Monday, September 28, 2009

Dover II Post-race Quotes

AJ ALLMENDINGER (No 44 Super 8 Dodge Charger)
Finished 7th

"Our Super 8 Dodge was really good today. I thought everyone on the 44 team was awesome today. Hopefully, we can run strong like this in the final eight races to show everyone what kind of team that we have. It was a smooth day. The conditions were tough today. At one point, it felt like the water was seeping up through the racetrack, it was so slick out there. We just kept fighting. With 25 laps to go, we just took a guess at what changes we wanted to make and it seemed to work. We were just a little bit loose all day. I'm just proud of everybody."


KASEY KAHNE (No. 9 Budweiser Dodge Charger)
Finished 8th
"Our Budweiser Dodge was pretty decent today. We battled all day and I'm proud of all my guys for their effort today. We struggled a bit with the splitter hitting the ground all day. Kenny (Francis, crew chief) and the guys dug all day trying to get us a top-10 finish and we did. We struggled a bit on pit lane today which is unusual for our Budweiser guys. We didn't pick up as many spots in the Chase like we'd like to, but we performed well and didn't lose any ground. There's plenty of racing left in the Chase and we're going to give the guys in front of us everything we've got."


KENNY FRANCIS (Crew Chief, No. 9 Budweiser Dodge)
"The Budweiser Dodge ended up eight. It wasn't what we were looking for, but we managed to get back up there a little bit. It was a struggle all day. We started off pretty good and then we made a wrong adjustment and really didn't figure it out until the end of the race. Once we got that, we went back the other way and the Budweiser Dodge really came around. We gave up a bunch of track position and had to charge up from 18th to eight. At the end, the car was pretty good. It was just a little bit too loose. I wish we would have had one more pit stop to work on it."


ELLIOTT SADLER (No 19 Geek Squad / Best Buy Dodge Charger)
Finished 30th
"I'm real disappointed with what happened today. We were working our way toward the front and I think we would have had a top-20 when those guys started crashing on the front stretch. There wasn't anywhere to go and we just got collected in the mess. The No. 19 guys went to work and got me back out on the track. I didn't think there was any way we'd get back out there but we did. It was a great effort by the team."


REED SORENSON (No. 43 Valvoline Dodge Charger)
Finished 35th
"It looks like the 96 (Bobby Labonte), for some reason, checked up and that caused the 20 (Joey Logano) to check up and that caused Tony (Stewart) to get into him. I went up the track when I saw the 20 spin. I had to slam on the brakes and try to miss Tony because he was on the brakes hard and then the 20 came back across in front of us and the 1 was pushing us. It's just one of those deals. That was a pretty bad wreck there. I'm glad everybody is OK. I'm glad that Joey (Logano) is OK. I don't know why the 96 checked up. It's just one of those chain reactions at a fast race track and that's what happens."

Credit: Richard Petty Motorsports PR

Dover II Race Results

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

Friday, September 25, 2009

Dover II Qualifying Quotes

KASEY KAHNE (No. 9 Budweiser Dodge Charger)
Qualified 6th
"A pretty good run for our Budweiser Dodge. It felt a little bit loose, but decent. We gained sixth-tenths from practice which is a nice jump for us. I feel pretty good about it. Our car is pretty fast in race trim."

AJ ALLMENDINGER (No 44 Super 8 Dodge Charger)
Qualified 19th
"Not real good. We were just too loose. Our Super 8 Dodge was really fast in practice so I think we’ll have a good car for Sunday.”

REED SORENSON (NO. 43 Valvoline Dodge Charger)
Qualified 26th
“We had a great run here last race. If you are good you can go to the front pretty easy. We’ll take that run and get ready for Sunday. I’m pretty optimistic.”

ELLIOTT SADLER (No. 19 Geek Squad/Best Buy Dodge Charger)
Qualified 34th
“I think we broke a crank. We’ll get the guys to look at it, dissect it. I know it’s a bad deal to break a crank during qualifying, but I would rather do it today than Sunday. We’ll change motors and change some other things on it and go from there. The car was OK in practice. We need to work on it a little bit. We struggled last week in practice, but had a great run on Sunday. I love this car. It’s a bad-to-the-bone race car. We thank the Geek Squad for being on the car this week. We’ll try to make it better for Sunday.”

Credit: Richard Petty Motorsports PR

Dover II Qualifying Results

AAA 400 Starting Lineup

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

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Dover II Statistics

With a starting spot of 7th and running in the top 15 for the first half of the Spring Dover race, things were looking good for the #44 team. Unfortunately, lady luck took a turn for the worse when AJ brought his car in for a routine green flag stop only to have the caution come out before the rest of the field cycled through. Since this was before the wave around rule, AJ resolved to fight to get out in front of the leaders and get one lap back the hard way before then battling the rest of the lap down cars for the lucky dog spot. Then fate took another bad turn and a tire went down on the 44 machine. It was a big blow after such a great starting spot, but the car was good at the track. In fact, all four RPM drivers qualified for that race in the top 10. Hopefully they will have another good showing this weekend.

