Thursday, August 27, 2009

Atlanta II Preview

Richard Petty Motorsports driver AJ Allmendinger has no plans for the final off weekend of the 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup season. The 27-year-old Californian plans to enjoy a peaceful weekend—if preparing and participating in two fantasy football drafts can be peaceful—around his North Carolina house before the Brett Favre fan heads to Atlanta Motor Speedway kicking off the final 12 races of the 2009 season.

Atlanta marks the first time Allmendinger and his crew chief Mike Shiplett have been back to a track together. The pair worked together in the final four races in 2008 and were reunited on Aug. 16 at Michigan.

ALLMENDINGER ON OFF WEEKEND — “I don’t have a whole lot planned. I have two fantasy football drafts this weekend so that will dominate most of my thinking and probably my time. I’m in three leagues this year. In my first draft I went with wide receivers because of where I was in the drafting order. I’m pretty pumped about it. Racing on Sundays makes it pretty tough but I work pretty hard at keeping up with all my teams.”

ATLANTA- “Atlanta is a really fast track. I’ve finished 16th, 14th and 17th in my first three races there so we’ve got the consistency thing down, now we want to get better finishes. (Crew Chief) Mike (Shiplett) and I were together last year at Atlanta and I think that experience together will pay off. There aren’t a lot of tracks that we have been to twice. It’s hard to beat experience in this sport.”

*Allmendinger plans to attend Saturday’s Alabama-Virginia Tech football game at the Georgia Dome.

*In three starts at Atlanta, Allmendinger has finished 16th, 14th and 17th.

*Allmendinger will sign autographs at his merchandise hauler at 4:30 p.m. on Sunday in Atlanta.

*For in-race Twitter updates on Allmendinger go to @rpmotorsports

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Drivor Intros from Bristol

Thanks to YouTube user Cube11679, we can now see and hear the Cup driver's introduce themselves, complete with their own handpicked theme music, at last Saturday night's Sharpie 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway. God Bless YouTube!

These are in order of how the driver's appeared according to the reverse qualifying lineup, so Joe Nemechek and Elliott Sadler kick things off in the first one. There are three or four drivers in each one, but one warning - *** Beware the ear splitting screams when Dale Earnhardt, Jr. walks out. ***

Joe Nemechek, Elliott Sadler, Denny Hamlin

John Andretti, Paul Menard, Sam Hornish, Jr.

Jeff Burton, Michael Waltrip, Tony Raines

David Stremme, Jeff Gordon, Carl Edwards, Robby Gordon, Tony Stewart

Kasey Kahne, Regan Smith, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Scott Wimmer

Marcos Ambrose, Martin Truex, Jr., David Ragan, Terry Labonte

Jimmie Johnson, Bobby Labonte, AJ Allmendinger, David Reutimann

Jamie McMurray, Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch, Brian Vickers

Kurt Busch, David Gilliland, Juan Pablo Montoya, Reed Sorenson, Ryan Newman

Joey Logano, Casey Mears, Clint Bowyer

Matt Kenseth, Dave Blaney, Scott Speed

Greg Biffle, Mark Martin

Bristol II Race Review & Weekly Ramble

The #44 Hunt Brothers Pizza Dodge Charger finished 37th in Saturday night’s Sharpie 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway after a mechanical issue with AJ’s brakes required a 48 lap visit to the garage area. After such a dour turn of events, you would think that I would be depressed about Saturday night’s results. But nothing could be further from the truth, and I want to tell you why I’m not.

First of all, AJ had a great car at Bristol. Not just a good car, but a great car. Granted, he didn’t get a chance to show it too much, but it is still a good feeling when you know that your driver is in equipment that is capable of winning races. That probably sounds like a reach to some of you who didn’t follow him Saturday night, but believe me when I say that winning could have been a possibility.

Of course it takes a lot of things to fall into place before you can hoist that trophy in Victory Lane. He might have been involved in a crash, or been more conservative on an adjustment and not gotten the car as good, or just had track position bite him in the ass with a strategy call. But that doesn’t take away from the fact that he had a great car, both before and after his unwanted visit to the garage area.

