranks in 2007—Change.

And the 2009 season was no different as AJ campaigned in his third full year of NASCAR Sprint Cup competition. Despite the dynamics of the season, the year was his best to date as he collected six top-ten finishes, including three in the final nine races of the season.

He also became the first-ever NASCAR Cup driver to score the highest finish for two different manufacturers in one season.

That strong close pushed him ahead of some of the biggest and most established names in the sport as he finished 24th in the year-end points. Not bad for a team that originally only planned on racing five times in 2009.

2008 saw AJ grab an opportunity with both hands as he made the most of a five race run with Evernham Motorsports, earning him a shot with the team for 2009. But once again, it was all change as a merger with Richard Petty Motorsports, a tough economic climate, and a variety of driver contract developments saw the new RPM Motorsports organization commit to just five races with the California youngster.

Working with a crew that hadn’t expected to be out racing week in and week out, the team got off to a fast start at Daytona, taking 5th in the Shootout, 10th in the Duel, and then when it counted, an outstanding third in the Daytona 500. That strong finish—and the prize money the team earned—went a long way to making the 2009 season a reality for AJ.

Ever since moving to his first professional race series in 2002, taking the money that he won and using it to race more--racing to race-- has been nothing new to AJ, whose parents took out a second mortgage on their house just to get him the chance to prove himself on a big stage after proving him self in karts with countless championships.

Once again in 2009, AJ was putting his money where his ambitions were, pouring the race winnings directly back into the race budget to help keep the #44 on the track week in and week out.

A top ten at Bristol, and another in just his second start at Infineon were some mid-season highlights as Hunt Brothers Pizza also signed on to keep the #44 on the track and in competitive form. After a crew swap with the #43 reunited AJ with his 2008 Evernham Motorsports crew chief Mike Shiplett, the year picked up even more momentum.

And with AJ being picked to move to the Ford Fusion for the final three races of the year, his 2010 season got off to a fast start as he finished 10th, 13th, and 10th in the final three events of 2009 as he got familiar with the Ford machine, adorned in traditional Petty Blue livery.

Now as the drivers, crews, and teams take a brief respite from the long and intense season, AJ is looking forward to 2010.

Highlight of 2009 for AJ:

“Making the Daytona 500. Just the process we had to go through to even get into the race. Getting down to Daytona, thinking that we were in based on the 35, and then finding out that no, we were going to have to race into it, and then going out and doing it, that was really cool. To just get into that race, you feel like you’ve already won.

“For me, to get into that race for the first time--to be up there and go through the driver introductions with that huge crowd with my parents being there, that was really cool. It was great to get that monkey off my back and get into the race. I had confidence that if we did well in the 500, that we could keep going, and we kicked everything off with that 3rd place.”

Biggest Surprise of 2009:

“We struggled a lot more on the big tracks than I think we expected to this year. Our package just didn’t work as well at places like Fontana and Vegas as we were hoping and expecting. I was also a bit surprised with how things went in the middle of the year, it was a pretty big struggle as well-we had a lot of races where we were running outside of the top 15, and we lost a lot of spots in the points. It was tough.”

“I was also pretty surprised when we went out at Texas for the first time with the Ford, and we were 44th in the first practice! But its one of those things that you know you can’t just plug in this new car and just hit everything right out of the box, and obviously we made up for our slow start in the race!”

About the strong (10th/Texas, 13th/Phoenix, 10th/Homestead) finish to 2009:

“The way we ran at the end of the year, that gave me a lot more confidence, just feeling like I belong here and can run well here against these guys. I was really proud about what we accomplished this year—taking a car and team with one of the smallest budgets out there, and ending the season ahead of a Hendrick car. You can’t complain about that. Sure I look back and can’t help but think ‘if this hadn’t happened at that track, or we had just a little bit different luck with the fuel there,’ what the points would be like. But that’s just me. I’m always trying to figure out how we can be better, but to do what we did this year was pretty cool and it was great to close out the season the way that we did. ”

About working with Mike Shiplett again:

“I really like the effort that Mike puts into what he does, and we’ve got good communication. But we are still working on it--you have to. You look at what guys like Kasey and Kenny or Jimmie and Chad have going in terms of how they work together, and you have to remember that they’ve been doing this for 6, 7 years. Mike and I still have just a handful of races working together, so that kind of thing takes time. There are still things that we are both working on to get better, and I’m really looking forward to next year to keep improving.”

About racing with Ford power:

“Its no secret-Yates cars have some good power. The tools are all there for us, and I’m excited to be there and to see what we can do. Ford is strong in the (automotive) market, and I know they are going to be a great partner and I just want to go out and do a good job for them and the whole team. And, the best thing is that for the first time I’ll have the same manufacturer in my Daytona Prototype (Michael Shank Racing Ford-Riley) for the Rolex 24 as I will have in my Cup car!”

AJ’s off-season will see him barely slow down, as he will compete in several karting events before testing and then racing in Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car competition with Michael Shank Racing ahead of the the Daytona Shootout on February 6.

About Walldinger Racing, Inc.:
Walldinger Racing was formed in 2006 to support AJ Allmendinger’s motorsports career by developing commercial opportunities and partnership programs.

AJ Allmendinger/2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup Richard Petty Motorsports:

5th / Budweiser Shootout / February 7 / #44 Valvoline Dodge
10th / Gatorade Duel / February 12 / #44 Valvoline Dodge
3rd / Daytona 500 / February 15 / #44 Valvoline Dodge
29th / Auto Club 500 / February 22 / #44 Charter Communications Dodge
33rd / Shelby 427 / March 1 / #44 Harrah’s Dodge
17th / Kobalt Tools 500 / March 8 / #44 Charter Communications Dodge
16th / Food City 500 / March 22 / #44 Charter Communications Dodge
9th / Goodys 500 / March 29 / #44 Charter Communications Dodge
34th / Samsung 500 / April 9 / #44 Super 8 Hotels Dodge
35th / Subway Fit Fresh 500 / April 18 / #44 Charter Communications Dodge
35th / Aarons 499 / April 26 / #44 Hunt Brothers Dodge
21st / Crown Royal 400 / May 2nd / #44 Paralyzed Veterans of America King's Cup Dodge
17th / Southern 500 / May 9th / #44 Best Buy Dodge
32nd / Coke 600 / May 25 / 44 Richard Petty Motorsports Dodge
29th / Autism Speaks / May 31st / #44 Auto Value/Bumper to Bumper Dodge
30th / Pocono 500 / June 7 / #44 Stanley Tools Dodge
39th / LifeLock 400 / June 14 / #44 Stanley Tools Dodge
7th / Toyota-SaveMart 350 / June 21 / #44 Best Buy Dodge
32nd / Lennox 301 / June 28 / #44 Berlin City Auto Group Dodge
17th / Coke Zero 400 / July 4 / #44 Paralyzed Veterans of America Dodge
13th / LifeLock 400 / July 11 / #44 Hunt Brothers Pizza Dodge
20th / Allstate 400 / July 26 / #44 Hunt Brothers Pizza Dodge
17th / Red Cross 500 / August 3 / #44 Valvoline Dodge
13th / Heluva Good! Glen / August 10 / #44 Stanley Tools Dodge
22nd / Carfax 400 / August 16 / #44 Super 8 Dodge
37th / Sharpie 500 / August 22 / #44 Hunt Brothers Pizza Dodge
20th / Pep Boys 500 / September 6 / #44 Hunt Brothers Pizza Dodge
23rd / Rock and Roll 400 / September 12 / #44 Paralyzed Veterans of America Dodge
25th / Sylvania 300 / September 20 / #44 Berlin City Auto Group Dodge
7th / AAA 400 / September 27 / #44 Super 8 Dodge
17th / Price Chopper 400 / October 4 / #44 Valvoline Dodge
33rd / Pepsi 500 / October 11 / #44 Dassault Systemes Dodge
23rd / Nascar Banking 500 / October 17 / #44 Best Buy Dodge
34th / Tums Fast Relief 500 / October 24 / #44 Coleman Natural Foods Dodge
33rd / Amp Energy 500 / November 1 / #44 Hunt Brothers Pizza Dodge
10th / Dickies 500 / November 8 / #44 Ford. Drive One. Ford
13th / Checker Auto 500 / November 15 / #44 Ford. Drive One. Ford
10th / Ford 400 / November 22 / #44 Ford. Drive One. Ford

Credit: Walldinger Racing, Inc.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Homestead Post-race Quotes

AJ ALLMENDINGER (No. 44 Ford Drive one. Ford Fusion)
Finished 10th
"I'm just proud of everybody on the 44 team to get two top-10s and three top-15s in three races. That's good. I wish we could've had this all year. It was a lot of fun. I thank Ford for allowing this to happen, and everybody that sponsored this 44 car to keep us going, and I'm looking forward to next year."

YOU SEEMED TO GET STRONGER AS THE RACE WORE ON. "Yeah. We just worked on it. It seemed like we got a bad set of tires one time. We didn't change anything, and then put another set of tires on and one adjustment and we were fast again. Other than that, we just kept picking them off. I wish our car had been just a little stronger late, like 10 laps to go on our tires, it really started to fade there. But. I'm proud of everybody."

WHEN YOU END A SEASON ON A HIGH NOTE LIKE THIS, DO YOU KIND OF WISH THERE WAS ANOTHER RACE NEXT WEEK, TOO, OR ARE YOU READY FOR A BREAK? "I'd rather run every week, but this team needs a break. We need to get everything in order and be stronger next year."



RICHARD PETTY (Car Owner, No. 44 Ford Drive one. Ford Fusion)

CAN YOU COMMENT ON AJ ALLMENDINGER'S THREE RACES IN A FORD? "It's been good. Hopefully, this is just what's in the future for us with Ford because he stepped up about six, eight positions by just getting into a Ford. So, hopefully, in the future, we'll be able to make it even better."

HOW IMPORTANT WAS IT TO GET THOSE THREE RACES IN BEFORE STARTING 2010? "We don't go in completely blind, just partly blind. At least we've got a little bit of experience with it. It helps the driver and the crew and they'll be able to translate it better to the rest of the crew."


KASEY KAHNE (No. 9 Budweiser Dodge Charger)
Finished 17th
"It was a hard-fought night for our Budweiser Dodge team. We fought a loose condition all night and every time that we tried to tighten it up, we made the front-end tighter and just couldn't find the balance in the car that we needed. We thought our car may change to the good when the race went from day to night, but it just didn't happen. I'm proud of all my guys. We made the Chase, finished 10th in points and were able to win two races. We got our first road course win (Sonoma) and ran strong throughout the season. Kenny (Francis, crew chief) and the guys did a great job all season. I just want to thank everyone at Budweiser and Dodge and all sponsors for their support.