Average starting spot - 20th
Average finish - 32nd

June 2007
Started 43rd, Finished 33rd

September 2007
Started 11th, Finished 43rd (Blown engine)

June 2008
Started 8th, Finished 37th (Broken fuel pump cable)

September 2008
Started 30th, Finished 16th

May 2009
Started 7th, Finished 29th

Dover II Preview

AJ Allmendinger raced from back in the pack to the top 10 in the last two Sprint Cup races at Richmond and New Hampshire, but both ended with late race frustration. The 27-year-old Californian knows that he and his Mike Shiplett-led team raced very well in recent races and are close to posting some impressive finishes for Richard Petty Motorsports.

“It’s like a football team that takes a lead into the fourth quarter and gets beat in the final seconds or a baseball team that has trouble in the ninth. It’s really frustrating because you are so close. You don’t want to get so mad you throw away all the good, but you want to start finishing off what you started. We hurt ourselves at Richmond when we were running so well and then we had some help from other cars at New Hampshire last weekend. We are so close. If you watch these races you see how many cars we are passing and how good we are running. Our cars are getting better, our engine program is giving us good engines, Mike and I are improving our communication and our stops are great, so I’m pleased where this is headed. At Dover we have a chance to make this happen. We had a top 10 qualifying run there last time but a caution after our pit stop then a cut tire cost us four laps in the race and hurt our finish. We’ll avoid all that this time.”

*Allmendinger will sign autographs at his merchandise hauler at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday.

*All four Richard Petty Motorsports Dodges qualified in the top 10 at Dover in May.

*Sunday marks Allmendinger’s 72nd start in Sprint Cup racing.

*The No. 9 team’s mechanical issues last weekend at NHMS marked the team’s only DNF of the 2009 season among four cars.

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

*Allmendinger has posted three top-11 qualifying runs in five attempts at Dover. His 2009 top-10 finishes came at Daytona, Martinsville and Infineon.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Tuesday Ramble - Loudon II Edition

The Future Looks Bright for Richard Petty Motorsports
(Yes, I'm Serious)

Richard Petty Motorsports has been in the NASCAR news a lot the last couple of weeks with the announcement of the buyout of Yates Racing, and much of the articles have not put the team in the best light. Many journalists and fans alike are critical of the decisions that have been made, and about the revolving door of leadership at the company.

I can’t say that I don’t question some of the decisions that have been made, but I am also very aware that the public does not have all the information behind why those same decisions came about. Neither reporters nor fans know exactly what went down – what words were spoken, what the details of contracts were, or how much sponsorship issues played a part.

The biggest thing we don’t know, and which could change everyone’s perception of why the Gillett family is doing the things they are, is what their vision for the future of the team really is. No successful business model is put in place without a vision. There has to be some sort of plan for progress in order to grow and expand. Companies that remain stagnant when times change around them are often the ones that go under.

So what does the future hold for Richard Petty Motorsports? Well, we know that they will continue to be a four car team, and that they will field Fords in 2010. There is no doubt in my mind that the contribution from Ford will be better than what RPM was getting out of Dodge, so I see this as a plus.

Another big advantage is that they will now likely form an alliance with Roush Fenway Racing at Ford’s urging, to make the manufacturer a strong contender again. The Roush camp is struggling a bit this year, and has only managed to get two out of their five cars in the season playoffs. They are also winless since the first two races of the year. Chevy and Toyota are taking over Victory Lane, and I can not imagine either Ford or Roush will let that go on for too long.

So in 2010 Richard Petty Motorsports will have a strong manufacturer backing, and hopefully a reciprocating alliance with one of the powerhouse teams in NASCAR. What else are they gaining in the buyout? Two words – Yates horsepower. The Yates family are engine builders. Period. They started a NASCAR team so they had cars in which to put those engines. Racing is a means to let them explore their true passion – building engines. And they are damn good at it.

So RPM will have a strong manufacturer, a reciprocating alliance with Roush, and a lot of ponies under the hood. What else do they need? Oh yes, sponsorship. Well, Kasey Kahne has Budweiser. Elliott Sadler has Best Buy and Stanley Tools. Paul Menard has Menards, of course. And while AJ’s sponsors have not yet been announced, I would assume we will see a hodgepodge of the team’s remaining affiliates – Air Force, McDonald’s, PVA, Valvoline, and hopefully Hunt Brother’s Pizza.

Manufacturer – check. Team alliance – check. Horsepower – check. Sponsorship – check. What’s next – driver talent? Well, we know RPM has some capable wheel men. It’s just a matter of giving them the horses under the hood, which they will now have, and a chassis capable of gripping the track, which they are definitely improving right now. Combine that with some good luck and the drivers should be in contention for top 10 to top 20 finishes week in and week out, and I think a realistic goal of two or possibly three cars in the Chase.

On a side note, I do find it unfortunate that Reed Sorenson won’t be part of that group of talented drivers. With the merger of a four car team with a one car team, (Hall of Fame Racing is technically a separate entity,) there ended up being five drivers and, in accordance with NASCAR rules, only four seats that could be filled. With Paul Menard being a part of a sponsorship package, Reed ended up being the loser in a cruel game of musical chairs. It’s a shame, but it was a business decision prompted by dollar signs – nothing more, nothing less.

