Monday, June 15, 2009

Michigan Race Recap

My part of this weekend’s race recap is going to be short and sweet for a couple of reasons. 1) I don’t have much good to say, and I’m not a negative person by nature. And 2) The majority of the scanner commentary can’t be quoted without putting content ratings on this blog.

So suffice it to say that the only thing worse than having really bad luck is having a really bad car. AJ and the 44 team fought handling issues from the time they unloaded on Friday. Then the driver managed to pull off one heck of a qualifying lap that afternoon. Saturday went from bad to worse though, and on Sunday he started 6th and then dropped like a rock.

The one thing I love about this stretch of TNT races is the extra camera views on RaceBuddy. The bad thing about watching them this weekend was that I got to see AJ hit the wall several different times, and come off the corner at nearly a 45 degree angle on way too many occasions. Every time he got in the gas the back end of the car would wiggle around like it was on roller skates. Trust me, it was BAD!!!

So instead of doing my recap this week, I’m just going to copy someone else’s homework. This came off of AJ’s website (see link at right.)

Long, Loose day for AJ in Michigan

With the 16th quickest time in first practice and then a season-best 6th spot in qualifying, expectations and hopes were high for a good finish in the LifeLock 400 at Michigan Speedway as AJ Allmendinger wheeled the #44 Stanley Tools Dodge for RPM Motorsports.

But despite the Fast Friday pace, he handle started to go off as early as Saturday in practice.

"We are just missing it right now," said AJ after Happy Hour. "We just would go back and forth-too loose, too tight. We definitely need to go back to the hauler and piece together what we can."

But unfortunately, come race time, things didn't get much better as all that speed was all for naught as something made the #44 devilishly loose, right from the get-go. AJ slipped further and further down the order. Now AJ is a guy who can handle, and maybe sometimes even enjoy, a loose race car. He's got scary-fast reactions and knows exactly where the limit is and how to get the most out of the car, hanging around that limit.

So you have to know that if the team wanted to pull the car off track and AJ thought that was the best idea, that this car had something seriously wrong with it.

"That was a tough day for us. We made a ton of changes. I think something might have broken in the back (of the car) early in the race. It was just swaying back there. It's something we will have to look at on Monday at the shop. It's disappointing. As well as we ran last week and as well as we qualified, I had hoped we would run well today."

So an ugly 39th place finish after what had been an awesome start to the weekend knocked AJ down two spots to 31st in the standings.

But now, on to Sonoma, where AJ qualified on time last year. Hopefully he'll be able to turn this thing around out in wine country....

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