REED SORENSON (No. 43 Siemens Dodge Charger)
Finished 40th
"Wow, I'm not sure what happened. We were coming to pit road and all that you can see is the guy in front of you, so I was pretty close to the 98. I saw him check up and I got on the brakes hard. Elliott (Sadler) was behind me and it looks like he got hit from behind, then he hit me from behind and I was a pinball in the middle. Elliott told me that the 96 was trying to come into the garage. It's a shame that something that stupid had to wreck this many cars."


ELLIOTT SADLER (No. 19 Best Buy Dodge Charger)
Finished 41st
"That was crazy. We were coming to pit road and the 43 looked like he stopped right in front of me. It looks like the 96 was trying to get into the garage when everyone was pitting. I'm not sure what they were doing or why they were doing that right in front of everybody. That's tough luck for our race team. That's kind of how our season has gone. I hate to end the season like this. It's just a tough deal. A lot of people from Best Buy and Stanley are here today and getting wrecked on pit road is just weird."

Credit: Ford Racing
Credit: Dodge Motorsports

Homestead Race Results

1 Denny Hamlin
2 Jeff Burton
3 Kevin Harvick
4 Kurt Busch
5 Jimmie Johnson
6 Jeff Gordon
7 Carl Edwards
8 Kyle Busch
9 Martin Truex Jr.
10 AJ Allmendinger
11 Clint Bowyer
12 Mark Martin
13 Matt Kenseth
14 Greg Biffle
15 David Reutimann
16 Bill Elliott
17 Kasey Kahne
18 Jamie McMurray
19 Casey Mears
20 Brian Vickers
21 Sam Hornish Jr.
22 Tony Stewart
23 Ryan Newman
24 Joey Logano
25 Brad Keselowski
26 Paul Menard
27 Scott Speed
28 Dale Earnhardt Jr.
29 David Gilliland
30 Michael Waltrip
31 Bobby Labonte
32 Regan Smith
33 John Andretti
34 David Ragan
35 Marcos Ambrose
36 Erik Darnell
37 Travis Kvapil
38 Juan Pablo Montoya
39 Robby Gordon
40 Reed Sorenson
41 Elliott Sadler
42 Terry Labonte
43 Michael McDowell

Friday, November 20, 2009

Homestead Post-qualifying Quotes

AJ ALLMENDINGER (No. 44 Ford. Drive one. Ford Fusion)
Qualified 13th

"I'm happy with it. Obviously the draw is gonna hurt us, so if we can stay somewhere right around the top 15, I think that'll be good. I'm just happy at Richard Petty Motorsports. We're making progress with this Ford and I'm real excited about this weekend and especially the next year. I think overall the little things that we've learned in the two races, and the stuff we'll learn here will be great for next year so we're pumped up about it and pumped up to be with Ford. We'll be ready to go."

HOW DOES IT FEEL TO DRIVE THIS CAR IN THE VINTAGE PETTY COLORS? "The tradition of it and just being able to drive for the King means so much to me. We've given it two good runs and hopefully we can end with one more great run here and have this paint job mean something to us at the end. It's an awesome car."


ELLIOTT SADLER (No. 19 Best Buy Dodge Charger)
Qualified 21st

"I'm just proud of my guys because when we unloaded our Best Buy Dodge we were just a little bit off. We made a lot of good changes in our practice this morning. It was one of the most productive practices that we've had in a while and one of our best qualifying efforts that we've had in a few months. My guys gave me a good car and we want to work on it some more tomorrow to make it right for Sunday. We want to end the season on the best possible note so that we can to make the winter time go by as good as possible."


KASEY KAHNE (No. 9 Budweiser Dodge Charger)
Qualified 25th

"Our Budweiser Dodge felt pretty good, but the car got tight in (Turns) 1 and 2 and then when I got into (Turn) 4, the front end tightened up and kicked out the back end when I tried to get back in the gas."


REED SORENSON (No. 43 Siemens Dodge Charger)
Qualified 42nd

"We just got real loose between Turns 1 and 2 trying to pick up some time on the second lap (the right rear of the 43 brushed the wall). I was doing everything I could to put down a good lap so we could get a good starting spot on Sunday. I want to go out strong as a thank you to all the guys on the 43 team, but I guess I was just trying a little too hard."

Credit: Ford Racing & Dodge Motorsports

Homestead Qualifying Results

Ford 400 Starting Lineup
1. Jimmie Johnson
2. Scott Speed
3. Marcos Ambrose
4. Mark Martin
5. Tony Stewart
6. Kevin Harvick
7. Ryan Newman
8. Greg Biffle
9. Bill Elliott
10. Clint Bowyer
11. Jamie McMurray
12. Kurt Busch
13. AJ Allmendinger
14. Casey Mears
15. Regan Smith
16. David Gilliland
17. Michael McDowell
18. Bobby Labonte
19. Martin Truex, Jr.
20. Jeff Gordon
21. Elliott Sadler
22. David Reutimann
23. Juan Pablo Montoya
24. Carl Edwards
25. Kasey Kahne
26. Jeff Burton
27. Brad Keselowski
28. Travis Kvapil
29. Sam Hornish, Jr.
30. Kyle Busch
31. Erik Darnell
32. Dale Earnhardt, Jr.
33. Brian Vickers
34. Matt Kenseth
35. Joey Logano
36. Paul Menard
37. Matt Crafton*
38. Denny Hamlin
39. Michael Waltrip
40. John Andretti
41. David Ragan
42. Reed Sorenson
43. Terry Labonte
DNQ Joe Nemechek
DNQ Dave Blaney
DNQ Mike Skinner
DNQ Max Papis
DNQ David Stremme

*Matt Crafton is practicing and qualifying the #7 car for Robby Gordon while Robby attempts to win a championship at the Baja 1000. Robby is expected to be in the car Sunday, but will have to start at the rear of the field for a driver change.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Homestead Preview

Richard Petty Motorsports posted its third consecutive top-15 finish in a Ford Fusion as AJ Allmendinger notched a 13th-place finish at Phoenix International Raceway (PIR). Elliott Sadler finished ninth at Talladega in the Petty team's Ford debut and Allmendinger finished 10th at Texas Motor Speedway. Allmendinger hopes to extend the streak this weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The Phoenix race marked Allmendinger's eighth top-15 of the 2009 season.

AJ ALLMENDINGER: "We started the season off with a five race deal and turned it into a full season based on performance. That's no small feat in today's NASCAR and especially the Sprint Cup Series. The entire Richard Petty Motorsports team has worked hard to keep this car on the track and I can't thank them enough for their efforts. We have some great people here that take a lot of pride in what they do and it shows on the racetrack. Now that we've made the switch to Ford we are just trying to race as hard as we can and gain information to take into 2010, but I think this team has come a long way this season and I look forward to getting even better in 2010."

* Richard Petty Motorsports has run three races in Ford Fusions in 2009. Elliott Sadler finished ninth at Talladega and Allmendinger finished 10th at Texas and 13th at Phoenix.

* Allmendinger ran the final five races of 2008 in the No. 10 Dodge for Gillett Evernham Motorsports (GEM) with Mike Shiplett as the crew chief.

* In his only career Sprint Cup Series start at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Allmendinger started 43rd and finished 11th in the No. 10 Dodge for GEM.

* Sunday's race marks Allmendinger's 80th start in the Sprint Cup Series and second at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

* Allmendinger's 10th-place finish at Texas was the third-best career finish for Crew Chief Mike Shiplett. The second-year crew chief, who worked with Patrick Carpentier last season, finished seventh at Dover in September with Allmendinger and ninth at Daytona with driver Reed Sorenson in February.

Credit: Richard Petty Motorsports
Photo Credit: Lynne K

Monday, November 16, 2009

Phoenix II Post-race Quotes

AJ ALLMENDINGER (No. 44 Ford Drive one. Ford Fusion)
Finished 13th

"We had a decent day in the No. 44 Ford. We were good early on and started working our way up through the field. We got just a little bit of damage on the right front just around half way and it caused our car to tighten up a lot making it hard to turn. I was really hoping for a top-10, but we came up just a little short today. So far we've been pretty good in our Fords and we're gathering information that we can hopefully use going into next year."

"I'm just proud of the guys. I thought we could've been a little bit better, but we got just a little too tight there the last two runs, and that hurt us a little bit. And it felt like I was using the right-front brake a little too hard at the end there. I was trying to catch Kyle, but, all in all, we're racing with the best guys out there right now, and that's what we should be doing every weekend. I wish we could've gotten a little bit better, but I'm still happy about it."

"It was tough to pass. It was so aero-sensitive out there. That's why we fight so hard on the re-starts is because you didn't want to let anybody by. You felt like if they got in front of you it was going to be 10 times harder to pass 'em. We were getting the car to turn just a little bit. We just kind of fought a little bit back and forth just a little loose and tight. We're getting closer, so it's good."

"Not the wrecks. I scuffed the wall once -- Me and Kasey were side by side on the re-start and he got loose and I gave him room, and then I got loose and just scuffed it. I thought that hurt the fender a little bit; that's what made us a little bit tight there. But, other than that, I was out of the mess for once."

"Yeah. A 10th and a 13th (in his two starts in a Ford), like I said, I think this is where this race team needs to begin at, we need to begin in the top-15 every week and then start building from there. You know, all of us would like to go out there and win, but can't expect that yet. We've got to go out and just keep chipping away at it. We made good points, and we've got a chance to be 23rd next week. And I think for a team that wasn't supposed to run all year, that's not too bad."


KASEY KAHNE (No. 9 Budweiser Dodge Charger)
Finished 15th
"Overall, a pretty good day for our Budweiser Dodge. Track position was so important today and we just couldn't get the car balanced like we needed to stay up front with the leaders as the race wore on. We were running inside the top 10 for nearly 150 laps and then we just fought a front-end issue that we couldn't fix. At one point in the race, I felt like I could feel every crack in the race track and with such long green flag runs today, if your car wasn't perfect, you just didn't have time under yellow flag stops to make any adjustments that you needed."


REED SORENSON (No. 43 PVA Dodge Charger)
Finished 26th
"Our Paralyzed Veterans of America Dodge just struggled with handling for most of the day. We couldn't get the car to turn. I don't know if we broke something or what, but our steering wouldn't react the way it should have. It was a tough day."


ELLIOTT SADLER (No. 19 Insignia Dodge Charger)
Finished 28th
"We struggled with handling early and couldn't do much of anything about it because the race stayed green for so long. Once we finally got a caution to work on the Insignia Dodge, we got caught up in the wreck on the restart. That pretty much put us in a tough spot the rest of the day. I'm proud of my guys for working so hard in the pits to get us back out there without losing a lot of ground, but it was just a tough day."