Now where was I? Ah yes – the future of Richard Petty Motorsports. Well, RPM seemingly has nearly everything in place to come out of the gate strong in 2010. So what are they lacking? Well, crew chief experience is one area that they are still working on, with the exception of Kenny Francis, who is outstanding in that role.

Hopefully an alliance with Roush Fenway will include information sharing for the crew chiefs and engineers of the two Ford teams. Initially it will probably benefit RPM more than Roush, but I think Jack Roush only has to look at the Hendrick / Stewart Haas conglomeration to see that it can be positive for both sides.

Truly, I think the only thing that Richard Petty Motorsports really needs for 2010 is a strong general manager. They have had a bit of upheaval in that area over the last couple of years, and it has certainly given the illusion of instability within the core of the company. When even the drivers for the team aren’t sure who to go to for answers, there is something missing.

However, with the buyout of Yates Racing comes an additional resource that could be huge for Richard Petty Motorsports – Max Jones. Jones is the co-owner of Yates Racing, and the current General Manager. He was also a long-time General Manager at Roush Fenway Racing. He knows the job. Pair him with current RPM Executive Vice President of Race Operations, Robbie Loomis, and you have the foundation for a solid management team.

So in summation, if you add up all the elements you need to have a competitive race organization – manufacturer support, a technical alliance, sponsorship, driver talent, and smart management – Richard Petty Motorsports is looking mighty pretty for 2010.

Of course as with any merger or buyout situation, there will be some growing pains and some questions that they still need to find answers to. But all in all, I think the future of RPM is looking very bright. (Maybe they should borrow Elliott’s Sadler’s cool shades.)

Monday, September 21, 2009

New Hampshire II Post-race Quotes

ELLIOTT SADLER (No. 19 Stanley Dodge Charger)
Finished 8th
"We made wholesale changes from last night that really helped our Stanley Dodge. This race was very gratifying for everyone on this team. It was a good run for us. We learned some things today that really helped our car. We found some things that I like to have in the racecar that we can build from here on out. Hopefully we can build on that for the final nine races."


AJ ALLMENDINGER (No. 44 Berlin Auto Dodge Charger)
Finished 25th
"Very disappointed. I thought we had a top-10 car, but the No. 47 just wrecked us. Our car was really good on long runs. Richard Petty Motorsports guys gave me a great car today. I'm upset right now with how it ended, but I'm seeing progress each week."


REED SORENSON (No. 43 McDonald's McCafe Dodge Charger)
Finished 36th
"We're pretty disappointed. We started off slow, but got going pretty good. We had to go to the back of the field to fix some overheating issues and then got caught up in someone else's stuff. We were just in the wrong place at the wrong time."


KASEY KAHNE (No. 9 Budweiser Dodge Charger)
Finished 38th
"We lost an engine, I don't know why. I felt it start to run a little bit rough down the backstretch and it broke on the frontstretch. I thought that it was coming, the gauges all looked good, but I knew that it was coming.

"We had a good car. I think we were up to eighth or ninth. It seemed like our Budweiser Dodge was decent. We had some things to do to make it better."

HOW DISAPPOINTING IS THIS FOR YOU? "It's disappointing. It's better than last week because we wouldn't have been in the Chase. We just have to work extra hard now. I don't know how this all works. You never know in the Chase if you can have a mulligan or not. This team is doing a nice job. We'll be 12th when we leave here. Hopefully, we can make gains in those final nine (races)."

Credit: Dodge Motorsports

Sunday, September 20, 2009

New Hampshire II Qualifying Quotes

KASEY KAHNE (No. 9 Budweiser Dodge Charger)
Qualified 11th
“So far we're pretty good. We were a bit loose in practice and in qualifying, a bit on the tight side. Coming to the checkered flag I felt my front tires chattering a bit. It's a decent lap for our Budweiser Dodge. Hopefully, we can get a top 10, but it looks like some clouds may roll in and help some guys going out later. Track position is always important, so to lay down a pretty good qualifying lap was important."

REED SORENSON (No. 43 McDonald’s McCafe Dodge Charger)
Qualified 25th
“That will get us a decent starting spot. The key Sunday is staying out of trouble and being there at the end of the race. I love this track and I think we have a chance to do really well this weekend.”

AJ ALLMENDINGER (No. 44 Berlin City Auto Group Dodge Charger)
Qualified 34th
“We were so good in practice today; I was going for it in qualifying. I think I locked it up going into the corner and that killed our lap. We have a really good car so I am still optimistic about Sunday.”

ELLIOTT SADLER (No. 19 Stanley Dodge Charger)
Qualified 35th
“It just wasn’t the lap that we needed today in our Stanley Dodge. We haven’t been testing during the week, so we’ve been testing a lot at the track on Friday’s and sometimes you just don’t get the results that you need. We just have to keep working hard and keep hustling along trying to get our car faster.”

