Monday, May 31, 2010

Charlotte Post-Race Quotes

PAUL MENARD - No. 98 Menards Ford Fusion
Finished 8th

"We've had a really good Ford Fusion since the test here a while back. We learned a lot then and just fine tuned on the car after that. We were strong in the Showdown last week and we're hopeful we would have a good car in race trim this weekend too - and we did. Our Menards pit crew was great again tonight. This finish was totally a team effort."


AJ ALLMENDINGER - No. 43 Best Buy Ford Fusion
Finished 14th

"We were terrible. I am proud of my guys for taking a 25th place car and getting 15th out of it. Because of that I am really proud of my guys. That was a really long night. Overall I am just proud of my crew chief Mike Shiplett and my engineer Phil and all my guys - they fought hard. It wasn't easy and it certainly wasn't fun. We got a decent day out of something that wasn't good."

Credit - Ford Racing

Charlotte Results

Coca-Cola 600 Finishing Order
1. Kurt Busch
2. Jamie McMurray
3. Kyle Busch
4. Mark Martin
5. David Reutimann
6. Jeff Gordon
7. Clint Bowyer
8. Paul Menard
9. Ryan Newman
10. Matt Kenseth
11. Kevin Harvick
12. Kasey Kahne
13. Joey Logano
14. AJ Allmendinger
15. Tony Stewart
16. Carl Edwards
17. Sam Hornish, Jr.
18. Denny Hamlin
19. Regan Smith
20. Brad Keselowski
21. Elliott Sadler
22. Dale Earnhardt, Jr.
23. Martin Truex, Jr.
24. David Ragan
25. Jeff Burton
26. David Gilliland
27. Bill Elliott
28. Travis Kvapil
29. Casey Mears
30. Scott Speed
31. Bobby Labonte
32. Greg Biffle
33. Robby Gordon
34. JJ Yeley
35. Kevin Conway
36. Marcos Ambrose
37. Jimmie Johnson
38. Juan Pablo Montoya
39. Joe Nemechek
40. Todd Bodine
41. Johnny Sauter
42. Michael McDowell
43. Dave Blaney

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Charlotte Post-Qualifying Quotes

KASEY KAHNE -- No. 9 Budweiser Ford Fusion
Qualified 4th
"That was a good lap. If felt really good. Everything about that felt good actually. I am really happy with the car and the adjustments and where we are at. I am a little surprised it wasn't faster actually. That will be a good spot."


PAUL MENARD -- No. 98 Menards Ford Fusion
Qualified 32nd
"I was hoping for a bigger pick-up than that. We struggled getting off turn four all day today. That is where I made up a lot of time last week in qualifying here. We just have to see how it shakes out. We have a good race car nonetheless."

DO YOU FEEL IT WAS A DISADVANTAGE GOING FIRST ON A DAY LIKE TODAY AT THIS TRACK? "Yeah, the sun is going down pretty quick. It is a disadvantage but there is nothing we can do about that. We just have to go do the best job we can."


ELLIOTT SADLER -- No. 19 Air Force/Stanley Ford Fusion
Qualified 40th

"That is a pretty bad lap. The car didn't drive anything like it did earlier in practice. We need to go figure that out. We are going to have to get it better. We will go try to find out what happened and go from there. It is a long race on Sunday, so we will just work on getting better."