Phoenix II Race Results

Checker O'Reilly Auto Parts 500 Finishing Order
1 Jimmie Johnson
2 Jeff Burton
3 Denny Hamlin
4 Mark Martin
5 Martin Truex Jr.
6 Kurt Busch
7 Clint Bowyer
8 Juan Pablo Montoya
9 Jeff Gordon
10 David Reutimann
11 Marcos Ambrose
12 Kyle Busch
13 AJ Allmendinger
14 Greg Biffle
15 Kasey Kahne
16 Carl Edwards
17 Sam Hornish Jr.
18 Matt Kenseth
19 Jamie McMurray
20 Ryan Newman
21 Joey Logano
22 Robby Gordon
23 David Ragan
24 Kevin Harvick
25 Tony Stewart
26 Reed Sorenson
27 Casey Mears
28 Elliott Sadler
29 Paul Menard
30 David Gilliland
31 Erik Darnell
32 Max Papis
33 Scott Speed
34 John Andretti
35 Dale Earnhardt Jr.
36 Michael Waltrip
37 Brad Keselowski
38 Brian Vickers
39 Bobby Labonte
40 Joe Nemechek
41 Michael McDowell
42 Dave Blaney
43 Tony Raines

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Phoenix II Post-qualifying Quotes

AJ ALLMENDINGER -- No. 44 Ford Drive one. Ford Fusion
Qualified 16th

IS IT A LITTLE EASIER THE SECOND WEEK IN A FORD THAN THE FIRST? YOU PICKED UP THREE-TENTHS FROM PRACTICE. ARE YOU LEARNING SOME THINGS AS TIME GOES ON? "I think each week in these three weeks it's going to be something new -- these are three different race tracks. We've got to keep learning. It's a process. It's so hard. All of us, we just wish we could sit on the race track and it would be great, but we know the potential is there, and that's what's important. We had a great run last week, and that was a great start. Coming into this week, same thing -- we didn't start off very good, and we kept getting it better, and hopefully that will put us inside the top 20 somewhere, and from there on we can just keep building and getting better."

Credit: Ford Racing

Phoenix II Qualifying Results

Checker O'Reilly Auto Parts 500 Starting Lineup
1 Martin Truex Jr.
2 Kurt Busch
3 Jimmie Johnson
4 Kasey Kahne
5 Denny Hamlin
6 Greg Biffle
7 Kyle Busch
8 Tony Stewart
9 Casey Mears
10 Mark Martin
11 Michael Waltrip
12 Sam Hornish Jr.
13 Clint Bowyer
14 Jeff Gordon
15 David Reutimann
16 AJ Allmendinger
17 Juan Pablo Montoya
18 Dale Earnhardt Jr.
19 Brian Vickers
20 Bobby Labonte
21 Marcos Ambrose
22 Robby Gordon
23 Max Papis
24 Ryan Newman
25 Carl Edwards
26 Brad Keselowski
27 Joey Logano
28 Matt Kenseth
29 David Gilliland
30 Jamie McMurray
31 Kevin Harvick
32 Dave Blaney
33 David Ragan
34 Joe Nemechek
35 Elliott Sadler
36 Jeff Burton
37 Scott Speed
38 Michael McDowell
39 Erik Darnell
40 Reed Sorenson
41 Paul Menard
42 John Andretti
43 Tony Raines
DNQ Regan Smith
DNQ Kevin Conway
DNQ Brandon Ash

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Phoenix II Preview

Richard Petty Motorsports posted its second consecutive top-10 finish in a Ford Fusion on Sunday as AJ Allmendinger notched a 10th-place finish at Texas Motor Speedway a week after Elliott Sadler finished ninth at Talladega in the Petty team's Ford debut. Allmendinger hopes to extend the streak this weekend at Phoenix International Raceway and at the season-finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The Texas race marked Allmendinger's fifth top-10 of the 2009 season and seventh of his brief NASCAR career.

AJ ALLMENDINGER: "That was a great way to start our deal in a Ford Fusion. If we keep this up it should give us a ton of confidence going into the 2010 season. Elliott was awesome at Talladega and then we backed that up at Texas. Phoenix and Homestead can be really good for us too. We still have a ton to learn but its good to get these final races to start working on our stuff for next season. With all that has gone on this year, it's a testament to my team and everyone here at the Petty team that these guys continue to produce good cars for us to drive. We are racing hard and you saw that on Sunday."

* Due to the 50 point penalty NASCAR issued to the No. 1 car, AJ Allmendinger and Elliott Sadler both advanced one spot in the driver point standings. Sadler is now 24th and Allmendinger 25th.

* Richard Petty Motorsports has run two races in Ford Fusions in 2009. Elliott Sadler finished ninth at Talladega and Allmendinger finished 10th at Texas last weekend.

* All five of Allmendinger's Champ Car victories came in a Ford-Cosworth powered car. He won at Portland, Cleveland, Toronto, Denver and Road America in 2006.

* Sunday's race marks Allmendinger's 79th start in the Sprint Cup Series and third at PIR.

* Collectively in 2009, RPM drivers have posted two wins, nine top-fives, 24 top-10s and have led 302 laps through the first 34 points races.

* Join over 8,100 Richard Petty Motorsports fans on Facebook and view the latest news, videos and pictures.

* Crew Chief Mike Shiplett started the season with Reed Sorenson in the No. 43 before moving to the No. 44 with Allmendinger starting at Michigan-2.

* In 1969, Richard Petty made 48 out of 50 starts in a Ford. He recorded nine wins, 29 top-fives, 36 top-10s and led 2,291 laps. Petty raced a Plymouth the first two races of the season recording a win at Macon and a second-place finish at Montgomery.

* Richard Petty's last race driving a Ford entry was Dec. 2, 1969 at Texas World Speedway (College Station, Texas). Petty drove the entry to a 21st-place finish.

* Last Sunday's 10th-place finish at Texas was the third-best career finish for Crew Chief Mike Shiplett. The second-year crew chief, who worked with Patrick Carpentier last season, finished seventh at Dover in September with Allmendinger and ninth at Daytona with driver Reed Sorenson in February.

* To follow Richard Petty Motorsports drivers during the race weekend and receive up-to-the minute in-race notes, please follow @RPMotorsports on Twitter.

Credit: Richard Petty Motorsports PR

Photo Credit: Lynne K

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

WIX Filters signs onto the #43 for 2010

WIX Filters, a member of the Affinia Group family of brands, has signed on with Richard Petty Motorsports in 2010 as an associate sponsor of the #43 car in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. In addition, WIX is offering their customers the unique opportunity to join the WIX team to cheer the #43 car in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Banking 500 in October 2010 and the ability to treat their best customers or salespeople to a once in a lifetime race weekend.

The associate sponsorship with Richard Petty Motorsports provides WIX secondary brand placement on the #43 car, and driver and pit crew suits, pit box and car hauler for the entire 2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series schedule. It also puts WIX as the primary sponsor of the NASCAR Sprint Cup paint scheme for the October 2010 NASCAR Banking 500 at Charlotte.

“It’s great to have WIX on board for the 2010 season as an associate sponsor of the #43 car for the entire NASCAR Sprint Cup season,” said Richard Petty, owner of Richard Petty Motorsports and long time partner of WIX Filters. “We’ve been racing with WIX Filters since the 1960s and our relationship is continuing to grow almost 50 years later.”

WIX also is working closely with Richard Petty Motorsports to provide customers with a chance to get their stores nationwide exposure through the It’s Good to Be the King promotion. In addition to having their store logo displayed on the #43 WIX/Petty Motorsports Sprint Cup car, five regional winners (four USA, one Canada) will receive a week-long local marketing campaign complete with a WIX mobile marketing event at their stores. The stores’ owners and their key customers or sales people also will attend the 2010 NASCAR Banking 500 to watch the #43 WIX/Petty Motorsports Sprint Cup car from the King’s personal turn-one condo.

“WIX will always look for creative ways to bring added benefits to our customers, through new products, engineering leadership and promotions,” said Jeff Blocher, brand manager for WIX Filters. “The It’s Good to Be the King promotion provides our customers with an opportunity to get broad brand exposure at a NASCAR event and more importantly, an opportunity to bring it back to their local markets, plus complete with race-day treatment that’s fit for a king.”

Since 1939, Wix® Filters has been an innovator in filtration products. WIX designs, manufactures and distributes products for automotive, diesel, agricultural, industrial and specialty filter markets. Its product line includes oil, air, cabin interior, fuel, coolant, transmission and hydraulic filters for automobiles, trucks and off-road equipment. WIX, a member of the Affinia family of brands, is the number one filter in NASCAR and an exclusive NASCAR Performance Product. Its NASCAR relationship also includes the WIX Filters Lap Leader Award, which recognizes the drivers leading the most laps in each race. For more information, visit

Affinia Group Inc. is an innovative global leader in the design, manufacture, distribution and marketing of industrial grade products and services, including extensive offerings of aftermarket parts for automotive and heavy-duty vehicles. With more than $2 billion in annual revenue, Affinia has operations in North and South America, Europe, Asia and India. For more information, visit

Contact: Jeff Blocher John Mader
WIX Filters Wray Ward
704-869-3383 704-926-1316

Credit - Camp and Associates

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

AJ Allmendinger Ford Interview

AJ Allmendinger, driver of the No. 44 Ford. Drive one. Ford Fusion is coming off a 10th-place finish last weekend at Texas in his Ford debut with Richard Petty Motorsports. Allmendinger, who will be driving the final two races in a Ford as well, spoke about joining the manufacturer full-time in 2010.

"I guess it's a small world in racing and everything always seems to come full circle. It was great because in Champ Car in 2004, I actually started in 2003, but the Champ Car Series just went to one engine manufacturer and it was a Ford Cosworth, so we have good memories of racing Fords. Now if we could just get these Cup engines turbo-charged we'd be sweet. It would be great, but there are a lot of fond memories and, obviously, in 2006 we got on that roll and won five out of nine and kind of left on a hot streak. So it's exciting for me to be able to come back and experience being a part of the Ford family again, and I think people don't really notice it because we were just one engine manufacturer there and it wasn't that main competition level, but the Ford Cosworth people were fantastic and I look forward to the same here."

"We want to learn. It's not as easy as just pulling the sticker off the car from a Dodge and putting it on as a Ford and just putting a new motor in the car. You've got to change the front of the car and change the rear of the car a little bit to match what the Ford template is, and I think that's really just want we've got to learn. The team built a brand-new car for Texas and we've got a car ready for Phoenix as well, but there is a learning curve. In a perfect world, you just want to go throw it on the race track and go, 'There's that Ford power. Everything feels great. The car is handling great. We're gonna go win.' But it's not that easy because the competition is so tough, so I think in these last couple of races we want to learn a lot. Obviously, we want to run well, but we just want to build a notebook going into next year and that's really what it's all about. We've got a great opportunity to learn and be ready for Daytona and really start the season when this 43 team next year will have had time to work together. We'll have had about 10 races and that will be important, but, no matter what, I'd still like to go out there and average in the top 15 these last three races and hopefully get a couple of top-10s and have something to be excited about in the off season."