Thursday, September 17, 2009

New Hampshire II Preview

AJ Allmendinger drives the No. 44 Berlin City Auto Group Dodge this weekend at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. The 27-year-old Californian comes to New England hoping for a better race than in June when another driver’s accident collected Allmendinger. Allmendinger climbed as high as seventh spot Saturday night in Richmond before finishing 23rd.

NEW HAMPSHIRE— “We owe that place one after getting wrecked there last time. We’ve shown some flashes the last couple of weeks turning lap times that were really fast. Now we just have to figure out a way to run like that throughout a race and get a good finish.”

PAINT SCHEME THIS WEEKEND— “This is the same paint scheme we ran up there in June. Our owner George Gillett also owns the Berlin City Auto group and they used to sponsor Dave Dion in a lot of races in the area. Race fans asked about it last time we were up there. I’m glad we are running it again this weekend. I love the history of the sport and if it helps remind people of some of the history then that’s a good thing. There aren’t many orange and white cars out there these days.”

*Allmendinger will sign autographs at his merchandise hauler at 10:30 a.m. at NHMS on Sunday.

*Follow Allmendinger and other Petty drivers at @rpmotorsports on twitter

*Allmendinger has scored the 21st most points of any driver in the last 10 races.

*Sunday marks Allmendinger’s 71st start in Sprint Cup racing.

*Berlin City Auto Group, with dealerships throughout New England, specializes in the sales, service and parts for automotive manufacturers and pre-owned vehicles.

Credit - Richard Petty Motorsports PR

Monday, September 14, 2009

Richmond II Race Review

I’m still very upset over the issues that AJ has faced in the #44 car the last couple of weeks. So don’t expect a positive spin on what happened in Richmond Saturday night.

AJ started off the race weekend mediocre in the two practice sessions on Friday, and then somehow managed to pull out a 17th place starting spot in qualifying that afternoon. When he started the race, he didn’t make a huge advance forward, but rather a slow and steady progress through the first half of the field. He was fighting no grip coming off the corner, but overall was pretty happy with the car.

Working his way by cars one at a time, he managed to crack the top ten by lap fifty. The #44 pit crew was on top of their game and got AJ positions on pit road each time he came in, and then AJ continued to pick off spots on the track. By lap 110 he was up to a race high position of 7th.

Unfortunately, a minor air pressure adjustment on a stop did not help AJ’s loose off condition, and other teams made their cars better. So by lap 165 he was barely hanging onto a top ten spot. Mike Shiplett chose to make a wedge adjustment to try and help with forward bite, only to have it backfire. Instead of helping the loose condition, the change made the car tight in the corner. With no grip in either the front end or the back, AJ was forced to simply hang onto it and steadily slid backwards through the field.

The team tried to reverse the wedge change on the following stop to get the car back to where it was, but apparently the track had changed by that time as well. Shiplett could never get the car back to its earlier top ten performance. A very frustrated AJ asked him to check with the other teams, but at that point none of the RPM stable was looking very good.

With changes in mind to try and help the no grip situation, Shiplett urged AJ to “just hang onto her” until they could get the car fixed up. At which point AJ came on the radio and said that for once he would like to have a car that didn’t just have to hang onto. Obviously discouraged by having a good car that went to crap, AJ managed to keep the #44 out of the wall and off the other cars he was racing as he slowly slid back to a disheartening twentieth position.

Every time the caution flew the team made changes on the car, but nothing seemed to help. And unfortunately, each late race caution put one or more cars back on the tail end of the lead lap. A couple of those lucky dog and wave around recipients had better handling cars than AJ at that point, and even the mediocre top 20 run he had going was lost. He managed to hang onto the lead lap and brought the Dodge Charger back in one piece in 23rd spot.

I have to admit that I was very disappointed after the Atlanta finish, but the team struggled throughout the whole race there. What made Richmond even worse was that AJ had a good car at the beginning of the race. He wasn’t the only one who had a top ten car turn bad, but it is still the worst feeling to sit and watch, not to mention listen.

Obviously I’m not a crew chief or engineer, and I don’t envy the decisions that they have to make on top of the pit box. But I still can’t understand why it doesn’t seem to be getting better instead of worse. Something has got to change. I don’t know what, but RPM needs to figure some things out if they want next year to be a success.

Obviously the drivers aren’t in the same equipment as far as engine and chassis go, and superficially I can understand that they need to put all of their eggs in the #9 team’s basket. But if they can’t make the other three teams more competitive than they are, the information gained isn’t as valuable as far as the whole organization goes. Right now it seems like the only thing they are learning is what not to do.

All I can say is that somebody needs to figure it out, because I am so sick and tired of my driver outperforming his team that I could scream. He deserves better, and if I didn’t feel that way then I wouldn’t be a true AJ fan.

Richmond II Post-race Quotes

KASEY KAHNE (No. 9 Budweiser Dodge Charger)
Finished 12th

"It feels great to make it in the Chase. We wanted to run a little better tonight, but we did enough to make it into the Chase. I'm proud of everyone on this Budweiser Dodge team. Kenny (Francis, crew chief) called a great race and put us in position to stay up front and not get caught up in someone else's mess. I'm happy for all the guys that work so hard to put our Budweiser Dodge in a position to make the Chase. It's a great feeling."