AJ didn’t qualify the #44 Dodge as well as he wanted to, but he could have done worse than a 19th place starting position. When the green flag flew, he reported that the car was tight in the corners and he was running the high line to keep up momentum. By the time the first caution came out, he had moved up to 14th place, and by lap 30 he was in the top 10.

Things were looking very promising by lap 135, and AJ was running solidly in the 12th position. Crew chief Mike Shiplett was planning on some more adjustments to help free up the car when AJ suddenly radioed in that he had a flat tire. He came in to change tires, but unbeknownst to the crew, the #44 Hunt Brothers Pizza entry had broken a right front brake rotor, which had come off and was what cut down the tire.

As AJ was forced to come into the garage to fix the brakes, I continued to listen to the communication from the garage area. The crew was calm and efficient as they quickly went about their repairs, and after changing the left front brakes because they were cracking as well, AJ was sent back out onto the track.

He quickly pulled away from the leader after coming out right in front of him, but at the time I attributed that to fresh tires. After the next caution flew and the team made some adjustments on pit road, AJ elected to move to the back of the field to stay out of the way. After letting the cars in front of him get sorted out a bit from the double file restart, he then decided to do a little racing and see how the adjustments did – in other words, using the rest of the race as a practice session.

As he picked off one car after another at the back of the field, I eventually switched my Trackpass PitCommand over so I could look at lap times. Amazingly enough, AJ was running top ten times even as he was mired in slower traffic. In fact, he stayed ahead of the leader the entire time he was on the racetrack, never once losing a lap either before or after coming out of the garage. And that is really saying something, considering he started at the back of the field on each restart.

So I’m not delusional in thinking that he had a car that was fast enough to win. In fact, on the second to the last restart AJ laid back about a half a lap when the green flag flew to see just how good the car was after all the adjustments they had made on it. He wanted to be in clean air like the leaders, and there were not enough laps left in the race to worry about getting lapped.

And guess what I saw on my Trackpass in those handful of laps before the caution flew again. He was not only as fast as Kyle Busch and Mark Martin – he was faster.

Having a really great car is just one of the reasons why I wasn’t in a bad mood after the race in Bristol, though. To say that I am extremely proud to be an AJ Allmendinger fan would be a huge understatement. His attitude after his unfortunate brake problem is the very reason why I think he is a wonderful person in addition to being a phenomenal race car driver.

Being 48 laps down with not much of a chance to salvage anything better than a thirty something place finish could have demolished the morale of the 44 team. And we all know that morale and momentum are two big factors in success week in and week out. If the team had left Bristol in poor spirits and carried that clear through the off weekend, it might affect their performance when they arrive at Atlanta.

Instead of being sullen and grouchy on the radio after leaving the garage though, AJ chose to be upbeat and salvage what they could out of the evening. Don’t get me wrong, I have heard AJ be sullen and grouchy, and even worse – say absolutely nothing on the radio after having problems. It’s only natural when you experience disappointment. But AJ showed a lot of maturity and leadership by choosing not to react that way Saturday night.

I think one of the biggest things that AJ has going for him, besides being able to wheel a race car, is his charisma. He has a very likeable demeanor and a dynamic personality that draws people in. As he has gone through the ranks of open wheel racing and now into NASCAR, he can use that to his advantage.

AJ has car owners, sponsors, team management, and a crew who all strive to give him the very best of what they have. Not just for their own benefit, but because they want that for him. And he returns that loyalty ten-fold, proven by some of the chatter on the radio. He not only pumped up his crew, but during the red flag caution it was almost like listening to a Hunt Brothers Pizza commercial on the scanner.

I believe that with an organization that has complete confidence in his abilities, and now with a crew chief that AJ has confidence in as well, there are only good things ahead for them as a group. AJ repeatedly came on the radio Saturday night and praised his crew for their hard work and for the great pit stops.

AJ also shared an objective that he wants to work towards during the remainder of the 2009 season – something to motivate the guys even more. He wants to be the best team that Richard Petty Motorsports has. To not only have the best results out of the group, but to make the best adjustments, the best strategy calls, and to have the best pit crew as well.

It’s no secret that AJ isn’t happy with twenty something finishes. I’m not sure there is a driver out there on any given weekend that is completely happy with anything other than a win. But AJ’s goal is to run consistently in the top 10 and maybe even the top 5 each week, and to finish this year inside the top 20 in points – a position that is 220 points away.

