Since I was out of town, I didn't get to hear any of the radio chatter. But I did watch a recording of the race. AJ did a great job, and looked like he had the possibility of a top 10 finish. It just seemed like the car lacked speed when the field got strung out. He squeaked through a couple of close calls, and almost made it across the finish line clean. Actually, Kasey might have hit him just after the finish line. But after that it was like watching a pinball being bounced around. I'm glad that everyone came out of that race okay. It is a testament to the safety innovations made in the last 8 years.
I copied the following race recap from www.ajallmendinger.com since I didn't have my own notes to go by.
Even though he's made winning championships look easy throughout his career, AJ Allmendinger didn't really pop up on some folks radar until he took third in this year's Daytona 500.
That strong finish catapulted AJ into a whirlwind of changes as his program with Richard Petty Motorsports expanded and the kid from California has since stepped it up with some strong performances on everything from Daytona's wide-open restrictor plate runs to the twists and turns of Sonoma.
So there was some pretty good reason for optimism heading into the hot summer shootout at Daytona. And even though rain didn't give AJ the chance to qualify and the grid was set on points, a good-handling PVA.org Dodge gave him the tools to move up early in the race.
The big restrictor plate pack is a tough place to pass, but AJ's shown he can pick his spots, and his battles, and he did just that in the early going once again on Saturday night. Some good stops from the #44 Richard Petty Motorsports and AJ's controlled aggression saw him threatening for a top ten.
That effort was thwarted when AJ got hit by the car he used to race (#82), and caused damage to the right side.
So AJ's hopes of backing up his Daytona 500 result with another strong finish at the "World Center of Racing," were dashed as he got caught up in the last-lap melee, and was credited with a 17th place finish.
"Man, I'm not sure what to say about this race, or this finish. It's a good result all things considered, but I felt like we had a better car going into this. Our car started going off and getting really loose. Every time we tightened it up, we'd lose even more speed down the straight away and we didn't have much to begin with. But with the PVA guys doing such a grat job on the stops and just keeping my patience we could have pulled out a top 15, possibly a top 10. That was shot when the 82 hit us. That flattened our right side. We worked our way up some more, but man that was a crazy run across the finish line. I'm still not sure what happened, but at least we're all ok and we still managed to finish on the right side of the start/finish line this time I was we could have given the PVA a better result here on the 4th."