KENNY FRANCIS (Crew Chief, No. 9 Budweiser Dodge Charger)
"The Budweiser Dodge was a handful tonight. We were just too loose off the corner all night. We could never get it to where we liked it, but we kept chasing it and got it to the point where we were about a top-10 car. We made some gains on it, but more importantly, we did what we had to do to make the Chase.
"We're in the Chase. It's a real relief for everyone to make it. It's big for the whole organization at RPM and Dodge and Budweiser and all our partners. We're just looking forward to putting together some good runs the next 10 races and give them all we got."


REED SORENSON (No. 43 Reynolds Wrap Dodge Charger)
Finished 16th
"We certainly finished better than the way we started off tonight. We were down a lap early but we knew our car was pretty fast. Sammy Johns and the crew did a great job all night. We were pretty good. I didn't say much on the radio, just drove as hard as I could. That was a good night for us."


AJ ALLMENDINGER (No. 44 Dodge Charger)
Finished 23rd

"It's pretty frustrating that we were so good for the first half of the race and then struggled so hard for the last part. We were running really well, then the handling just went to the point where I couldn't turn the car and we had no rear grip. We tried to fix it, but just couldn't figure it out."


ELLIOTT SADLER (No. 19 Insignia/Best Buy Dodge Charger)
Finished 34th

"That was a frustrating night. We tried some pit strategy but a long green flag run killed us because we had to come to pit lane. That killed our chances for a good finish."

Credit: Dodge Motorsports

Richmond II Finishing Order

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

Friday, September 11, 2009

Richmond II Qualifying Results

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

AJ discusses the Petty-Yates merger

Thursday, September 10, 2009 on SIRIUS NASCAR Radio, host Dave Moody spoke with #44 RPM Dodge driver AJ Allmendinger after the announcement that Richard Petty Motorsports and Yates Racing have signed a letter of intent to merge for the 2010 season and race a four car team in Fords:

Host, Dave Moody: "How long have you known about this?"
AJ Allmendinger: "I think probably just about as long as you guys have. Maybe an hour earlier. I knew about an hour earlier."

Moody: "Is it safe to say there are going to be a lot of really surprised folks wandering around the halls at RPM and Yates Racing today?"
Allmendinger: "In certain ways, yes. In certain ways, maybe not, no. Just because over the last, heck, I mean, how many months has it been that people have known that we've been out there looking at manufacturers. And Foster Gillett and everybody at Richard Petty Motorsports has been working hard to find the right home for us to go to. Yeah, maybe in certain ways, just kinda how quick it all happened but in other ways, no, just because like I said, they've been working hard and there's been no secret especially over the last couple of months about them looking at manufacturers. Obviously, Toyota was probably the main one that was put out there but they've been kind of exhausting every possibility and I think with what just happened the whole team is excited. I know I'm pumped up about it to be able to work with Ford and be a part of that. It's going to be a good thing."
"Obviously, all the horsepower that Yates puts out is pretty awesome to have and we're pretty excited about it. We've been working really hard, especially on the chassis. We've gotten the chassis a lot better at Richard Petty Motorsports and everybody in the engine shop has been doing a good job there. We've just been just lacking a little bit but I'm excited about that because we've worked really hard especially over the last few months to make these cars handle good and we put some Yates horsepower under it, it's going to be a good thing."

Moody: "We would assume that the legendary #43 would continue. Have they told you yet who drives it?"
Allmendinger: "Haven't told me yet so I don't know, Moody. You seem to know more than I usually do so when you find that out let me know, please. I'd love to drive it. The history behind it. In a way, obviously I already get to drive for the King and a lot of ways with being a part of Richard Petty Motorsports and kind of looking at the #43 and #44 cars as still the stable mate of the King's cars, but I'd love to be driving that #43. As a racecar driver and more of a racecar fan, I love the history of motorsports and obviously the #43 is one of those numbers throughout all types of auto racing that stands out. So if I got a chance to be in it I'd jump at it in a heartbeat."

Credit - Siruis XM Radio

RPM to field Fords in 2010

In a strange twist of the always screwy NASCAR silly season, a surprising merger has been announced. George Gillett and Richard Petty will be combining their organization with Yates Racing and will run Fords under the continuing banner of Richard Petty Motorsports. Assuming that Yates continues their engine alliance with Roush Fenway Racing, and that Richard Petty Motorsports brings their updated chassis fabrication into the mix, I think it will be a win-win situation for the newly melded organization.

Here is the press release from Richard Petty Motorsports PR regarding the merger:

Richard Petty Motorsports To Race Fords in 2010

STATESVILLE, N.C. – Richard Petty Motorsports and Yates Racing announced today they have signed a letter of intent to merge operations in time for the 2010 season. The four-car team will race Fords under the Richard Petty Motorsports banner.