With some of the flashes of brilliance that I have seen from the #44 team, and with a new engine coming possibly as soon as Atlanta, is that goal too far to reach? I don’t think so. How about you?

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Bristol II Qualifying Quotes

REED SORENSON (No. 43 Valvoline Dodge Charger)
Qualified 10th
"It was pretty good. We were good in practice. I think we did everything right to the car for qualifying. Starting up front helps. We need the car to turn a little better in the center. We're just one or two adjustments away from being a really fast. Right now, I think we're a top 15 car. We just need to get it turning a little better in the center."


AJ ALLMENDINGER (No. 44 Hunt Brothers Pizza Dodge Charger)
Qualified 19th
"The run wasn't what we wanted. The car is close. We just need a little bit more. I would like to have been a little better than that. I thought it was going to be decent, but got a little loose in (Turns) Three and Four and lost a little there. We've got to figure out some stuff for tomorrow."


KASEY KAHNE (No. 9 Budweiser Dodge Charger)
Qualified 29th
"I've been loose every day I've raced here (he raced Wednesday night). It was the same today in qualifying. We just have to make good decisions on the setup. We need to get the car under control and maintain that throughout the race tomorrow night."


ELLIOTT SADLER (No. 19 Stanley Tools Dodge Charger)
Qualified 42nd
"That was a handful, the biggest I've had qualifying here at Bristol. We missed it somewhere. I'm not sure where. We'll try to make it better for tomorrow night. Our race setup was decent. We're going to have to use our heads tomorrow night, try to get some track position, use some pit strategy. We definitely put ourselves in a hole. We'll just have to work hard tomorrow night and see what we can do."

Credit: Dodge Motorsports

Friday, August 21, 2009

Bristol II Statistics

AJ didn't have a lot of luck at Bristol in his two years with the #84 team for Red Bull Racing. It is still one of his favorite places to race though, and has the distinction for being the track where he made his first Sprint Cup start in March of 2007.

His average start of 30th is only slightly better than his average finish of 31st. But at a track where staying out of trouble is the hardest thing to do, those numbers are less of an indicator of how he has raced, and more an indicator that trouble always seems to find him there.

In his first Bristol start with Richard Petty Motorsports in March however, AJ was able to keep his car clean and race up to the 16th position. He hopes to improve his statistics even more this Saturday night at Thunder Valley in front of a stadium filled with 150,000 fans. With wife Lynne visiting her hometown in Canada, AJ's mom Karen will be assuming the role as AJ's biggest supporter this weekend. But I have no doubts that Lynne will be cheering on from Toronto. Good luck, AJ!

Bristol Statistics
March 2007
Started 43rd, Finished 40th

August 2007
Started 43rd, Finished 35th

March 2008
Did Not Race – Mike Skinner in the 84 car

August 2008
Started 8th, Finished 34th

March 2009
Started 26th, Finished 16th

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Bristol II Preview

Richard Petty Motorsports driver AJ Allmendinger has scored the 17th most points of any driver in the last five NASCAR Sprint Cup races. He hopes that number improves Saturday night at Bristol Motor Speedway where the Hunt Brothers Dodge driver makes his fifth start on the half-mile highbanks in Tennessee. As part of Saturday’s pre-race ceremonies, the track will allow drivers to pick their own introduction songs.

BRISTOL—"Man, the Bristol night race is the coolest race of the year. The track asked me what song they wanted to play when they introduced me to the 150,000 fans there Saturday night. I thought about it all weekend at Michigan. I’m not going to announce it here. I’m afraid someone will mess with me and come up with some really uncool song. But I think I have the song I want. Bristol is like a rock concert so you can figure that my song isn’t going to be too laid back. Hey, this is the important stuff drivers think about when we aren’t thinking about shocks, springs and setups. Guess you will have to watch introductions to find out which one I pick or which songs gets put in there that I didn’t know about."

*The Petty organization hasn’t had a DNF in 144 races—the longest stretch in Sprint Cup racing.

*Allmendinger is a weekly columnist at For in-race twitter updates on Allmendinger and other Petty drivers go to @rpmotorsports.