Credit - Ford Racing

Charlotte Qualifying Results

Coca-Cola 600 Starting Lineup
1. Ryan Newman
2. Kurt Busch
3. Martin Truex, Jr.
4. Kasey Kahne
5. Jimmie Johnson
6. David Reutimann
7. Denny Hamlin
8. Joey Logano
9. Kyle Busch
10. Clint Bowyer
11. Mark Martin
12. Jeff Burton
13. Casey Mears
14. Sam Hornish, Jr.
15. Jeff Gordon
16. Matt Kenseth
17. Dave Blaney
18. AJ Allmendinger
19. Joe Nemechek
20. Juan Pablo Montoya
21. Scott Speed
22. Johnny Sauter
23. Kevin Harvick
24. Dale Earnhardt, Jr.
25. Bill Elliott
26. Tony Stewart
27. Jamie McMurray
28. David Gilliland
29. Todd Bodine
30. Michael McDowell
31. Carl Edwards
32. Regan Smith
33. Paul Menard
34. Marcos Ambrose
35. David Ragan
36. Robby Gordon
37. JJ Yeley
38. Brad Keselowski
39. Bobby Labonte
40. Elliott Sadler
41. Greg Biffle
42. Travis Kvapil
43. Kevin Conway
DNQ Reed Sorenson
DNQ Max Papis
DNQ David Stremme
DNQ Mike Bliss

Charlotte Preview

AJ ALLMENDIGER - No. 43 Best Buy Ford Fusion
* Allmendinger has made six NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway
* The driver is currently 25th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series standings

AJ Allmendinger on Charlotte Motor Speedway: "We had a really fast car last weekend in the Sprint Showdown. The No. 43 Best Buy Ford Fusion ended up with some damage after slight contact in one of the incidents, which I think affected how well the car had been running. But that race gave us a sense of what's ahead this weekend.

"600 miles is a long way to go but I'm confident in the car we'll have and this Richard Petty Motorsports team. They've been working hard and I'm proud of them. This is another race that goes from day to night. We'll have to be patient and just keep our focus until those last 100 laps or so. I'm looking forward to going out there and giving Best Buy and our fans a good run."

Crew Chief Mike Shiplett's Thoughts on Charlotte: "When we go to the 600, that's just about survival. You'll start in the heat of the day and finish at night. The track will be cooler. You just have to get through the first 300 miles and start racing the last 100 or 150 laps. That's when you can win or lose that race."

Chassis History: The No. 43 Richard Petty Motorsports team led by crew chief Mike Shiplett has prepared chassis No. 294 for this weekend's event at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Credit - Richard Petty Motorsports PR

Monday, May 24, 2010

All-Star Showdown Post-Race Quotes

Finished 4th
“That was a good time. Our Serta Ford Fusion was really fast at the start of the race and took off really well on four tires, so that’s where we were able to gain a good bit on the field. We just needed a little bit more time, I think. We took four tires when some took two, but I’m not sure that set us too far back in the field or not. It was a tough call and we did what we thought was best for our car. This gives us a lot of hope for next week-end. We’ll bring this same car back for the 600 and we’re anxious to see what we can do.”

Finished 8th
“I really thought we had the car to beat and that’d we’d race our way into the big show. The rear quarter panel got some damage there in the wreck around Lap 22. It seemed like that took away from how good the No. 43 Best Buy Ford Fusion had been. But I’m proud of this Richard Petty Motorsports team and want to thank all the guys for working so hard. A big thanks too to Best Buy and for all the fans for voting in the Fan Vote. Its so amazing to see all the support. We’re going to win a race this year so that we’ll be in the Sprint All-Star race next year.”

Finished 11th
“I can’t thank the fans enough for all their votes and support. It was amazing. I would have loved to have put this No. 19 Hunt Brothers Pizza Ford in the All-Star race. Both the Showdown and the Sprint All-Star races are always fun events for all the teams and, of course, the fans.”