Richard Petty: “This is a pretty big deal for us. We’re thrilled to partner with Ford. We’ve talked with a lot of folks, but in the end it came down to the success the Gilletts and I think we can achieve with Ford Racing. Right now this deal is real new. There are lots of details still left to be ironed out so we don’t have a lot of answers for anyone right now. We’ll be working on all that in the coming days, weeks and months, but we do intend to have everything in place before the start of next season. I’ve won races with Ford and plan to again.”

Team Managing Partner Foster Gillett: “Richard and Kasey (Kahne) showed us Sunday night in Atlanta that they like winning quite a bit and Ford is going to provide the support that we need to go to victory lane more often. If you are going to compete with the other teams in this sport you need a lot of support. We bring a lot to this relationship as well. We’ve won twice this season and the power of Richard Petty is hard to beat, plus we have the support of some of the biggest names in corporate America.”

Yates Racing Co-owner Max Jones: “This is certainly a great opportunity for both Yates Racing as well as Ford Racing. I have had a long-term relationship with Ford and look forward to continuing that relationship at Richard Petty Motorsports. Over the coming weeks we will continue to work with Ford and Richard Petty to lay out the best plan for Paul Menard and all of the employees at Yates Racing. We will continue to field both the No. 98 and No. 96 Ford Fusions for the remainder of the season and look forward to continued success on the track with Paul, Bobby Labonte and Erik Darnell.”

Yates Racing Co-owner Doug Yates: “This plan is clearly in the best interest of the Ford Racing community. On a personal level, I am excited about the opportunity to focus my full energy on building Ford horsepower. We look forward to working with Richard Petty Motorsports to produce power second to none. There are many details to be worked out with Richard Petty Motorsports and as we finalize those details we will keep everyone informed.”

Director of Ford North America Motorsports Brian Wolfe: "I am very pleased that Richard Petty Motorsports has made the decision to switch to Ford for the 2010 season. They had choices to consider other than Ford and it's gratifying to us that they have enough faith in the Ford Motor Company and what we're doing to make the switch. We believe we can provide them with superior analytical tools and powertrain, and we will work with them closely on the technical front to help them become even more competitive than they are. What's also really cool to me is the chance to have someone with the class and the legacy of Richard Petty involved with Ford. Combine that with the chance to work with the Gillett family, who we have great respect for, and add some great drivers to the Ford camp, well, it's hard not to be excited about this opportunity."

• Paul Menard will be one of the drivers in the Petty team joining Kasey Kahne, Elliott Sadler and AJ Allmendinger.

• Richard Petty Motorsports formed in January when Petty Holdings and Gillett Evernham Motorsports merged. The new team fields its four cars out of shops in Statesville, N.C. and has visited victory lane twice in 2009 including Sunday’s race in Atlanta.

• Petty Enterprises was the most successful team in NASCAR history owning 268 Cup victories since 1949. Gillett Evernham Motorsports had recorded 15 victories and has consistently been one of the top performing teams in NASCAR.

• Yates Racing, formerly known as Robert Yates Racing, owns 57 wins and nearly 50 poles as well as a Sprint Cup Championship in more than 20 years of racing. The team is owned by Doug Yates and Max Jones who jointly took the reins after Doug’s father Robert Yates retired following the 2007 season.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Richmond II Statistics

It seems like a recurring theme when I say that AJ’s results at a particular track don’t show how well he has run there. Yet I’m going to say it again, because Richmond is definitely another one of those places where that is the case. With an average starting spot of 24th and an average finish of 32nd, you might get the impression that he hasn’t quite got things figured out at Richmond International Raceway. However, the multi-groove short track suits AJ’s aggressive style perfectly.

So why only a 32nd place average result? Well, in the Spring 2007 race AJ was running one lap down, but posting comparable times to the leaders, when a late race accident cost them one of their best efforts of the time. The Spring 2008 story is a similar one, where AJ ran in the top 20 the entire race only to have it all slip away when the brakes failed and sent him into the wall. And the Fall 2008 race never even took off for the #84 Red Bull team, because the engine immediately dropped a couple of cylinders and he ended up in the garage.

Now with an up and down night at Atlanta Motor Speedway behind them and some dirt track fun to lift the spirits, AJ and the #44 team head back to Richmond with something to prove. The Chase for the Championship will be set after Saturday night, but for those outside the top twelve, there is only one goal for the remainder of the season – the chase for a victory.

Richmond Statistics
Spring 2007
Started 13th, Finished 36th

Fall 2007
Started 27th, Finished 23rd

Spring 2008
Started 18th, Finished 39th

Fall 2008
Started 31st, Finished 43rd

Spring 2009
Started 31st, Finished 21st

Richmond II Preview

The Richard Petty Motorsports' No. 44 Dodge pit crew owns a distinction few if any pit crews will achieve in 2009. The crew earned the Tissot Pit Crew Award-- its car spending the least amount of time on pit lane--in the Daytona 500 with driver Reed Sorenson and the No. 43 Dodge. The crew repeated the feat Sunday night, but this time with AJ Allmendinger on the No. 44 Dodge. In addition the crew finished second in the Sprint Pit Crew Challenge competition in May.