*Allmendinger started 26th and finished 16th at Bristol in March. It was his fourth Bristol start. He owns 67 Sprint Cup races.

*The Petty team has over 2,000 twitter followers at @rpmotorsports & about 5,000 friends on Facebook at facebook/richardpettymotorsports

*Allmendinger will sign autographs at his merchandise hauler at 2:45 p.m. Saturday in Bristol.

*Allmendinger and Crew Chief Mike Shiplett worked together for 5 races in 2008 scoring the fifth most points in those races. Last week was their first race together in 2009.

Credit: Richard Petty Motorsports PR

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Music Makes the Man

Think you know a lot about your favorite driver? How about which song they would pick as their theme song. Here is a list I have compiled from a news release by Bristol Motor Speedway, and a post on Scene Daily by Jeff Gluck.

I suppose these songs are subject to change, especially since there are some repeats. I think the track should give those drivers an option to pick another song. Women don't like to show up to a party wearing the same dress as someone else. I'm sure these guys don't want to walk onstage to music the crowd has heard three times already.

AJ Allmendinger: “Going the Distance” by Cake
Marcos Ambrose: “Land Down Under” by Men at Work
John Andretti: "Fire It Up" by Black Label Society
Greg Biffle: "Boom" by P.O.D.
Dave Blaney: "Taking Care of Business" by Bachman Turner Overdrive
Clint Bowyer: “CC Rider” by Elvis Presley
Jeff Burton: “Welcome to the Jungle” by Guns n Roses
Kurt Busch: “Going the Distance” by Cake
Kyle Busch: “Amazing” by Kanye West
Dale Earnhardt, Jr.: “Thunderstruck” by AC/DC
Carl Edwards: “Jump Around” by House of Pain
David Gilliland: "Break Stuff" by Limp Bizkit
Jeff Gordon: “Start Me Up” by the Rolling Stones
Robby Gordon: "All Summer Long" by Kid Rock
Denny Hamlin: “My Time” by Fabolous
Kevin Harvick: “Party Up” by DMX
Sam Hornish, Jr.: "Fight For Your Right" by the Beastie Boys
Jimmie Johnson: “Thunderstruck” by AC/DC
Kasey Kahne: “Life On the Run” by Dierks Bentley
Matt Kenseth: “The Enemy” by Godsmack
Bobby Labonte: “Chicken Fried” by the Zac Brown Band
Terry Labonte: "Heartland" by George Strait
Joey Logano: “East Bound and Down” by Jerry Reed
Mark Martin: “For Those About to Rock” by AC/DC
Jamie McMurray: "You Shook Me All Night Long" by AC/DC
Casey Mears: “Animals” by Nickelback
Paul Menard: "Fire It Up" by Black Label Society
Juan Pablo Montoya: “All Star” by Smash Mouth
Joe Nemechek: "Life In the Fast Lane" by The Eagles
Ryan Newman: “Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy” by Big & Rich
David Ragan: “Thunderstruck” by AC/DC
Tony Raines: "Bristol Speed" by Silvergun
David Reutimann: Theme from 2001: A Space Odyssey
Elliott Sadler: Theme from 2001: A Space Odyssey
Regan Smith: "Shoots & Ladders" by Korn
Reed Sorenson: “Billie Jean” by Michael Jackson
Scott Speed: “Boom, Boom, Pow” by the Black Eyed Peas
Tony Stewart: “Bawitdaba” by Kid Rock
David Stremme: “Bawitdaba” by Kid Rock
Martin Truex, Jr.: "Sun Gonna Rise" by Citizen Cope
Brian Vickers: "This Town" by O.A.R.
Michael Waltrip: “As Good As I Once Was” by Toby Keith
Scott Wimmer: "Night Rider Theme Song"

Monday, August 17, 2009

Michigan II: RPM Race Report

* Kahne qualified 10th and finished 11th.
* Kahne had to start at the back of the field after an engine change on Friday.
* Kahne remained 8th in the championship point standings.
* Kahne was 18th with just 16 laps remaining.