"I've experienced a lot of change in Cup in three years. I've gone from a couple of different teams and three different manufacturers now, so I'm getting the full gauntlet of what it's like to be in Cup, but this year I have to take it as good and bad. Heck, I was only scheduled to run five or eight races this year and we've run the full season. We had to be out of the top 35 in points at the start of the season and now we're solidly in. We're 26th, but, at the same time, I know we could have been better. There's just a lot of little stuff like getting caught up in wrecks and little things that have happened that have cost us maybe being in the top 20 in points. I really feel like that's where we should be for a full season and where we could have been, but, at the same time, we had to switch teams during the year when the 43 and the 44 teams switched. I got to work with Mike Shiplett and the guys last year when I came over to the team, but we were split apart at the beginning of this year and now we're back together, so it's just a lot of stuff that we've learned. All in all, I can't complain. I've run the full season and, like I said, I look at these last few races that whether we move up in points or move back in points, if we can just have strong races and learn a lot going into next year, I can look at these three races as successful and that's really what I'm all about."

Credit: Ford Racing

Monday, November 9, 2009

Texas II Post-Race Quotes

AJ ALLMENDINGER (No. 44 Ford Drive One Ford Fusion)
Finished 10th
"I feel tired. That's longer than you think out there, but I'm proud of everybody on the 44 team. Obviously, the end result of a top 10 is good, but we were top 12 to top 15 all day and got a little lucky on fuel mileage. We stopped and a couple of guys ran out, so I'm just proud of everybody. We kept working hard on this car all weekend and it really showed. We started off and weren't very good on Friday and just kept picking away at it. It still wasn't perfect. We've still got to work on it, but for our first race I was just really proud of everybody."

STRATEGY AND ALL WORKED OUT FOR YOU. "When you're running decent it's easy to stay calm and just kind of keep picking away at it. That's what makes the top teams so good. They're not always perfect, but they can always just keep picking at it and that's what we did. It's something to build on."


NOTE: Richard Petty Motorsports is now 2-for-2 with Ford Racing as far as Top 10 finishes. Elliott Sadler finished 9th last week at Talladega to go with Allmendinger's 10th-place run today.


ELLIOTT SADLER (No. 19 Stanley Tools Dodge Charger)
Finished 22nd

"We struggled today trying to find the handling on this track. (Crew Chief) Wally Rogers made a great call taking the wave around and a quick yellow got us one of our laps back."


KASEY KAHNE (No. 9 Budweiser Dodge Charger)
Finished 33rd

"Overall, today was a tough day. The Budweiser team fought all day, but we ended up running out of fuel at the end. The guys did a good job of making adjustments. We just couldn't tighten it up enough to get out front and then we had an engine issue at the end."


REED SORENSON (No. 43 Valvoline Dodge Charger)
Finished 36th
"I think we cut down the right front. It turned right into the wall. I was just along for the ride. It's been a tough day."

Credit: Richard Petty Motorsports PR & Ford Racing

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Texas II Results

Dickies 500 Finishing Order
1. Kurt Busch
2. Denny Hamlin
3. Matt Kenseth
4. Mark Martin
5. Kevin Harvick
6. Tony Stewart
7. Clint Bowyer
8. Greg Biffle
9. Jeff Burton
10. AJ Allmendinger
11. Kyle Busch
12. Ryan Newman
13. Jeff Gordon
14. Martin Truex, Jr.
15. Marcos Ambrose
16. David Reutimann
17. David Ragan
18. Scott Speed
19. Joey Logano
20. Jamie McMurray
21. Casey Mears
22. Elliott Sadler
23. Michael Waltrip
24. John Andretti
25. Dale Earnhardt, Jr.
26. Brian Vickers
27. Robby Gordon
28. David Gilliland
29. Paul Menard
30. Erik Darnell
31. Bobby Labonte
32. Regan Smith
33. Kasey Kahne
34. Bill Elliott
35. Brad Keselowski
36. Reed Sorenson
37. Juan Pablo Montoya
38. Jimmie Johnson
39. Carl Edwards
40. Sam Hornish, Jr.
41. Michael McDowell
42. Joe Nemechek
43. Mike Skinner

Friday, November 6, 2009

Texas II Qualifying Quotes

KASEY KAHNE (No. 9 Budweiser Dodge Charger)
Starting 2nd
“It was a really good lap. We made some gains from practice in our Budweiser Dodge. Everything was perfect there. I felt like I was really quick in (Turns) 1 and 2, and might have given up just a touch in Turns 3 and 4. It was still a great lap. It should be a top-five, hopefully a pole. It was quick in practice. We just needed a touch more and Kenny Francis (crew chief) and the team gave it to me. The engine is running awesome. It just felt really good. I was on the track. I could feel the race track around the whole corner and down the straightaways. It was really about all I had.”

ARE YOU RUNNING THE DODGE R6 ENGINE THIS WEEKEND? “Yes. We’re running the R6. They had the latest version at Charlotte and that’s when I started to run well again. We ran the R5 for a little bit. We ran the R6 back in Charlotte; it was awesome in Charlotte and good again today. I’m looking forward to this weekend. We’ve made some really nice gains in our engine shop here the last few months.”

TODAY WAS THE SECOND-FASTEST QUALIFYING SPEED THAT WE’VE HAD THIS YEAR IN CUP. ARE YOU COMFORTABLE WITH THOSE SPEEDS AND HOW MUCH WILL THE SPEEDS FALL OFF IN RACE TRIM? “They’ll fall off a lot. The weather looks good for Sunday and we’re going to be racing when it’s warm out, so the speeds will fall off a lot. You won’t see anything near what we just ran in qualifying trim.

“For qualifying, I enjoy going as fast as we can go. We qualified pretty good in Charlotte for the night race and good again today. We weren’t first, but we’re definitely up there. Hopefully we can figure out our car tomorrow and have a great chance shot at winning on Sunday.”

AJ ALLMENDINGER (No. 44 Ford Drive One Ford Fusion)
Starting 17th
“I got a little loose coming to the green which killed our momentum. Unfortunately that hurt our qualifying time pretty bad. We have a good car and the Ford Drive One retro scheme looks amazing. We’ll work on it more tomorrow and we should be good once the race starts.”

REED SORENSON (No. 43 Valvoline Dodge Charger)
Starting 18th
“I think the draw is going to hurt us pretty bad because the sun is going down and the track will be faster. We picked up time from practice and that’s all you can ask for. Hopefully, the draw doesn’t hurt as bad as we think it’s going too. The track is gaining a lot of grip and the sun is going down fast. Hopefully, that won’t hurt us too bad. We made some improvements from our last qualifying run. We spent the first 40 minutes in race trim this morning and felt like it was pretty good so we’re excited about tomorrow.”

ELLIOTT SADLER (No. 19 Stanley Dodge Charger)
Starting 33rd
“I think going out early is going to hurt us. I would like to have it back and run it again. I got too aggressive in the middle of Turns 1 and 2 and got to pushing off 2. I probably lost a lot of my speed there. We’ll see where that puts us. We’ve got 500 miles on Sunday. The car is pretty comfortable to drive. I think we can adjust on it and make it better as the weekend goes.”

Texas II Qualifying Results

Dickies 500 Starting Lineup
1. Jeff Gordon
2. Kasey Kahne
3. Kurt Busch
4. Tony Stewart
5. Kyle Busch
6. Carl Edwards
7. Mark Martin
8. Greg Biffle
9. Dale Earnhardt, Jr.
10. Clint Bowyer
11. Sam Hornish, Jr.
12. Jimmie Johnson
13. David Reutimann
14. Joey Logano
15. Brian Vickers
16. AJ Allmendinger
17. David Ragan
18. Reed Sorenson
19. Marcos Ambrose
20. Juan Pablo Montoya
21. David Gilliland
22. Jamie McMurray
23. Mike Skinner
24. Kevin Harvick
25. Denny Hamlin
26. Ryan Newman
27. Martin Truex, Jr.
28. Bobby Labonte
29. Robby Gordon
30. Matt Kenseth
31. Scott Speed
32. Regan Smith
33. Elliott Sadler
34. Joe Nemecheck
35. Brad Keseloski
36. Casey Mears
37. Michael McDowell
38. Erik Darnell
39. Paul Menard
40. Michael Waltrip
41. John Andretti
42. Jeff Burton
43. Bill Elliott
DNQ Tony Raines
DNQ Dave Blaney
DNQ Max Papis
DNQ Mike Bliss

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Texas II Preview

AJ Allmendinger makes his Ford Racing debut this weekend at Texas Motor Speedway. The Richard Petty Motorsports driver will race the remaining three races of the 2009 season in a Ford Fusion. Race fans will recognize the familiar “Petty Blue” and red paint scheme on No. 44 for the rest of the season. Last week at Talladega, Elliott Sadler drove a Ford to a ninth-place finish. Allmendinger will be the only Petty driver in a Ford in any of the remaining 2009 races.

AJ ALLMENDINGER: “This is exciting stuff. It’s like a new beginning for Richard Petty Motorsports. Whenever you do something new you are a little bit excited and a little bit nervous because you haven't done it before. Elliott drove a Ford for us at Talladega last week and everyone was really positive about the experience. It’s our turn this week tire testing a Ford in Daytona and we’ll drive one at Phoenix and Homestead as well.

“For us these next three weeks are just learning about what a Ford likes and dislikes as far as chassis setup and engine tuning. Nothing beats experience in this sport and the only way you get experience is by just doing it. So we are starting our learning curve this week and hopefully we will be a little bit further ahead for next season by doing this. We’re running the “King’s” old paint scheme with the Ford logo for the rest of the season. That might be the best paint scheme in racing. So it’s familiar paint but a new car this weekend. Like I said, Elliott ran great in a Ford in Talladega, now it’s our turn.”

*Ford’s win at Talladega was its 595th victory in Sprint Cup racing. Ford owns 14 manufacturer titles.

*Sunday’s race marks Allmendinger’s 78th start in the Sprint Cup series and fourth at Texas. He owns four top-10 finishes in 2009. He finished third in the Daytona 500 , seventh at Infineon and Dover and ninth at Martinsville.

*FOLLOW US ON TWITTER: Follow Allmendinger and other Petty drivers at @rpmotorsports on Twitter. Also follow Ford Racing @fordracing

*In 1969, Richard Petty made 48 out of 50 starts in a Ford. He recorded nine wins, 29 top-fives, 36 top-10s and led 2,291 laps. Petty raced a Plymouth the first two races of the season recording a win at Macon and a second-place finish at Montgomery.

*Richard Petty’s last race driving a Ford entry was Dec. 2, 1969 at Texas World Speedway (College Station, Texas). Petty drove the entry to a 21st-place finish.

Credit: Richard Petty Motorsports PR

Monday, November 2, 2009

Talladega II Post-race Quotes

KASEY KAHNE (No. 9 Budweiser Dodge Charger)
Finished 2nd

"The team did a good job with our Budweiser Dodge. We had a good handling car, but lost the draft a couple of times. We needed to be in the middle of the draft. (Brian) Vickers was pushing me really hard there before the caution. I was just in the right place at the right time.