Sunday, May 23, 2010

All-Star Race Results

Sprint All-Star Finishing Order
1. Kurt Busch
2. Martin Truex, Jr.
3. Joey Logano
4. Denny Hamlin
5. Tony Stewart
6. Kevin Harvick
7. Brad Keselowski
8. Matt Kenseth
9. Greg Biffle
10. Bobby Labonte
11. Ryan Newman
12. Dale Dearnhardt, Jr.
13. Jimmie Johnson
14. Kyle Busch
15. Kasey Kahne
16. Casey Mears
17. Mark Martin
18. Jamie McMurray
19. David Reutimann
20. Jeff Gordon
21. Carl Edwards

Sprint Showdown Finishing Order
1. Martin Truex, Jr.
2. Greg Biffle
3. Jeff Burton
4. Paul Menard
5. Marcos Ambrose
6. David Ragan
7. Sam Hornish, Jr.
8. AJ Allmendinger
9. Travis Kvapil
10. Carl Edwards
11. Elliott Sadler
12. Bill Elliott
13. Reed Sorenson
14. Scott Speed
15. Robby Gordon
16. Max Papis
17. JJ Yeley
18. Kevin Conway
19. Derrike Cope
20. Norm Benning
21. Robert Richardson, Jr.
22. Michael Waltrip
23. Clint Bowyer
24. David Gilliland
25. Tony Raines
26. Regan Smith
27. Juan Pablo Montoya
28. Todd Bodine
29. Joe Nemechek

Saturday, May 22, 2010

All-Star Racing Lineups

Sprint Showdown Starting Lineup
*Set by qualifying draw due to rain
1. David Ragan
2. Max Papis
3. Sam Hornish, Jr.
4. Kevin Conway
5. Greg Biffle
6. Reed Sorenson
7. Bill Elliott
8. AJ Allmendinger
9. Clint Bowyer
10. Robby Gordon
11. Regan Smith
12. Paul Menard
13. Michael Waltrip
14. Juan Pablo Montoya
15. Norm Benning
16. Elliott Sadler
17. Jeff Burton
18. Scott Speed
19. Marcos Ambrose
20. Martin Truex, Jr.
21. Todd Bodine
22. Robert Richardson
23. JJ Yeley
24. Travis Kvapil
25. Joe Nemechek
26. Carl Edwards
27. Tony Raines
28. Derrike Cope
29. David Gilliland

Sprint All-Star Challenge Starting Lineup
*Set by qualifying draw due to rain
1. Kurt Busch
2. Joey Logano
3. Brad Keselowski
4. Jamie McMurray
5. Kyle Busch
6. David Reutimann
7. Jimmie Johnson
8. Jeff Gordon
9. Casey Mears
10. Ryan Newman
11. Tony Stewart
12. Denny Hamlin
13. Kevin Harvick
14. Matt Kenseth
15. Mark Martin
16. Kasey Kahne
17. Bobby Labonte
18. Dale Earnhardt, Jr.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

All-Star Preview

• AJ Allmendinger has made three Sprint Showdown appearances
• Allmendinger won the Showdown in 2008 after qualifying in the fourth position
• Racing Dreams will be featured on the Best Buy car this weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway

AJ Allmendinger on the Sprint All-Star Race: “We’ve been working really hard to get the Fan Vote so we can make sure we’re in the All-Star Race, but that’s just a backup plan because we plan to race our way in. It’s been a fun campaign trying to get people to vote for me and I’ve been flattered by all the people that have. The Sprint All-Star race is something special. It’s great not only for the fans, but for the crew and for our sponsors. Best Buy and all of our partners deserve to be a part of that event and we’re going to do everything it takes to get there. I think we’ve got a car to beat.”

Credit - Richard Petty Motorsports PR

Monday, May 17, 2010

Dover Race Recap

It was a roller coaster of a day at the Monster Mile for AJ Allmendinger and the #43 crew on Sunday. After a solid qualifying effort at the Dover track, AJ started off the Autism Speaks 400 in 8th position. He maintained a top 10 spot through the first run of green flag racing and then came in for four fresh tires under the first caution. The pit crew had a great stop and got AJ a couple of positions to restart the race in 6th spot.

When the race went green again, it was like watching Richard Petty himself rocket through the field in the classic Petty blue and STP red colors. AJ made quick work in getting into the top five, but wasn’t satisfied with just making laps. He quickly conquered 4th and 3rd positions and then he set his sights on leader Kyle Busch and 2nd place Jimmie Johnson, who had put some distance on the rest of the field.