KAHNE : "Overall, bringing home an 11th in our Budweiser Dodge was a great effort by everyone on this team. It was a great finish considering where we ran all day. We got the best finish that we could. The pit crew did a great job. Considering we started 43rd, we had a lot of cars that we had to pass on a very slick race track and we were able to pass a lot of cars. Kenny (Francis, crew chief) did a great job on top of the box making adjustments to try and get our Budweiser Dodge to handle better. We'll take the points and be happy to head to Bristol next weekend."

KENNY FRANCIS (Crew Chief, No. 9 Budweiser Dodge Charger)
"Our Budweiser Dodge had a decent day. It was a struggle. We ended up 11th there at the end which was kind of holding serve with the points. Obviously, we want to run better than that, but we had a little bit of adversity today by starting 43rd, but hung in there and work hard all day. I'm real proud of Kasey and the pit crew. Everybody hung in there for the full 200 laps of slipping and sliding here at Michigan."

* Allmendinger started 13th and finished 22nd.
* Allmendinger struggled with grip throughout the race.
* Struggled on short runs but excelled on long runs.
* Made up three spots in the final three laps.
* Allmendinger scraped wall in Saturday practice.

ALLMENDINGER: "I'm proud of the guys. We kept fighting. Our biggest problem, we were terrible on short runs. We'd go green and I'd fall to the back and then after about 25 laps on the tires, I could run high and make up some spots. I put us behind the eight-ball yesterday, wrecking the car. That one is on me. We'll take it and head to Bristol."

* Sadler started 34th and finished 25th.
* Went down a lap to the leaders at the 100-lap mark.
* Took waive-around on lap 117 then a caution on lap 120 allowed him to stay on lead lap the remainder of the race.
* Battled a loose car throughout the race.

SADLER : "We were loose all day long. We tried to fix it. Unfortunately, I think something broke in the Stanley Dodge. It wouldn't stay tight at all, the back end kept kicking out. We weren't able to do much with it. Unfortunately, it wasn't the day we were looking for, but we head to Bristol next week looking for a great run there."

* Sorenson qualified 40th and finished 29th.
* Suffered power steering problems that the crew spent considerable time on pit road correcting.
* Lost a lap to the leaders at halfway mark.
* Regained the lost lap at lap 139.

SORENSON: "It wasn't too good today. We were better at the end of the race which is bad because that tells you how off we were earlier in the race. I thought that we had a decent car yesterday in happy hour. It just wasn't good today."

Credit: Richard Petty Motorsports PR

Friday, August 14, 2009

Michigan II Qualifying Quotes

KASEY KAHNE (No. 9 Budweiser Dodge Charger)
Qualified 10th
"A real nice lap for our Budweiser Dodge. Despite the engine change and barely any practice time, these guys gave me a really good car. The biggest thing is to make sure that it goes through the corner and to hit my marks on the race track. That was a pretty decent lap for not having practiced today. Everything ran the way that it should, so I was happy. My guys did an awesome job like always.

ANY CONCERN ABOUT HAVING TO START AT THE REAR OF THE FIELD (engine change)? "Track position will hurt us early, but it's a long race and there is plenty of room to pass out here. Tomorrow is a big day to get the car balanced in race trim and get it running like we need it to be on Sunday."


AJ ALLMENDINGER (No. 44 Super 8 Dodge Charger)
Qualified 13th
"It was alright. I left a little bit on the table in Turns 3 and 4. We've been just a little bit free there all day. I felt like I could have gotten just a little more out of it. I guarded the car just a little bit off the corner, but overall, I'm real happy about the lap that we put down."


ELLIOTT SADLER (No. 19 Stanley Tools Dodge Charger)
Qualified 34th
"About what we expected to be honest with you. We don't spend a lot of our time working on qualifying trim and that hurts us a bit in qualifying. We keep working on our race trim setup and that has been our focus. Right now we're just trying to get our race cars better for Sunday. We knew we were going to suffer a little bit today."


REED SORENSON (No. 43 Auto Value / Bumper to Bumper Dodge Charger)
Qualified 40th
"We just missed today in qualifying trim. We'll just have to work on it in race trim tomorrow and get ready for Sunday."