"It unfolded well for us at the end. If we got back in the pack, we'd lose the draft. We needed to have cars around us and tried to keep cars behind us mainly. If we were able to do that, we could race pretty decent. The car handled good which I think everybody's car handled good here. We just kind of shot up through there, had great track position on that restart and ran second. It was good for our Budweiser team."

WHY DO YOU THINK IT GOT REALLY CRAZY THERE AT THE END? "When all these cars are bunched up, just one little move by one car and the other guy moves the other way to block or just to go in another gap and that closes, the others wreck. That's just this type of racing and I think everybody understands that. It's happened at Daytona plenty of times. It's happened here. Or you just get up on the wall and kind of go until about 10 cars decide that it's enough of that and we want to build up a line and come back. I wait for somebody to do it because I'm not the guy that's going to jump out or I'll be the guy running 43 after that."

WHAT ABOUT THE BUMP DRAFTING IN THE CORNERS? "They (NASCAR) put a stop to it in the corners and that was it. You couldn't get all that speed built up that some of the guys were doing in practice. It seemed to work out just fine like that. I felt fine with it really. Down the straightaways you could still get behind a car and push really hard and build that speed up, that MPH and get off in the corners. I don't think there's anything wrong with pushing in the corners, but I think they (NASCAR) went there because the speeds went up so much. Myself and (Denny) Hamlin hooked up on Friday and went about six-tenths faster than the people drafting, or five-tenths. They just didn't want to see that. You could still do it on the straightaway which was fine I think."


KENNY FRANCIS (Crew Chief, No. 9 Budweiser Dodge Charger)
"The Budweiser Dodge was pretty good all day. It was an up and down day, but that's always the case here. The guys did a great job all day and unlike most Talladega races, fuel mileage played a factor there at the end."


ELLIOTT SADLER (No. 19 Stanley Tools Dodge Charger)
Finished 9th

“Man, it feels great (top-10 finish). I’m really proud of the car - it was fast and we were able to lead a couple laps, run up front and learn a lot of things that should help us for Daytona next year. I have to thank Max Jones and everybody at Yates Racing for giving me an opportunity to do this. We had a lot of fun today working with some of our future teammates. I’m proud of Jamie (McMurray), he’s a good friend of mine. Kasey (Kahne) also got a second place finish, so all around it was a good day for the Stanley car.”


REED SORENSON (No. 43 Liberty Medical Dodge Charger)
Finished 16th
"We just stayed patient throughout the day, then there at the end we lost the draft. When you do that, you lose about two seconds a lap. The yellow never came out so we couldn't get back up there and race. I don't care who you are, if you don't have someone pushing you--you can't go. I'm just glad we missed all that mess at the end."


AJ ALLMENDINGER (No. 44 Hunt Brothers Pizza Dodge Charger)
Finished 33rd
"That was a tough day for us. We got down two laps and could never get back on the lead lap. I thought we were going to get the free pass, but the race went green. It was a strange race, but for us, it was about getting a break when we needed one and it never came. We were pretty fortunate to miss the two wrecks at the end."

Credit: Dodge Motorsports

Talladega II Results

1-Jamie McMurray
2-Kasey Kahne
3-Joey Logano
4-Greg Biffle
5-Jeff Burton
6-Jimmie Johnson
7-Michael Waltrip
8-Brad Keselowski
9-Elliott Sadler
10-Bobby Labonte
11-Dale Earnhardt Jr.
12-Clint Bowyer
13-Brian Vickers
14-Carl Edwards
15-Kyle Busch
16-Reed Sorenson
17-David Ragan
18-Robert Richardson Jr.
19-Juan Montoya
20-Jeff Gordon
21-Kevin Harvick
22-David Stremme
23-John Andretti
24-Matt Kenseth
25-Casey Mears
26-David Reutimann
27-Scott Speed
28-Mark Martin
29-Max Papis
30-Kurt Busch
31-Martin Truex Jr.
32-Robby Gordon
33-AJ Allmendinger
34-Marcos Ambrose
35-Tony Stewart
36-Ryan Newman
37-Erik Darnell
38-Denny Hamlin
39-Regan Smith
40-Sam Hornish Jr.
41-Dave Blaney
42-Paul Menard
43-Joe Nemechek

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Talladega II Qualifying Results

AMP Energy 500 Starting Lineup
(Qualifying was rained out - set by rule book)

1–Jimmie Johnson
2-Mark Martin
3-Jeff Gordon
4-Tony Stewart
5-Juan Pablo Montoya
6-Kurt Busch
7-Ryan Newman
8-Greg Biffle
9-Denny Hamlin
10-Carl Edwards
11-Kasey Kahne
12-Brian Vickers
13-Kyle Busch
14-Matt Kenseth
15-Clint Bowyer
16-David Reutimann
17-Marcos Ambrose
18-Jeff Burton
19-Casey Mears
20-Joey Logano
21-Kevin Harvick
22-Jamie McMurray
23-Martin Truex Jr.
24-Dale Earnhardt Jr.
25-AJ Allmendinger
26-Elliott Sadler
27-Sam Hornish Jr.
28-David Ragan
29-Reed Sorenson
30-David Stremme
31-Erik Darnell
32-Paul Menard
33-Michael Waltrip
34-Robby Gordon
35-John Andretti
36-Scott Speed
37-Bobby Labonte
38-Brad Keselowski
39-Joe Nemechek
40-Dave Blaney
41-Robert Richardson Jr.
42-Max Papis
43-Regan Smith

Talladega II Statistics

AJ only has two starts at Talladega Superspeedway prior to this weekend's race. The #84 Red Bull entry did not qualify for either of the 2007 outings, even though AJ was one of the top 10 qualifiers for the fall race that year.

In 2008, the spring Talladega race marked AJ's return to the car after being replaced by Mike Skinner for five races. It also marked the first race with the Silver Red Bull car. And while AJ got a stellar 4th place starting spot, his status as a go or go home driver hurt the team's efforts in the race. With having to qualify on time, the team had a qualifying setup under the car which was not conducive to long runs. The team planned to take the car behind the wall on the first caution to make the 84 entry race ready. Unfortunately, AJ ended up being the first caution as a tire blew and he hit the wall.

Late in 2008 Team Red Bull made the decision to oust AJ from his ride before the end of the season, and with no other ride at the time - AJ was not in a car at all for the fall race. However, that race was the catalyst for at that time Gillett Evernham Motorsports to part ways with driver Patrick Carpentier, and ultimately led to AJ driving Pat's car for the end of the 2008 season after a one race stint in Michael Waltrip Racing's 00 car.

With good runs in the first five races of 2009 putting him solidly in the top 35, AJ had garnered the status as a locked in driver by this year's spring Dega race. AJ qualified at the back of the field in 38th position and was working his way to the front along with his teammates when an early wreck ruined his day. He finished the race in 35th position.

Running in the draft is something that takes experience to be able to do well, and while AJ had a good run at Daytona earlier this year, the four and five wide style of Dega is a whole different animal. With only two races under his belt and both of those ending very early, AJ will have to spend much of this Sunday's race getting comfortable in the draft and finding some friends to work with at the end.

Talladega Statistics

Spring 2007
Did Not Qualify

Fall 2007
Did Not Qualify

Spring 2008
Started 4th, Finished 30th

Fall 2008
Did Not Race

Spring 2009
Started 38th, Finished 35th

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Talladega II Preview

AJ Allmendinger visits Talladega Speedway--the final restrictor plate race of the 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup season--with hopes of equaling or bettering his third-place run at the season-opening Daytona 500 in February. In three restrictor plate races this season, Allmendinger has scored the 14th most points of any driver. He'll pilot the No. 44 Hunt Brothers Dodge for Richard Petty Motorsports this weekend.

AJ ALLMENDINGER: "We've run pretty well at restrictor plate tracks this season. We finished third at Daytona in February and then were pretty decent there in July, then we got caught in a wreck on lap 7 at Talladega. That's kind of the way this racing goes. If you miss the wrecks you will probably have a good day. If you don't miss the wreck it doesn't matter how fast you run. Your day will be junk."

RICHARD PETTY: "The secret to running well at Talladega is to have a fast car. I know that sounds simple but we used to go down there and get beat because we weren't fast enough. Handling doesn't matter as much as having a car that will go fast. If you do that and miss all the wrecks you'll have a pretty good day."

* Sunday's race marks Allmendinger's 77th start in the Sprint Cup series and third at Talladega.

* Allmendinger owns four top-10 finishes in 2009. He finished third at Daytona, seventh at Infineon and Dover and ninth at Martinsville.

* Allmendinger will sign autographs at the Richard Petty Motorsports souvenir hauler at 8:30 a.m. on Sunday at Talladega.

* Allmendinger will judge a Halloween costume contest at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Sprint Experience at track with Rutledge Wood and Miss Sprint.

Credit: Richard Petty Motorsports

Monday, October 26, 2009

Martinsville II Post-race Quotes

ELLIOTT SADLER (No. 19 Best Buy Dodge Charger)
Finished 21st

"It was an interesting day for sure with our Best Buy Dodge. Anytime that you start 40th at Martinsville, it's going to make for some tough sledding. We fought a race car that was tight in the center all day and couldn't get our car to turn through the middle of the corner. But I'm proud of my guys because we worked our way all the way up to third and we're running with the leaders until the car just fell off a bit."


REED SORENSON (No. 43 McDonald's Dodge Charger)
Finished 24th

"My guys never gave up today. We just couldn't get the handling down on our McDonald's Dodge. We made a ton of changes, but never could get the car where we wanted it. But we stayed out of trouble and had good stops today. We did what we needed to do."


KASEY KAHNE (No. 9 Budweiser Dodge Charger)
Finished 32nd

"It definitely wasn't our day. I can't tell you what happened when our tire went down, but the car just went around on me in Turn three and I was in the wall. We had some pretty significant damage to the fuel cell area, but the team was able to fix that. Then I just got loose a few laps later and up into the wall again. This hasn't been a great track for us, so we need to work on that. It was a pretty frustrating day."


AJ ALLMENDINGER (No. 44 Coleman Natural Foods Dodge Charger)
Finished 34th

"Not much I can say. We just got taken out today. The 20 car (Logano) crashed us. Until then we were working on the car and getting it better. Our lap times were good and we were just trying to conserve our stuff and be there at the end."