Allmendinger and his crew hope for even greater rewards Saturday night at Richmond Intl. Raceway where Allmendinger will drive the No. 44 Paralyzed Veterans of America Dodge for the Mike Shiplett-led team.

* Allmendinger will join Richard Petty and Reed Sorenson for the NASCAR Foundation track walk at Noon on Saturday at Richmond. Proceeds go to the Paralyzed Veterans of America.

* Allmendinger will sign autographs at his merchandise hauler at 3:55 p.m. on Saturday at Richmond.

Credit: Richard Petty Motorsports

Prelude to the Dream Results

Stewart Wins Prelude to the Dream at Eldora Speedway:
Tony Stewart won the fifth annual Gillette Young Guns Prelude to the Dream all-star dirt late model race Wednesday night at Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio, marking the third time in four years Stewart has won the event. Stewart passed Kenny Wallace on lap 13 of the 30-lap event and led the final 18 laps en route to victory. “This was probably the best I’ve run in the Prelude,” said Stewart, who bought Eldora in 2004. “We won last year, I think we led the whole thing, but this was one I had to work for. We weren’t exactly perfect, and we weren’t perfect because I hit the wall on the first two starts right off the bat.”

Clint Bowyer finished 3.358 seconds behind Stewart in the runner-up spot, while Kyle Busch, Ryan Newman and Matt Kenseth rounded out the top-five. Drag Racing standout Cruz Pedregon, David Reutimann, Aric Almirola, Kasey Kahne and Jimmie Johnson comprised the top-10. There were four caution periods during the event, although the laps conducted under caution did not count.

The race, which drew more than 23,000 fans, was broadcast live on HBO Pay-Per-View with proceeds from the nationwide telecast supporting four military-themed charities – Wounded Warrior Project, Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund, Operation Homefront and Fisher House. Each has a mission that outlines assistance to the courageous men and women who serve their country and need additional support both during and after their time of service.

“The Wounded Warriors Project, Fisher House, Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund and Operation Homefront, that’s who this money’s going to tonight,” Stewart said. “Thank you to the fans – you guys helped us do this and you’re the reason we were able to do this tonight. I just really appreciate the support that our fans give us here. We also can’t thank the drivers enough. With the rainout in June, it really means a lot that they were able to rearrange their schedules and come out and help us do this tonight. We’re proud to do this. Thanks to Gillette and HBO, we’ve been able to do more than we ever thought here at the Prelude. The fans keep making it bigger and better every year. As long as the fans keep coming and I can keep getting drivers to come out, we’re going to keep doing this every year.”

Gillette Young Guns Prelude to the Dream Results:
Results Wednesday of the Gillette Young Guns Prelude to the Dream Dirt Late Model event September 9 at the half-mile Eldora Speedway, with order of finish, starting position in parentheses, driver, laps completed and reason out (if any):
1. (6) Tony Stewart, 30
2. (1) Clint Bowyer, 30
3. (3) Kyle Busch, 30
4. (4) Ryan Newman, 30
5. (11) Matt Kenseth, 30
6. (15) Cruz Pedregon, 30
7. (18) David Reutimann, 30
8. (9) Aric Almirola, 30
9. (8) Kasey Kahne, 30
10. (10) Jimmie Johnson, 30
11. (17) Kevin Harvick, 30
12. (12) Brian Vickers, 30
13. (23) Ron Capps, 30
14. (19) Marcos Ambrose, 30
15. (20) Casey Mears, 29
16. (22) Red Farmer, 27
17. (2) Kenny Wallace, 20, Mechanical
18. (7) Robby Gordon, 12, Accident T3
19. (14) Ken Schrader, 12, Accident T3
20. (13) Joey Logano, 12, Accident T3
21. (21) Ray Evernham, 2, Accident T1
22. (16) A.J. Allmendinger, 0, Accident T3
23. (5) Denny Hamlin, DNS, Mechanical

Race Statistics
Winner's average speed: 38.978 mph
Time of race: 23:05.405
Margin of victory: 3.358 seconds
Cautions: 4 (Lap 1: Allmendinger, Accident T3; Lap 3: Evernham, Accident T1; Lap 13: Schrader, Gordon, Mears, Logano and Ambrose, Accident T3; Lap 20: Mears, Spin T2)
Lead changes: 2 among 2 drivers
Lap leaders: Wallace 1-12, Stewart 13-30
Attendance: More than 23,000
Broadcast: HBO Pay-Per-View

Credit: True Speed Communication

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Prelude to the Dream

Prelude to the Dream TONIGHT:
If you can't make the drive to Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio, on Wednesday, Sept. 9 to see the fifth annual Gillette Young Guns Prelude to the Dream in person, don't worry. Beginning Monday, Sept. 7, race fans across the nation will have their first opportunity to order the charity all-star race on pay-per-view. Drivers from all types of disciplines, some with lots of dirt track experience and others with hardly any, will participate in hot laps, qualifying, heat races and the 30-lap feature on the half-mile clay oval, all of which will be televised live on HBO Pay-Per-View.