Credit: Dodge Motorsports

Michigan II Qualifying Results

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

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Michigan II Preview

Richard Petty Motorsports visits Michigan International Speedway this weekend with plans to continue its streak as the only four-car team without a DNF—did not finish— in the 2009 points races. The two-car team of Stewart-Haas is the only other team to avoid a DNF this year. The Petty streak stretches to 140 starts without a DNF. Kasey Kahne’s DNF at Martinsville on Oct.19 was the team’s last.

AJ Allmendinger and the No. 44 Super 8 Dodge team hope that durability continues at Michigan where he qualified sixth in June. The 27-year-old Petty driver visits MIS with a little bit of a different look. Crew Chief Mike Shiplett and the crew that fielded the No. 43 Dodges for Reed Sorenson will begin working on the No. 44 with Allmendinger at Michigan and the rest of the 2009 season. Sam Johns and his crew that worked on the No. 44 will begin working on the No. 43 with Sorenson at Michigan.

ALLMENDINGER — “That’s a pretty impressive streak for us. I think it shows the quality of work they are doing at the Statesville (N.C.) race shop and our engine shop in Concord. This is going to be a fun weekend. We qualified sixth there last time and then had problems in the race but we know what was wrong and it won’t be an issue again. We know we can run fast there. I’m pumped about working with Mike (Shiplett) and his crew again. We went testing at Dover last week and worked real well together.

“Sammy Johns and those guys did a heck of a job getting us ready to go racing right before the season and we had some really good runs. They are going to go over with Reed (Sorenson) and we’ll pool the information and improve our teams. We’re here to win and get a jump on 2010. Mike and I want to work on everything that will make us a contender the rest of the season and hit the ground running in Daytona in February.”

* Tweet of the Week - “13th not too bad. Car was pretty good. Not great on new tires. Thank you Sammy and Wolf and the whole team for all their effort”

* Allmendinger is a weekly columnist at For in-race twitter updates on Allmendinger go to @ajdinger

* Allmendinger will sign autographs at his merchandise hauler at 10:15 a.m. on Sunday in Michigan.

* In the final fives races of 2008 when AJ Allmendinger and Crew Chief Mike Shiplett worked with each other, the team scored the 13th most points.

Credit: Richard Petty Motorsports PR

Watkins Glen Race Recap

I didn't have much to add to this. AJ had a solid day, but nothing spectacular. From

For the fifth race in a row, AJ Allmendinger scored a top-20 finish for Richard Petty Motorsports on Monday as he brought the #44 Stanley Tools Dodge home in 13th in the Heluva Good! at the Glen after starting 18th in the field. The result moved AJ up two positions in the unofficial points standings to 24th, one point ahead of Dale Jr.

AJ had been hoping to match the road course form that saw him score 7th at Sonoma in June, and he ran as high as second in the race, which was run on Monday after heavy rains postponed the race for the second time in as many weeks.

After the race, AJ tweeted to his fan club members:
"13th not too bad. Car was pretty good in the end. Not great on new tires. Thank u sammy and wolf and the whole team for all their effort..."

Next up is Michigan, where AJ qualified a strong 6th in the series previous visit to the track in June...

Watkins Glen Post Race Report

* Allmendinger started 18th and finished 13th
* Now 24th in points.
* Ran in the top 15 throughout race.
* Suffered with new tires but faster than other cars on long runs.
* No. 44 team performed quick pit stops throughout race.
* Allmendinger was second highest finishing Dodge driver.

"We went with fuel strategy and really didn't want to gamble on the yellows. It worked out well. We tried to put new tires on and it took like 15 laps for the car to come to us. We put on scuffs at the end and that was way better. That might have been the way to go. Overall, against the guys racing around us in points, it was a good day."

* Kahne started 12th and finished 17th
* Kahne dropped a spot to eighth in the championship point standings.
* On lap 63, Kahne and Sam Hornish made contact triggering an accident involving hard crashes for Hornish, Jeff Burton and Jeff Gordon.
* All drivers were unhurt and Kahne's Dodge suffered minimal damage.
* Race was red flagged for 19 minutes.

"The Budweiser Dodge was pretty good today. We just fought loose all day long. I feel really bad about that deal there with Sam (Hornish). I went down into the corner and got loose and he was there. I'm not sure he even knew I was there but it's not good for those guys and I know 'sorry' doesn't fix it. Overall, that's the best I could do today. It's tough to pass here, especially when you are back in the middle of the pack."