Martinsville II Race Results

Tum's Fast Relief 500 Finishing Order
1. Denny Hamlin
2. Jimmie Johnson
3. Juan Pablo Montoya
4. Kyle Busch
5. Jeff Gordon
6. Jamie McMurray
7. Ryan Newman
8. Mark Martin
9. Tony Stewart
10. Kevin Harvick
11. Brian Vickers
12. Joey Logano
13. Bobby Labonte
14. Matt Kenseth
15. Jeff Burton
16. David Reutimann
17. Kurt Busch
18. Casey Mears
19. Clint Bowyer
20. Carl Edwards
21. Elliott Sadler
22. David Ragan
23. Paul Menard
24. Reed Sorenson
25. Greg Biffle
26. John Andretti
27. Marcos Ambrose
28. Martin Truex, Jr.
29. Dale Earnhardt, Jr.
30. Michael Waltrip
31. Scott Speed
32. Kasey Kahne
33. David Stremme
34. AJ Allmendinger
35. Sterling Marlin
36. Sam Hornish, Jr.
37. Robby Gordon
38. Joe Nemechek
39. David Gilliland
40. Dave Blaney
41. Michael McDowell
42. Derrike Cope
43. Travis Kvapil

Martinsville II Post-qualifying Quotes

REED SORENSON (No. 43 McDonald's Dodge Charger)
Qualified 9th
"A good lap for our McDonald's Dodge. This is a tough place to qualify. Your tire pressures are high, brakes are hot, and it's not easy. It seems like when you qualify here, you either over-drive or under-drive the car. You have to hit your line just right and try to roll it faster through the corner. We had a good car in qualifying. It felt good in race trim this morning. We made a few changes after practice .and the car liked them."


AJ ALLMENDINGER (No. 44 Coleman Natural Foods Dodge Charger)
Qualified 16th
"The car was decent. I think that the car was better than the driver on that lap. I don't know what I was so nervous about qualifying. I remembered that I haven't been back here for qualifying for two years because it was rained out the last few times. I should have gotten a little bit more out of the car. We'll be OK. I think we're pretty good in race trim. If we don't practice tomorrow because of rain, I think that we'll have a good place to start the race on Sunday."


KASEY KAHNE (No. 9 Budweiser Dodge Charger)
Qualified 26th
"I think that I drove our Budweiser Dodge a little too hard into Turn 1 and maybe too easy in Turn 3. The car actually felt pretty good. I just messed up on my marks a little bit. It didn't run as fast as it should have, but I still think that our car is pretty fast.
"The times are so close that the smallest hiccup will cost you a bunch of time. Everyone is on the same playing field; you have to be really consistent in every lap."


ELLIOTT SADLER (No. 19 Best Buy Dodge Charger)
Starting 40th
“We’re in a tough spot for sure. Martinsville is the smallest track in the (Sprint Cup) Series so it’s easy to fall behind fast if the race starts on a long green flag run. We made a calculated risk based on an iffy weather forecast for tomorrow to work on our race setup for the Best Buy Dodge instead of our qualifying setup. Hopefully we made the right call because we have to make up a lot of ground.”

Martinsville II Qualifying Results

Tums 500 Starting Lineup
1. Ryan Newman
2. Jeff Gordon
3. Martin Truex Jr.
4. Mark Martin
5. David Reutimann
6. Casey Mears
7. Joey Logano
8. Bobby Labonte
9. Reed Sorenson
10. Kevin Harvick
11. David Stremme
12. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
13. Tony Stewart
14. David Ragan
15. Jimmie Johnson
16. AJ Allmendinger
17. Denny Hamlin
18. Scott Speed
19. Clint Bowyer
20. Greg Biffle
21. Juan Pablo Montoya
22. Jeff Burton
23. Jamie McMurray
24. Brian Vickers
25. Travis Kvapil
26. Kasey Kahne
27. John Andretti
28. Joe Nemechek
29. Carl Edwards
30. Paul Menard
31. Sam Hornish Jr.
32. Matt Kenseth
33. Robby Gordon
34. Marcos Ambrose
35. David Gilliland
36. Michael Waltrip
37. Kurt Busch
38. Sterling Marlin
39. Dave Blaney
40. Elliott Sadler
41. Kyle Busch
42. Michael McDowell
43. Derrike Cope
DNQ Josh Wise

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Martinsville II Preview

Richard Petty Motorsports' No. 44 pit crew helps its driver AJ Allmendinger every weekend on the NASCAR Sprint Cup circuit. And they do it quite well. In 2009 the team has so far claimed two Tissot Pit Road Precision awards and finished runner up in the Sprint Pit Crew Challenge in May when it worked as the No. 43 Petty team.

Now the crew wants to play a role in something more important than racing--battling breast cancer and helping kids. The crew voted last week to donate a majority of the prize money it earned through the Tissot awards and pit stop competition to the Susan G. Komen for the Cure and Victory Junction.

"You rock and roll every Sunday supporting the race team and AJ in giving him fast pit stops. But this gives us an opportunity to support the community. We wanted to do something in the fight against breast cancer. We also wanted to find a way we could give underprivileged children a chance to attend the victory junction camp and experience the great campus the Petty's have up there."

"Those guys are great. Their work in the pits are great each week but what they are doing with their winnings is really cool. I admire them. I want so bad to give them a trip to victory lane. Having their support is priceless to me."

* Allmendinger's No. 44 Dodge will carry a Coleman Natural Food paint scheme this weekend in Martinsville.

* Allmendinger has two top-15 finishes in his last two Martinsville races.

* Saturday's race marks Allmendinger's 76th start in the Sprint Cup series.

* Allmendinger owns four top-10 finishes in 2009. He finished third at Daytona, seventh at both Infineon and Dover, and ninth at Martinsville.

Credit: Richard Petty Motorsports PR

Monday, October 19, 2009

Charlotte II Post-race Quotes

KASEY KAHNE (No. 9 Budweiser Dodge Charger)
Finished 3rd
"We had a great Budweiser Dodge throughout the race. The tires we took on the last stop shook and didn't turn. I guess that was our bad set for the night. It's disappointing. We had the car to beat and the guy who beats everybody beat us tonight. Our car was as good as anything here. We just didn't get it done at the end.

YOU HAD SOME TIRE ISSUES THERE AT THE END, BUT YOU FINISHED THIRD AND MOVED UP TWO SPOTS FROM 11TH TO NINTH IN THE POINTS. HOW GOOD WAS YOUR CAR? "We had a really good Budweiser Dodge. We were up there. Matt (Kenseth) was up there and a couple other guys that seem to be there all night. Jimmie (Johnson) was one of them. We weren't good enough that final run. We were the best car at times, but the final run when it counted, we weren't. Jimmie showed up and beat us all.

RESTARTS APPEARED DIFFICULT FOR YOU. CAN YOU CLARIFY WHAT THE PROBLEM MIGHT BE? "I always have a problem when I start off the front row this whole year with restarts. I just spin my tires. I try not to give it throttle and don't spin my tires and I get pushed from behind.

CAN YOU OFFER ANY HOPE TO THE FANS OUT THERE THAT THIS THING IS NOT OVER YET? "I don't think either of us can stop him at this point as far as points go. It's definitely not over. Anything can happen the rest of the year. If it doesn't, Jimmie is the guy to beat."


REED SORENSON (No. 43 Super 8 Dodge Charger)
Finished 21st
"Our Super 8 Dodge would go from loose to tight in a blink of the eye. Just real extreme changes for no reason. I think we might have had something break in the car because it would change so fast."


AJ ALLMENDINGER (No. 44 Best Buy Dodge Charger)
Finished 23rd
"That was a tough race. We were a lot better on long runs than we were on short runs. We have to find a way to get more grip. We had our moments when the Best Buy Dodge was really good and then started to struggle."


ELLIOTT SADLER (No. 19 Stanley/Susan G. Koman Dodge Charger)
Finished 26th
"Man, I just wish we could've had a caution earlier in the race. I think we were in position for a lucky dog for almost 100 laps until the last green flag round of pit stops put us another lap down. Our Stanley/Susan G. Komen for the Cure Dodge was pretty good once we got going, but we struggled a little bit at the start of each race run. I wish we could have finished a little better for our "Lady in Pink" Brandy Hickman and also for my Mom--both of our breast cancer survivors with us tonight."

Credit: Dodge Motorsports

Charlotte II Results

Bank of America 500 Finishing Order
1. Jimmie Johnson
2. Matt Kenseth
3. Kasey Kahne
4. Jeff Gordon
5. Joey Logano
6. Clint Bowyer
7. Casey Mears
8. Kyle Busch
9. Martin Truex, Jr.
10. Kurt Busch
11. Ryan Newman
12. Brad Keselowski
13. Tony Stewart
14. Jeff Burton
15. David Reutimann
16. Greg Biffle
17. Mark Martin
18. Kevin Harvick
19. David Stremme
20. David Ragan
21. Reed Sorenson
22. Marcos Ambrose
23. AJ Allmendinger
24. Mike Bliss
25. David Gilliland
26. Elliott Sadler
27. Paul Menard
28. Scott Speed
29. Bill Elliott
30. Robby Gordon
31. Bobby Labonte
32. Michael Waltrip
33. Jamie McMurray
34. Brian Vickers
35. Juan Pablo Montoya
36. John Andretti
37. Terry Labonte
38. Dale Earnhardt, Jr.
39. Carl Edwards
40. Sam Hornish, Jr.
41. Max Papis
42. Denny Hamlin
43. Joe Nemechek

Friday, October 16, 2009

Charlotte II Post-qualifying Quotes

KASEY KAHNE (No. 9 Budweiser Dodge Charger)
Qualified 3rd

"It was a really good lap for our Budweiser Dodge. We ran right about where we were in practice earlier today. I think that I gave up a little on entry in Turn 3 and that's probably where I lost time to Jimmie (Johnson). There's a lot of grip out there. It's really fast. It's really good right now. It was a good qualifying lap for us. I wish that I had another lap."

HOW MUCH WAS IT A BENEFIT FOR THE PRACTICE TODAY TO BE AT THE SAME TIME AS THE RACE ON SATURDAY? "It's qualifying practice today. I'm actually happy that NASCAR went ahead and found time to get practice in and qualifying because I think that qualifying here is a lot of fun and it's a big part of the weekend. I'm glad (NASCAR) went ahead and stayed a little late because we got qualifying in and that's good."

ARE YOU COMFORTABLE WITH HOW FAST THE SPEEDS ARE HERE THIS WEEKEND? "Yeah, I think that the track had a lot of grip tonight. When (the track) has grip...both ends of the car...front and rear...the car is in the track. The car drove really good and that's Kenny Francis and our whole Richard Petty Motorsports team who did a nice job getting our car balanced and keep working on the car to get it to go around the track like that. Our engine program is getting better. We have one of the better engines that we've had all year tonight and it shows. I think everything is getting better and when you have a track like this with a lot of grip it's going to go fast."


AJ ALLMENDINGER (No. 44 Best Buy Dodge Charger)
Qualified 26th

"That's right about where our Best Buy Dodge was in practice. We've got a lot of practice time tomorrow to get our car better for Saturday night's race."


REED SORENSON (No. 43 Super 8 Dodge Charger)
Qualified 37th
"That wasn’t really what we had in mind for our Super 8 Dodge, but we still have all day on Friday to get it right before the race comes on Saturday night. I think we have something that we can work with and we’ll get better. We have a good car and we’ll get it back to where it needs to be by race time."


