Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Daytona Preview

No. 43 Best Buy Ford Fusion
• AJ Allmendinger will make his debut behind the wheel of the historic No. 43 in Daytona
• This Sunday, Feb. 14 will mark his second Daytona 500 start
• Allmendinger finished third in last year’s season opener, his career best finish in 80 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts

Allmendinger Looks Ahead:
“To be a part of Richard Petty Motorsports, Ford Racing, and having Best Buy on board is really exciting. I’m just really ready to get going. Our team has been so busy and has worked really hard to get ready for this season. As a race team, I think this is the time for us to get out there and shine.

“Running those three races with Ford at the end of last season I think relaxed everyone a little bit. It was a big deal to show our team where we can be. It provided a lot of notes. All of that was something going into the off-season that (crew chief) Mike Shiplett and I, and everyone on the 43 team and everybody at Richard Petty Motorsports, we could really build on and be excited about. We know we’re going to have a good car with a lot of horsepower.

“To be in the historic No. 43 is an honor. I am as big a fan as I am a driver and I love the history of the sport. The No. 43 is a huge part of that history so its just such an honor. Daytona is one of those races everyone wants to win. It’d be really special to get the No. 43 back to Victory Lane. I think the fans should expect to see some of the best racing we’ve had in awhile in this Daytona 500.”

Thoughts From Crew Chief Mike Shiplett:
“We are all ready for Daytona and to get this season going. Everyone at Richard Petty Motorsports - not just AJ and this No. 43 Best Buy team - has been working really hard on getting the best cars that we can possibly build prepared. Everything has gone really smoothly and we’re ready.

“Communication with AJ and I is good and that is really important. It seems like every time I spend some time with him I learn more and more about what he wants in the race car. I think we are going to have strong cars with great horsepower and I think going forward there are a whole bunch of pluses to keep building on for this No. 43 team and our teammates.

“It’s an honor and a privilege to be working for Richard Petty. Not only Richard but to also have the chance to work around Dale Inman. To have those people with you every week, that just brings a sense of pride and success and shows just what you want to be. We really want to bring and grow this organization to the level of success that Richard and Dale had back in the day.”

Chassis History:
Crew chief Mike Shiplett and the No. 43 Best Buy crew have prepared chassis No. 682 for this weekend’s Daytona 500 at Daytona (Fla.) International Raceway. This is a new Ford Fusion prepared for this weekend’s season opening event.

Allmendinger qualified his No. 43 Best Buy Ford Fusion in 25th place during last Saturday’s qualifying session and will line up in the 12th position in the first of two Gatorade Duel 150-mile races Thursday afternoon.

Credit: Richard Petty Motorsports PR

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