The fastest car in the field for quite some time, AJ gradually reeled in the two front runners and came up on the back of them just as Jimmie Johnson got around Kyle Busch to take the lead. AJ also made quick work of the younger Busch brother and then went after the four time champion. It looked like he was going to get past JJ a couple of times as they worked through traffic, but AJ finally settled into 2nd place as the two of them put a five second gap on the 3rd place car.

When it came time for a green flag pit stop on lap 130, AJ brought the Richard Petty Tribute car in for four tires and fuel. Unfortunately, a dropped lug nut on the right rear cost the team some time as the tire changer had to come back around and put the lug nut on. Thankfully the mistake was under green instead of yellow, so while AJ lost his large time advantage on the field, he only dropped one spot to 3rd once everything cycled through.

The pit stop had more severe consequences than just the lost position though. NASCAR only requires that the lug nuts be fully on the stud, but not necessarily tightened all the way. So when AJ’s tire changer went back for the lug, he tried saving time by not taking his air gun. Instead, he simply hand tightened it to get past the requirement so that AJ could shoot out of his stall immediately.

It might have saved a little bit of time by not having to run the air gun back around the car, but in my opinion they should have taken the extra time to do it right. That loose lug nut quite possibly cost the team a top five finish as AJ reported in 30 laps later that he had a bad vibration. Knowing the problems on the stop and suspecting a loose wheel was the culprit, AJ made the decision to come down pit road rather than ending up in the wall.

Luck wasn’t on AJ’s side as the caution came out on lap 165 while AJ was still on pit road. The pace car picked up the field and AJ couldn’t quite beat them out of pit road, trapping him not just one, but two laps down. All wasn’t lost though, as the new wave around rule benefitted the #43 team. AJ got one of his laps back after the leaders pitted and started at the tail end of the field, now one lap down and hunting for the lucky dog spot.

With what was still a top five race car on the speed chart, AJ picked his way through all of the lap down cars and eventually had a rough and tumble brawl with Ryan Newman to take the lucky dog position. When the caution flag fell giving AJ his lap back, he restarted in the 17th position and went to work again, moving up through the field.

Making it all the way up to a top 10 spot, the caution again flew and AJ brought the Tribute car back to the attention of the crew. This time it was the driver who made the error in the pits. Pitted right at the end of pit road, crew chief Mike Shiplett urged AJ to race out of his stall, possibly thinking that there wasn’t enough distance before the time line for the car to break pit road speed. That wasn’t the case though, and AJ was forced to start at the end of the field for a speeding penalty.

Restarting in 17th position, AJ only made up a couple of spots as he battled an ill-handling car. An adjustment on a green flag pit stop helped a little bit, but the handling still wasn’t near where it had been at the first part of the race. While he had been the fastest car in the field in the early running, he was now only clicking off top 15 lap times. Which is pretty much where he finished, ending up with a 14th place effort when the checkers fell.

While there were certainly disappointments throughout the race, I can’t say that the day was all bad. In fact, I think there were more positives to be taken away from the race than negatives. Certainly the #43 team needs to work on some things to make themselves into a race winning team, but this weekend they managed to prove to everyone that they aren’t far off the mark.

Mistakes by the pit crew happen to even the best of teams. That’s just the consequence of trying to make every 1/10th of a second count. I’m sure they will review what went wrong and take measures to make sure it doesn’t happen again. The speeding penalty was also the result of knowing they had a car capable of winning and trying to take advantage of every opportunity. AJ rarely has issues with speeding, and since the one on Sunday was more a consequence of where their pit stall was, I don’t even consider that an issue that needs resolved.

Honestly, I think the biggest thing that hurt the #43 team’s efforts on Sunday was just consistency with the handling of the car. The way the track rubbered up threw all the crew chiefs a curveball, and made the cars a handful for the drivers. While AJ obviously had one of the fastest cars at the beginning of the race, they either couldn’t keep up with the changing conditions, or else the rest of the field made their cars that much better.