* Sorenson started 29th and finished 31st.
* Racing on lap 42 when Dale Earnhardt Jr. suffered brake failure and slammed into Sorenson sending both off the track into tire barrier.
* Sorenson made repairs on pit lane and returned to the track.
* Eventually forced to garage for repairs and returned in the closing laps.
* Gained three spots on the final lap because of work by crew to return him to the track at the end of the race.

"We were biding our time today and just happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time. I think (Dale Earnhardt) Jr. had a brake problem and just got us; nothing he could do. The crew worked really hard and got the car back on the track and I think we made up three positions in the final lap. We didn't have a good day in the McDonald's Dodge, but we made it better than what it could have been."

* Sadler started 19th and finished 32nd .
* Ran in top 15 for most of the race.
* Wheel hop on lap 70 sent No. 19 into a spin. Patrick Carpentier was tapped by another car and slammed into left rear of the No. 19.
* Went to garage for repairs before returning to the track in the closing laps.
* Finished 12 laps behind leader.

"I just messed up. It was 100 percent driver error. The car wheel-hopped getting into (Turn) One. I'm sorry for my guys and Best Buy. I should have had at least a 13th or 14th like we usually run here. I put us in a hole today. Our pit strategy was good. We were exactly where we wanted to be. I'm man enough to say it was 100 percent my fault. I just have to make up for it next week."

Credit: Richard Petty Motorsports

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Watkins Glen Statistics

Despite only having one Cup start at Watkins Glen International, the road course is one of AJ's favorite tracks to drive. With a lot of experience turning both left and right from his open wheel days, this weekend will be a huge opportunity for AJ to become another one of this season's first time winners. His teammate Kasey Kahne won the other road course race at Sonoma, and AJ had a strong 7th place finish despite an off-track excursion early in the race that sent him a lap down.

AJ had an excellent showing in this race in 2008 driving for Red Bull Racing, and was happy to be disappointed with an 11th place finish. It was also a memorable race because the strong finish put AJ and the #84 into the top 35 in owner's points for the first time in his career. Yet he was still quoted as saying that he was going to lose sleep for giving up a top ten run in the closing laps.

While AJ certainly knows how to finesse his car around the corners and pick off competitors one by one, he has yet to make a qualifying attempt at The Glen. Rain washed out qualifying in both 2007 and 2008. In his first full year of Cup racing in 2007, the #84 Red Bull car was far enough back in owner's points that the rain sent them home. In 2008 however, AJ was safely locked into the race and took the green flag in 37th spot.

According to the Weather Channel, rain should not be a factor in qualifying on Friday. I'm sure that AJ will put down a solid lap, hopefully get a chance to fine tune the car on Saturday, and get down to business on Sunday. I know that this will be one race that I for sure will be staying home for, not only because watching AJ drive the road courses is like watching an artist at work, but because I know that my driver can go to Victory Lane for the first time this weekend. And there is no way in hell that I'm going to miss that.

Watkins Glen Preview

With only 65 career starts, AJ Allmendinger admits he's still learning how to drive a 3,400-llb. Sprint Cup car. But, this weekend on the road course in Watkins Glen International, the No. 44 Stanley Dodge driver feels like he's on a more level playing field with the competition. Allmendinger's road course prowess is well known. His five victories on road courses in the Champ Car series combined with his two top-11 finishes in three NASCAR road course races make him one of the drivers to watch on central New York track on Sunday.

WATKINS GLEN-- "Oh yeah we are excited. It's funny. I think we ran off the road twice at Infineon, fell down a lap, and still finished seventh. If we can just avoid stuff like that this weekend who knows how we will finish. I love Watkins Glen. It's got so much history and the campers there are pretty awesome. The smell of the campfires on Sunday morning when you wake up lets you know you are Watkins Glen. The race fans there know their racing. There's no other place like it in NASCAR."

ROAD COURSE ADVANTAGE-- "I don't feel like I have an advantage. Look at the field there are some incredible road racers. Guys like Gordon, Montoya, Stewart and Kasey Kahne are all great on road courses. We'll just do our best and see what happens. There isn't anything easy in NASCAR these days."