Headlining the driver lineup is the majority of the Gillette Young Guns: Ryan Newman, Kasey Kahne, Clint Bowyer, Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin and Joey Logano. All will join Tony Stewart, the two-time Sprint Cup champion and current point leader, and some of the world's biggest auto racing stars as they duke it out for bragging rights on the dirt in 2,300-pound dirt Late Model stock cars capable of putting out more than 800 horsepower. After the first four events collectively raised more than $2 million in charitable contributions, this year's Prelude will benefit four entities that cater to severely injured military personnel or fallen soldiers and their families  Wounded Warrior Project, Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund, Operation Homefront and Fisher House. Each has a mission that outlines assistance to the courageous men and women who serve their country and need additional support both during and after their time of service.

The live, commercial-free broadcast will begin at 7 p.m. ET (4 p.m. PT), followed by an immediate replay. HBO Pay-Per-View's racing telecast has a suggested retail price of $24.95 and is available to more than 71 million pay-per-view homes. HBO Pay-Per-View is the leading supplier of event programming in the pay-per-view industry.

Driver Lineup:
#44-AJ Allmendinger; #8-Aric Almirola; #47-Marcos Ambrose; #33-Clint Bowyer; #51-Kyle Busch; #28-Ron Capps; #98-Ray Evernham; #97F-Red Farmer; #7-Robby Gordon; #11-Denny Hamlin; #29-Kevin Harvick; #48-Jimmie Johnson; #9-Kasey Kahne; #17-Matt Kenseth; #20-Joey Logano; #07-Casey Mears; #39-Ryan Newman; #75-Cruz Pedregon; #00-David Reutimann; #9-Ken Schrader; #14-Tony Stewart; #83-Brian Vickers and #36-Kenny Wallace.

Four drivers unable to participate:
Jeff Gordon due to a scheduling conflict.
Carl Edwards after sustaining a broken right foot on Wednesday, Sept. 2 following a game of Frisbee in his hometown of Columbia, Mo.
Bill Elliott after sustaining some fractured ribs on Wednesday, Sept. 2 in a dirt bike mishap.
Dave Blaney due to the passing of his aunt.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Atlanta II Post-Race Quotes

KASEY KAHNE (No. 9 Budweiser Dodge Charger)
"The entire Budweiser Dodge team did great. The pit stops were awesome. (Kevin) Harvick was best on the long run, but when we got that last caution and the restart with 11 to go, I knew we had a shot at the victory. It's all about making the Chase. That certainly put us in a better position going to Richmond. I knew Harvick and (Juan Pablo) Montoya were going to be tough. I hadn't gotten through the gears all night and (David) Reutimann gave me a push on the front stretch and got me going. It was a great win for Richard Petty Motorsports and the Budweiser Dodge team."


KENNY FRANCIS (Crew Chief, No. 9 Budweiser Dodge Charger)
"That was something else. I said about three-quarters through the race that if it came down to a short run, we might have a shot at it (the win). Man, when that caution came out, it was perfect for us. Kasey took off with a great restart, got the lead and drove away. I just couldn't believe it. The guys did a great job all night. The pit stops were flawless. We picked up spots just about every stop. The car was real good on that short run. It got a little too loose on the long run, but it still wasn't bad. It just played into our hand today. We just thank the Lord for making us smart enough to make the right decisions."


ROBBIE LOOMIS (Vice President of Race Operations, RPM)
"Just a great night for Richard Petty Motorsports. Kenny Francis (Crew Chief, No. 9 Dodge Charger) did a great job all night. All the guys on the team did such a great job rebounding from last weekend at Bristol; we really got beat up in Bristol. Our confidence was shaken a lot. Kasey Kahne was fantastic tonight. The whole Budweiser team did a great job all night."


AJ ALLMENDINGER (No. 44 Hunt Brothers Pizza Dodge Charger)
Finished 20th
"Man that win is awesome for Richard Petty Motorsports. That will be a huge lift for our company. The 9 guys deserved that. For us, that was a weird night. We were either really good on a run or just terrible. With practically no changes, the car would go to junk - then the next stop, be really good - then go back to junk. It was pretty frustrating but when we were good we were good."


ELLIOTT SADLER (No. 19 Stanley Dodge Charger)
Finished 21st
"I'm so happy for the 9 guys - that is a big deal for them and our race team. We had a tough night right from the start, but Wally (Rogers) and I worked through it and brought home the best finish we could in the Stanley Dodge. We'll take it and head to Richmond. Just really happy for the Budweiser team and Kasey Kahne."


REED SORENSON (No. 43 Air Force Dodge Charger)
Finished 27th
"Cool for Kasey and the 9 guys and everyone who works at RPM. That was awesome. For the 43 tonight, we were just at the wrong place at the wrong time. We hit Kurt (Busch) pretty good and just hung on the rest of the race. Until then, we were fast and thought we could have pulled out a real good finish."

Credit: Dodge Motorsports

Atlanta II Results

Pep Boys Auto 500 Finishing Order

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