AJ ALLMENDINGER (No. 44 Stanley Dodge Charger)
WHAT KIND OF RACE DO YOU EXPECT TOMORROW?
"I think that it will be typical Michigan, fast with fuel mileage strategy at the end. This is such a fun place to race with the multiple grooves, slick track surface and high banking. With the rain moving in, it's going to be interesting to see how much rubber gets washed off the track. If the sun comes out tomorrow, the early laps are going to be really tricky."
HOW IMPORTANT IS IT FOR TEAMS TO RUN WELL HERE WITH THE RACE BEING SO CLOSE TO THE AUTO MANUFACTURERS' BASE IN DETROIT?
"Especially during these tough economic times, running well here at Michigan seems to hold more of a significant meaning. All the auto manufacturers are going through some difficult times and if you get your brand in Victory Lane, it creates a boost for everyone. Trust me, we'd love to get this Stanley Dodge in the winner's circle for Richard Petty Motorsports and Dodge. Race fans buy automobiles and to have your race car...a Dodge in Victory Lane....gives everyone a sense of pride."
WHEN YOU'RE NOT IN CONTENTION FOR THE CHASE, DO YOU APPROACH RACE WEEKENDS ANY DIFFERENTLY?
"I don't. I come to the track every weekend trying to be as competitive as I can and win races. It doesn't matter if you're third or 33rd in points, you have the same objective every weekend and that's to win."
SO IS THAT THE MOTIVATION?
"I think the motivation comes from the effort that is put in every week by Richard Petty Motorsports and the people that build the cars for me. I really feel that I'm getting in really good race cars that are fast and competitive. It takes a lot hard work and sweat to get ready for these races and you don't want to let anybody down. You're motivated to win for yourself, your sponsors, your team...there's plenty of reason to get motivated every week."
WHAT ABOUT CONFIDENCE. IS CONFIDENCE TOUGH TO MAINTAIN WHEN YOU'RE NOT RUNNING WELL?
"I don't think that I'm immune from it (losing confidence), but I certainly think that the equipment that Richard Petty Motorsports puts me in allows me to stay positive every week. I don't think that you can compete at this level of motorsports without having confidence in your ability as a race car driver. This is a competitive sport. There are very talented teams and drivers in NASCAR all shooting for the same thing -- to win. When I strap into my Stanley Dodge, I'm confident in my ability as a race car driver to do the job that I'm paid to do. If you don't have confidence out here, you better look for another profession."
WHAT IS KEY FOR YOU TOMORROW?
"Having a fast race car that turns well (laughs). This is a big two-mile oval with fast corners. You have to be able to stick your nose in corner entry and trust that it's going to stick to be fast here. Being able not to lift and stay in the throttle all day really makes your job easier in the race car. If it rains, we may have some rubber get washed off the track. That will make the early laps pretty interesting. Once the track rubbers-up and all those big grooves start to fill-in, I think we'll see some good racing. Fuel mileage is always a key here at Michigan. We haven't been getting the best fuel mileage lately, so pit strategy and how the yellow (flag) falls will all be important."
Credit: Dodge Motorsports