* "Tweet of the Week" - "Damn, it is way too early to be landing at Dover for a tire test." tweeted at 6 a.m. on Tuesday.

* Allmendinger will sign autographs at Richard Petty Motorsports merchandise hauler at 9:45 a.m. on Sunday in Watkins Glen.

* Allmendinger's lone start produced an 11th-place finish last year at The Glen. He finished seventh at Infineon in this season's only road course

Credit - Richard Petty Motorsports

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Pocono II Race Recap

I still have not had time to watch the entire Pocono race, nor listen to my recording of the audio. So I copied this race recap off of

AJ 17th at Pocono

After a day of waiting for the rain, and the weepers, to clear, AJ Allmendinger raced his way to a fourth consecutive top-20 finish with his run to 17th in Monday's Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500 in the #44 Valvoline Dodge for Richard Petty Motorsports.

Starting from 29th in the field as the grid was set by points after rains on Friday cancelled the qualifying, AJ made steady upward progress during the opening segments to race in the top 15. He was also helped by some good pit work, with the 44 crew outshining the 33 guys at one point as the two cars stopped simultaniously, with the 44 making a faster exit.

But one extra stop for tires on lap 182 meant that AJ only had a few laps of green to fight his way forward from losing track position and falling to 26th. But he did just that, picking off cars left and right to take 17th at the checkered flag.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Pocono II: Friday Crew Chief Quotes

KENNY FRANCIS (Crew Chief, No. 9 Budweiser Dodge Charger)
"The rain doesn't affect my team a whole lot. If it (qualifying) rains out, we'll start eighth in the race. We would have liked the chance to qualify better, but you're taking your chances when you do that. Historically, we usually do (qualify) pretty well here. We got about an hour of practice in and the car seemed like it was pretty decent. We were in race trim the whole time. We were expecting rain, so we were waiting until the last minute to switch it over, but it rained before the end of practice. We're expecting good weather for practice tomorrow, so hopefully we'll get those practice sessions in. Overall, I don't think the rain will affect the 9 team a whole lot, maybe affect where we pick our pit, but that's about it."


KEVIN BUSKIRK (Crew Chief, No. 19 Stanley Dodge Charger)
"We practiced in qualifying trim just in case we did get to qualify today. We haven't been qualifying like we need to, so we needed to work on that. The weather looks good for tomorrow when we will be practicing in race trim. We wanted to have a run or two in qualifying trim today just in case, by some miracle, we did qualify. We didn't run real fast, but we have an idea what to do."


MIKE SHIPLETT (Crew Chief, No. 43 Air Force Dodge Charger)
"We were off a little bit when we got here with the Air Force Dodge. We were pretty loose, but worked on it and got it a little bit better. I would like to have the opportunity to qualify. I feel we can qualify better than we're sitting in points right now. I feel we've got a much better team, car and driver than we are in points. We've just had some bad luck the last month or so. We wanted to qualify, but looking at the weather, I don't think that's going to happen. Tomorrow will be real important in race trim, getting the balance on a green track again like it was when we got here. Getting the practice in today, it will give us a better start for practice tomorrow. It was a good run for the 43 Dodge last week at Indianapolis. I was happy with it, but was hoping to get a top 10 out of it. It was really hard to pass. The double-file restart got us there at the end, we were on the outside. Overall, it was good for the company."


SAMMY JOHNS (Crew Chief, No. 44 Valvoline Dodge Charger)
"We got some practice in which was good. We ran all race trim. We got a pretty bad qualifying draw (first). With the weather moving in, we didn't make any qualifying runs. These days, qualifying is important because track position is so important. We're not in the greatest spot in points. The thing that Ican look back on is we started 30th here in the first race and drove our way up into the top 10. The one fortunate part about Pocono is it's a multi-groove track. You can pass here. If we get the car right in race trim, I feel pretty confident we can get back up through the field like we did in the first race. It's not good, but it's not as bad as it could be at some other places."

(AJ Allmendinger was involved in a spin during the practice session, but the car wasn't damaged and he didn't have to go to a backup car).

Credit: Dodge Motorsports