In any case, even without the speeding penalty or the loose wheel, I think AJ would have had a tough time keeping the Tribute car on pace with the top 5 cars at the end of the 400 miles. That consistency and making good changes is the biggest thing that they need to work on right now. They’ve proven that they can build race winning cars – now they need to learn how to tweak those cars during the race so they can close the deal.

The Sprint Cup level of competition is fierce. It is getting more and more difficult to win races, even with the absolute best equipment out there – look at Jeff Gordon and Jeff Burton as examples. Not only do you have to have a super fast car, but a flawless pit crew, a machine for a driver, and apparently the perfect alignment of the stars in order to make the trip to Victory Lane, as luck certainly seems to be a factor.

While AJ and the #43 team have had their flashes of excellence, they haven’t quite managed to put everything together for that one perfect race. But yesterday they showed me that they’re not that far off the mark. That’s why, all things considered, I look at Sunday’s race in Dover as a success rather than a failure. The best is yet to come.

Dover Post-Race Quotes

AJ ALLMENDINGER -- No. 43 Richard Petty Hall of Fame Ford Fusion
Finished 14th

“It was a tough day but it was a good day for this No. 43 Richard Petty Motorsports team. It was so cool to be able to be up there battling for the lead, especially today with this special paint scheme honoring The King. We made some mistakes but the car was so fast and this team never quit. I’m so proud of them. We’ll just keep building and I know we’ll just keep getting better.”


KASEY KAHNE -- No. 9 Budweiser Ford Fusion
Finished 20th

“We had a great car today. The guys on this No. 9 Budweiser Ford team did a good job. We just had a weird problem with the shifter that set us back early in the race, but no one gave up and we managed to get back up to 20th.”


PAUL MENARD -- No. 98 Zecol/Menards Ford Fusion
Finished 21st

“Our Menards Ford was really loose today. Slugger and the guys worked really hard and made a lot of changes to it over the course of the event and they did help somewhat, but it just wasn’t enough. We were really hoping for a caution there at the end of the race and the opportunity to try to get our lap back, but that wasn’t to be. We stayed out of trouble, the guys had good stops and had a respectable finish, so we’ll learn everything we can from this one and move on to Charlotte.”


ELLIOTT SADLER -- No. 19 Stanley Ford Fusion
Finished 28th

“We had a good car on Friday and when we started practice on Saturday. We just slowed down a bunch and we were hitting the race track a bunch and we couldn’t figure out what the deal was with it. That was a frustrating day for sure. It is a brand new car, so maybe it just had a bug in it, I don’t know. It was definitely frustrating but we just have to pick up the pieces and move on to Charlotte.”

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Dover Results

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

Friday, May 14, 2010

Dover Post-Qualifying Quotes

AJ ALLMENDINGER -- No. 43 Richard Petty Hall of Fame Ford Fusion
Qualified 8th

"It is not bad. You can be in the top-10 here and be happy. We just got a little tight in three and four. I got through one and two really well and I was thinking that we had a chance. I tried to pick up the throttle in three and it got tight in the center. That was the difference right there."

GUYS HAVE BEEN SLIPPING A LOT; DID YOU EXPERIENCE ANY OF THAT? "Well, I saw a lot of guys sliding around out there, but I actually had good grip out there so I went after it. If it had stuck through three and four we would have been really good. I don't know if I would have gotten a pole, but it would have been darn close."


PAUL MENARD -- No. 98 Zecol/Menards Ford Fusion
Qualified 23rd

"I wasn't too happy with my lap. A lot of people have slowed down and I was hoping we could run the same, if not better, than we did in practice. If we had then we would be in a lot better position. From where we unloaded to where we ended practice I am really happy with changes that were made. I don't that that run will give us a good spot, but it will be okay. We just have to adjust for Sunday."