ELLIOTT SADLER (No. 19 Stanley/Susan G. Koman Dodge Charger)
Qualified 38th

"We were just a little tighter than we wanted to be. We have some ground to make up, but I'm confident that we can do it in the race. This is such a special race for me and my team because we're running the Stanley/Susan G. Komen for the Cure Dodge in honor of Stage Four breast cancer survivor Brandy Hickman. Plus, with everything that my Mom has gone through in her battle with breast cancer over the last couple years it just makes this race really special. We'll go out on Saturday night and give it all we've got to bring home a top finish."

Credit: Dodge Motorsports

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Charlotte II Qualifying Results

Bank of America 500 Starting Lineup
1. Jimmie Johnson
2. Mark Martin
3. Kasey Kahne
4. Matt Kenseth
5. Tony Stewart
6. Ryan Newman
7. Mike Bliss
8. Brad Keselowski
9. Jeff Gordon
10. Kyle Busch
11. Clint Bowyer
12. Joey Logano
13. Marcos Ambrose
14. David Gilliland
15. Kurt Busch
16. Scott Speed
17. Denny Hamlin
18. Juan Pablo Montoya
19. Robby Gordon
20. Jamie McMurray
21. David Reutimann
22. Sam Hornish, Jr.
23. Greg Biffle
24. Bobby Labonte
25. Martin Truex, Jr.
26. AJ Allmendinger
27. David Stremme
28. Carl Edwards
29. David Ragan
30. Brian Vickers
31. Paul Menard
32. Kevin Harvick
33. Michael Waltrip
34. Jeff Burton
35. Joe Nemechek
36. Bill Elliott
37. Reed Sorenson
38. Elliott Sadler
39. Dale Earnhardt, Jr.
40. Max Papis
41. John Andretti
42. Casey Mears
43. Terry Labonte (Past Champion)
DNQ Michael McDowell
DNQ Sterling Marlin
DNQ Dave Blaney
DNQ Travis Kvapil

Charlotte II Preview

AJ Allmendinger says this weekend's race in Charlotte might be the most important of the races remaining in the 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup season. The 27-year-old Californian is making his 75th Sprint Cup start this weekend in the No. 44 Best Buy Dodge. The former open-wheel standout has shown improvement with each year in the sport posting four top-10 finishes in 2009 for Richard Petty Motorsports.

ALLMENDINGER-- "This might be the biggest race we have left this season. You always want to run well no matter where we race, but just about anyone whose involved in the sport shows up at Charlotte at some point during the weekend. It's cool this will be my 75th race. It sure hasn't been easy at times but it's gone by pretty fast. I'm still learning. This is the toughest series in the world and they drivers that race here are as good as any other series. This is where I want to make my career. When you run well here you know you have beaten the best."

* Allmendinger will sign autographs at 4 p.m. on Saturday at the Petty merchandise trailer for the first 100 fans who obtain tickets.

* Fans visiting the Richard Petty Motorsports race shops in Statesville, N.C. are eligible for a 10 percent discount on souvenir merchandise if you are a Facebook or Twitter follower.

* Saturday's race marks Allmendinger's 75th start in Sprint Cup racin and his sixth race at Charlotte.

* Allmendinger's Walldinger Racing, Inc. is now officially headquartered in Charlotte.

* Allmendinger owns four top-10 finishes in 2009. He finished third at Daytona, seventh at Infineon and Dover and ninth at Martinsville.

* Allmendinger endured his first DNF of season Sunday in California. The Petty team owned only one DNF until last week at California when a multi-car accident eliminated all four cars.

Credit: Richard Petty Motorsports PR

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Fontana II Post-race Quotes

REED SORENSON (No. 43 Rosie’s Organic Chicken Dodge Charger)
Finished 31st
“That’s just a real frustrating day. We were racing in the top-15, had a shot at maybe even a top-10 and we just got caught up in that big mess. I hate that for my guys. Everyone really worked hard today and we were in position to have a good day—it just didn’t turn out that way. We’ll keep our heads up and try to do better in Charlotte.”


ELLIOTT SADLER (No. 19 Stanley Dodge Charger)
Finished 32nd
“That wasn’t the way we were hoping for that race to end. We were racing hard with a couple laps to go and I got pushed from behind by another car right into the No 88. I wish there was something that I could have done differently to change the outcome, but its one of those deals where you don’t have a lot of control. I hate it for my guys on the Stanley team—we all had a pretty impressive DNF streak going, but we couldn’t get it back out there with only six laps left.”


AJ ALLMENDINGER (No. 44 Dassault Systemes Dodge Charger)
Finished 33rd

"Eight laps to go and everyone is racing hard. We were racing hard and just were biding our time and then got caught up in that wreck. I'm proud of all my guys. When you're back in the pack you sometimes get caught up in stuff and today was our day. I saw a hole open up and could see the tunnel, see the end of it and then got hit in the right rear. That's all that it took.

"It's just a racing deal. When you run back there, you're going to get caught up in that stuff. We didn't run well today. I'm proud of everybody on our team. I'm not an easiest guy to keep calm when that happens. The guys just kept working hard. It's disappointing that we couldn't go to the finish."


KASEY KAHNE (No. 9 Budweiser Dodge Charger)
Finished 34th

"I was following the 44, so I can't see anything. He (AJ Allmendinger) turned left to miss the wreck and I hit the wreck. I never heard that there was a wreck, so I hit it. We had a top six or seven car. Kurt (Busch) screwed up and we got in his mess. From there, we got in this wreck. It's disappointing to go out of the race like that when we had a good car."


KENNY FRANCIS (Crew Chief, No. 9 Budweiser Dodge Charger)
"Our Budweiser Dodge was pretty good all day. We got our Budweiser Dodge inside the top 10 and thought that we could pass a few more cars on that restart when the 2 car got into us that just caused a chain reaction. We got all tore up, but got the car running pretty good again. We were looking for a good finish when that second wreck happened that finally knocked us out. It was a bummer of a deal to end a pretty good day."

Fontana II Results

Pepsi 500 Finishing Order
1. Jimmie Johnson
2. Jeff Gordon
3. Juan Pablo Montoya
4. Mark Martin
5. Tony Stewart
6. Carl Edwards
7. David Ragan
8. Kurt Busch
9. Clint Bowyer
10. Kevin Harvick
11. Casey Mears
12. Sam Hornish, Jr.
13. Matt Kenseth
14. Joey Logano
15. Ryan Newman
16. David Stremme
17. Michael Waltrip
18. David Reutimann
19. John Andretti
20. Greg Biffle
21. Scott Speed
22. Martin Truex, Jr.
23. Marcos Ambrose
24. Kyle Busch
25. Dale Earnhardt, Jr.
26. Bobby Labonte
27. Paul Menard
28. Regan Smith
29. Brian Vickers
30. Jeff Burton
31. Reed Sorenson
32. Elliott Sadler
33. AJ Allmendinger
34. Kasey Kahne
35. Max Papis
36. Jamie McMurray
37. Denny Hamlin
38. Robby Gordon
39. Joe Nemechek
40. Michael McDowell
41. Dave Blaney
42. David Gilliland
43. Mike Bliss

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Fontana II Post-qualifying Quotes

AJ ALLMENDINGER (No 44 Dassault Systemes Dodge Charger)
Starting 12th (Previously 13th*)
"We got real loose coming to the green which hurt me a bit. Overall, I was happy with the lap. We made the car better from practice and it seems pretty quick in race trim. It's just too bad that we got loose because it really killed our RPMs."

KASEY KAHNE (No. 9 Budweiser Dodge Charger)
Starting 25th (Previously 26th*)
"Our lap was OK in our Budweiser Dodge. I over drove Turn 1 and kind of screwed that up. I think that I was decent in (Turns) 3 & 4. I felt pretty competitive there. We picked up from where we were in practice and that will get us a little bit better. It's still not going to be much of a lap."

REED SORENSON (No. 43 Rosie’s Organic Chicken Dodge Charger)
Starting 28th (Previously 29th*)
“It was alright. We have a little different package this weekend that we’re trying out. I think that we were 19th in practice, but felt that our car was better than that to be honest. I just think we missed our qualifying setup a little bit today.”

ELLIOTT SADLER (No. 19 Stanley Dodge Charger)
Starting 39th (Previously 40th*)
"Just disappointing. The No. 19 Stanley Dodge was hitting the race track in the corner and the car wouldn't turn the way we hoped it would. We'll get back to work on it and do our best to make it better for Sunday."

*David Reutimann originally qualified 2nd, but his time was disallowed after post-qualifying inspection showed too much pressure in a rear shock. Everyone else will move up in the qualifying order, and Reutimann will start 42nd. No other penalties are expected.

Fontana II Qualifying Results

Pepsi 500 Starting Lineup

1. Denny Hamlin
2. Greg Biffle
3. Jimmie Johnson
4. Juan Pablo Montoya
5. Martin Truex, Jr.
6. Joey Logano
7. Kevin Harvick
8. Clint Bowyer
9. Mark Martin
10. Jeff Gordon
11. Carl Edwards
12. AJ Allmendinger
13. Joe Nemechek
14. David Stremme
15. Max Papis
16. Casey Mears
17. Matt Kenseth
18. Jeff Burton
19. Kyle Busch
20. Tony Stewart
21. Scott Speed
22. Sam Hornish, Jr.
23. Mike Bliss
24. Kurt Busch
25. Kasey Kahne
26. Regan Smith
27. Marcos Ambrose
28. Reed Sorenson
29. Jamie McMurray
30. David Gilliland
31. David Ragan
32. Brian Vickers
33. Dave Blaney
34. Michael Waltrip
35. Bobby Labonte
36. Ryan Newman
37. Dale Earnhardt, Jr.
38. Robby Gordon
39. Elliott Sadler
40. John Andretti
41. Paul Menard
42. David Reutimann (Originally qualified 2nd, but his time was disallowed)
43. Michael McDowell
DNQ Tony Raines
DNQ Mike Wallace

Friday, October 9, 2009

Fontana II Statistics

AJ Allmendinger has a history of great qualifying efforts at Auto Club Speedway in his home state of California. This is the track where he put in his best qualifying effort to date in the Fall race last year. He started outside of Jimmie Johnson on the front row, and capitalized on the excellent track position to stay in the top 10 for much of the race and bring the #84 Red Bull car home in 14th position.

This time around he is with a new team, but hopes for another great starting spot and an even better finish for Richard Petty Motorsports. The #44 team struggled in the February race, but have made great strides throughout the year on the intermediate tracks. AJ is carrying 3D software innovator Dassault Systemes on the car this weekend for their first foray as a primary sponsor. Hopefully he will put their car safely at the front of the field and stay there all race long.

Average starting spot - 9th
Average finish - 20th

February 2007
Did Not Qualify

September 2007
Started 18th, Finished 18th

February 2008
Did Not Qualify (Rained Out)

August 2008
Started 2nd, Finished 14th

February 2009
Started 8th, Finished 29th

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Fontana II Preview

AJ Allmendinger returns to California Speedway this weekend for the 500-mile NASCAR Sprint Cup race in Fontana. The Los Gatos, Calif. native has scored the 15th most points of any driver in the last three races. Allmendinger started second and finished 14th in this race last year. He’ll drive the No. 44 Dassault Systemes Dodge for Richard Petty Motorsports.

CALIFORNIA SPEEDWAY— “You always want to do well in front of your family and friends. That’s what this weekend will be for me out in California and the next weekend will be for everyone in our sport when we race in Charlotte. It’s like having back-to-back home games if you are a football team. At least I’ll get a few more cheers during driver introductions in California. I’ve had a little bit of success at California Speedway. Nothing spectacular, but enough to where I know we can get done what we need to get done. I’d love to qualify second again, but I’ll take anywhere in the top 15. As good as our pit stops have been of late and if we can run like I think we will then we should have a pretty good day on Sunday."

Dassault Systemes (pronounced: duh-so-Systemes) is the second largest software company in Europe specializing in software that allows companies to create in 3-D. The Petty team along with nearly all Formula One teams use the Paris-based company’s software to design cars and components in virtual reality.“If you ever get to see some of the software Dassault has created you’ll know how high tech and how cool this company really is. You can’t walk through our engineering shop without seeing the engineers working on some part of our cars in 3-D or virtual reality,” said Allmendinger.

*Sunday marks Allmendinger’s 74th start in Sprint Cup racing.

*Follow Allmendinger and other Petty drivers at @rpmotorsports on Twitter.

*In just 34 races with the Petty team, Allmendinger has posted four of his best five career finishes.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Kansas Post-race Quotes

KASEY KAHNE (No. 9 Budweiser Dodge Charger)
Finished 6th
"The Budweiser Dodge was pretty decent. We got off a little bit, but the last two runs, last 100 laps, we were a top three or four car. The two tires didn't help us at the end. We thought more would take two. It seemed to work for some earlier in the race. Looking back, we probably should have taken four. Maybe we could have been top five with four. We decided on that together. We had a good car all day. We got behind there at one point, but fought back and got the Budweiser Dodge where it needed to be. We weren't that good on restarts; it just takes my car too long to get going, so the late cautions didn't help. Other than that, we had a solid day. We've always run pretty strong in all these Chase races and have pretty good cars this time of the year. I think we should be good in the final seven races. We're definitely a ways back (in the Chase point standings), but we gained a little today. It was an all-right day. This is a really good team. They do a great job. Last week, we fought hard and got eighth. This week, we actually had a good car. It's just tough battling all those guys, they run so good. California is another good track for us, a track we're pretty good at. We'll try to be solid top-10 again."

KENNY FRANCIS (Crew Chief, No. 9 Budweiser Dodge Charger)
"We had a decent finish. The Budweiser Dodge ended up sixth. The guys worked hard today. Kasey worked hard driving the car. It came down to strategy there at the end. It's tough to know what to do. Two tires had worked good for a lot of guys all day. We hadn't tried it all day, but thought, well, let's go ahead and try it even though there were a lot of laps left. It got us up front track-position wise. We had been running third to fourth and that moved us up to second. Too many of the others took four and they just overtook us. Sixth place is a real good finish for the Budweiser Dodge. We're happy with that. We had a little problem with debris that caused the car to overheat a little early. We finally got tape off and then it run too cool. That hurt us a little bit. The guys did a real good job. The car handled pretty good all day. The motor
ran pretty good all day. All in all, it was a good day. It's tough when you get up there in front. I figured more would take two. I thought for sure some of the guys in the back would take two, but it didn't happen. That was a lot of laps to take two tires. We tried two. It was a good finish for us."

AJ ALLMENDINGER (No. 44 Valvoline Dodge Charger)
Finished 17th
"Well, as bad as we struggled in practice on Saturday, I knew we had our work cut out for us today and we didn't run too bad. We struggled at the start of every run and then it would get going. The track was pretty tough today with the seams but we got a decent finish out of it."

ELLIOTT SADLER (No. 19 Best Buy Dodge Charger)
Finished 20th

"That was some day. Our Dodge dodged wrecks all afternoon but we made it through. We are getting better and better each week. I think Wally Rodgers and I are making progress and that's showing in our results. Today was about survival. When you start 42nd and finish in the top 20 you have done something in this sport."

REED SORENSON (No. 43 McDonald's Monopoly Dodge Charger)
Finished 26th
"That was a tough race for us. We struggled with the handling. It seemed like everything we threw at it didn't help. We were just so loose at times I couldn't drive it and did all I could not to wreck. Kansas is a pretty tough track."

Credit: Richard Petty Motorsports PR

Kansas Results

Price Chopper 400 Finishing Order
1. Tony Stewart
2. Jeff Gordon
3. Greg Biffle
4. Juan Pablo Montoya
5. Denny Hamlin
6. Kasey Kahne
7. Mark Martin
8. David Reutimann
9. Jimmie Johnson
10. Carl Edwards
11. Kurt Busch
12. Kyle Busch
13. Brad Keselowski
14. Marcos Ambrose
15. Casey Mears
16. Martin Truex, Jr.
17. AJ Allmendinger
18. Sam Hornish, Jr.
19. Bill Elliott
20. Elliott Sadler
21. Clint Bowyer
22. Ryan Newman
23. Jeff Burton
24. Kevin Harvick
25. David Stremme
26. Reed Sorenson
27. Scott Speed
28. Joey Logano
29. Erik Darnell
30. Paul Menard
31. Jamie McMurray
32. Max Papis
33. John Andretti
34. Robby Gordon
35. David Ragan
36. Dale Earnhardt, Jr.
37. Brian Vickers
38. Michael Waltrip
39. Matt Kenseth
40. Dave Blaney
41. Mike Bliss
42. Joe Nemechek
43. Bobby Labonte

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Kansas Post-Qualifying Quotes

KASEY KAHNE (No. 9 Budweiser Dodge Charger)
Qualified 6th
"We picked up over a second from practice which is really good. We didn't make enough qualifying runs in practice today to really know where to be because we wanted to work on the race package for Sunday. I was bouncing a little bit too much getting into Turn 3 over the bumps and missed the corner. Otherwise, I think that we would have had a great shot at the pole."

HOW MUCH OF THAT WAS DUE TO THE WIND? "It was really the car. We just didn't make enough qualifying runs to figure out how to get the splitter off the track. It still was a really good lap. The wind didn't affect me too much."

QUALIFYING IS SO IMPORTANT HERE: "Yeah, starting in the top 10 here is awesome. I had a really good practice; we just didn't make that qualifying run which made us look bad."

WHERE DO YOU HAVE TO MAKE YOUR CAR BETTER FOR SUNDAY? "I think that it will be a lot different tomorrow if the wind isn't as bad. As of today, we just need to work on the exit of the corner."


AJ ALLMENDINGER (No 44 Valvoline Dodge Charger)
Qualified 15th
"We didn't start off really well in race trim. Hopefully, some of the things that we learned in qualifying trim will help us tomorrow. The conditions were really tough today. You really didn't know what to expect. Some guys that you expect to go really fast didn't. I may have left just a little bit out there.

I was just a little too tight in the center of the corner. Everybody on the 44 team is really working hard and it's been getting better. Hopefully, we got the monkey off our back last weekend and we can build off our qualifying run on Sunday."


REED SORENSON (No. 43 McDonald's Monopoly Dodge Charger)
Qualified 28th
"We'll be OK. Trying to figure out this track will be a key. We were OK in race trim during practice, but just fought the car all day. The pace slows down a lot here during the race. If you have a good car, you can make up some ground."


ELLIOTT SADLER (No. 19 Best Buy Dodge Charger)
Qualified 42nd
"We were just off on our qualifying setup. We didn't spend a lot of time in qualifying trim earlier in practice so it wasn't a big surprise that we were off a bit. We were pretty good in race trim in practice, so we should be okay for the race, but we have a lot of cars to pass."

Credit: Dodge Motorsports

Kansas Qualifying Results

Price Chopper 400 Starting Lineup
1. Mark Martin
2. Dale Earnhardt, Jr.
3. Brad Keselowski
4. Jamie McMurray
5. Tony Stewart
6. Kasey Kahne
7. Joe Nemechek
8. Clint Bowyer
9. Jeff Gordon
10. Scott Speed
11. Jimmie Johnson
12. Brian Vickers
13. David Reutimann
14. Juan Pablo Montoya
15. AJ Allmendinger
16. Bill Elliott
17. Carl Edwards
18. Joey Logano
19. Mike Bliss
20. Paul Menard
21. Martin Truex, Jr.
22. Denny Hamlin
23. Matt Kenseth
24. Dave Blaney
25. David Ragan
26. Bobby Labonte
27. Marcos Ambrose
28. Reed Sorenson
29. Michael Waltrip
30. Ryan Newman
31. Greg Biffle
32. David Stremme
33. Sam Hornish, Jr.
34. Kyle Busch
35. Jeff Burton
36. Casey Mears
37. Robby Gordon
38. Kevin Harvick
39. Kurt Busch
40. John Andretti
41. Erik Darnell
42. Elliott Sadler
43. Max Papis
DNQ David Gilliland
DNQ Michael McDowell
DNQ Kevin Hamlin

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Kansas Statistics

AJ only has one prior start at the multi-groove Kansas Speedway. Both Red Bull cars missed the race in 2007. However, despite never having turned more than a handful of practice laps on the 1 1/2 mile oval, AJ managed to qualify the #84 Toyota in the 14th position in 2008 and brought it home in a season best 9th place.

For those that may not remember, that outing at Kansas marked AJ's last run with the Jimmy Elledge led Red Bull team after being unceremoniously ousted from the program before season's end. Deciding not to offer AJ a contract for 2009 apparently meant the company wanted to build for the next year with incoming Cup rookie Scott Speed. So despite still having a handful of races scheduled with the team, Red Bull cut AJ from the program altogether and left him standing on the sidelines looking for a ride.

With all of that going on, AJ managed to keep true to his nature and drove his hardest to get his crew the finish they deserved. The 84 team was only 11 points ahead of the top 35 cut off going into the race, and knowing that he was no longer welcome by the company, AJ could have easily sabotaged the team's efforts by dropping the car outside that magical line. Instead, he drove the car up into the top 5 in the beginning laps of the race. Then instead of losing heart after a pit road violation sent him clear back to 29th place, AJ rallied back to a top 10 finish. His efforts put the 84 team up to 33rd place in the owner's points standings and gave them a cushion so AJ's replacement wouldn't have to qualify on time.

Now AJ is heading back to the versatile Kansas track on the heels of a strong 7th place run at Dover. After only logging two top ten finishes with Team Red Bull, the California native is now trying for his fifth top ten of the season with Richard Petty Motorsports, a team with which he has earned four of the five best finishes in his career to date. Look for AJ to be strong this weekend.