DOES THE WAY YOU RAN IN PRACTICE GIVE YOU OPTIMISM FOR SUNDAY? "Yeah, we hit on a couple of things right at the end of practice. We didn't get to expand on them, but we will work on that tomorrow and hope to improve things for Sunday."

Credit - Ford Racing

Dover Qualifying Results

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

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Dover Preview

No. 43 Richard Petty Hall of Fame Ford Fusion

• Allmendinger has made six NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts at the Monster Mile
• Allmendinger posted his best career finish at Dover—a seventh-place effort—last fall
• The No. 43 Ford Fusion will pay tribute to team owner and NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee Richard Petty

AJ Allmendinger on Dover: “I’m really excited that we get to run this throwback paint scheme this weekend. The No. 43 Richard Petty Motorsports Ford looks so awesome. We had a great run last year at Dover. It’d be pretty cool to have it on the race car and win the race. I think it’s one of our best tracks, so I am looking forward to running well and being able to share that with Richard (Petty).

“To be a part of Richard’s race team and to be in the No. 43 car that he made so famous is such an honor for me. It’s great to see The King be a part of the inaugural class. He and the other inductees are who made NASCAR what it is today. Our Richard Petty Motorsports team is excited about this weekend and being able to pay tribute to Richard. I’m really just a very small, small part of what it all means, but to be a part of it as it’s happening is just an honor.”

Crew Chief Mike Shiplett’s Thoughts on Dover: “I’m really excited about Dover. We had a really good race there in the fall last year. I think the spoiler at Dover is going to make everything a lot better. To go fast at Dover, you need a lot of total downforce, a lot of rear downforce, and that’s what the spoiler is adding to the cars, so I’m really excited about going to Dover and picking up where we left off in the fall.

“They re-did pit road last year. It’s a lot nicer now and the pit boxes are a little bit bigger. It’s still tight getting out, but you have a few more options of pit stalls. Before it used to be pit stall one was the only place you wanted to go, so you’ve got a few more options in pit selection. I just like that track and everything about it. It’s a good track.”

Chassis History: The No. 43 Richard Petty Motorsports team led by crew chief Mike Shiplett has prepared chassis No. 288 for this weekend’s 400 mile race in Dover. This car was last run at the event at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway where Allmendinger drove to a 17th-place finish.

Notes: On Monday, AJ unveiled this weekend’s Richard Petty Hall of Fame paint scheme on SPEED’s Race Hub. The car, a throw-back look from Petty’s days of NASCAR racing, will feature the familiar Petty Blue and Day-glo Red colors with NASCAR Hall of Fame logos on the hood. Petty will be inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame as a member of the inaugural class on May 23rd and will serve as Grand Marshal of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event this weekend in Dover.

Allmendinger will join Richard Petty for a question and answer session with the fans on Saturday at 10 am ET at the Monster Monument at Victory Plaza. AJ will also take part in an autograph session at the Dover Air Force Base Thursday evening.

Support The Paralyzed Veterans of America: Don’t miss out on the second annual King’s Cup - Karting For A Cause event hosted by Richard Petty on Tuesday, May 25. To learn more about how you can participate in the King’s Cup, visit:

Monday, May 10, 2010

Darlington Race Recap

Bad Brake for AJ at Darlington
After getting a strong start to the weekend with the fastest lap of opening practice, and then taking 12th on the grid despite having to qualify first, the Darlington weekend was looking pretty good for AJ and the Insignia/Best Buy crew.

The No. 43 Ford had a solid start to the opening 100 laps in the Showtime Southern 500, with AJ keeping on the lead lap and avoiding the trouble that seemed to reach out and grab everyone early. But trouble lurked in another form as the 43 started to lose ground when the brakes started to fade.

AJ worked to drive around the problem as much as possible and fight to the finish as the team also looked to find the problem and fix it. The track, with the two different-radius corners at each end, demands a lot from the brakes to be fast and this was a critical issue.

Unfortunately, as a yellow flew, AJ became a second part of the yellow when his brakes failed completely and he was just a passenger in the Insignia car as he spun the machine to lose as much speed as possible, but the dirty apron sent him back up into the path of the pack as he made contact with the 48.

"We were having brake trouble the last 60 laps," said AJ in his television interview. "We came in that yellow and took all the brake cooling tape off. We aren't sure what was happening, we've had brake trouble the last few weeks. When that yellow came out, I hit the brakes and one of the rotors, I'm not sure which one, exploded so I had no brakes. I just tried to head to the bottom and miss everyone so I'm sorry to Jimmie and everyone at Hendrick for tearing up their stuff.

"I was out of brakes, and backwards, and just trying to miss everyone. I'm alright, just proud of everyone on this Insignia/Best Buy Ford team. WIthout the brake trouble we could have kept fighting to get the car better but I knew we were in trouble the last 50 laps without any brakes and that was just it."

Credit -

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Darlington Post-Race Quotes

KASEY KAHNE - No. 9 Budweiser Ford Fusion
Finished 20th
“I really was looking forward to a strong finish there tonight. Our Ford was fast and strong over the first half of the race. We just got hung up on the outside and had some damage there on one of the restarts. I know these guys are working hard. Wish we’d had a much better result tonight to show for it.”


ELLIOTT SADLER - No. 19 Hunt Brothers Pizza Ford Fusion
Finished 21st
“We started deep in the field in our Hunt Brothers Pizza Ford Fusion for tonight’s race but we fought hard and really showed we’re able to get up there. It was a tough night and definitely showed why this place is called “Too Tough To Tame.” I’m proud of this No. 19 Richard Petty Motorsports team. Like every week, we’ll keep working hard and building towards better results.”


PAUL MENARD - No. 98 Turtle Wax/Menards Ford Fusion
Finished 30th
“We had a tough run tonight but my team never quit. I’m really proud of this No. 98 Richard Petty Motorsports crew. Our car was handling decent right away but by about Lap 40, I noticed the voltage was way to the left. I switched the battery but had to keep an eye on it all night. I know Slugger was working on hard on making the best calls to combat everything we were faced with. We’ll take what we can from this and just prepare to fight back at Dover.”


AJ ALLMENDINGER - No. 43 Insignia/Best Buy Ford Fusion
Finished 37th
"The brake rotor exploded. The last 40 or 50 laps we were struggling with brake problems and just no brakes. We took all the brake cooling off and thought maybe we were gonna fix it, and when that yellow came out I went to hit the brakes to slow down and the brake rotors exploded. I'm not sure which one, but I was just trying to aim for the bottom and try to miss everybody. I'm sorry to Jimmie. It wasn't his fault, but I had no brakes and couldn't do anything about it."

Credit - Ford Racing & Richard Petty Motorsports PR

Darlington Results

Showtime Southern 500 Finishing Order
1. Denny Hamlin
2. Jamie McMurray
3. Kurt Busch
4. Jeff Gordon
5. Juan Pablo Montoya
6. Kevin Harvick
7. Kyle Busch
8. Jeff Burton
9. Ryan Newman
10. Brian Vickers
11. David Reutimann
12. Brad Keselowski
13. Matt Kenseth
14. David Ragan
15. Carl Edwards
16. Mark Martin
17. Regan Smith
18. Dale Earnhardt, Jr.
19. Martin Truex, Jr.
20. Kasey Kahne
21. Elliott Sadler
22. Greg Biffle
23. Tony Stewart
24. David Stremme
25. Marcos Ambrose
26. Travis Kvapil
27. Joey Logano
28. Scott Speed
29. Max Papis
30. Paul Menard
31. Sam Hornish, Jr.
32. Clint Bowyer
33. Kevin Conway
34. Bobby Labonte
35. David Gilliland
36. Jimmie Johnson
37. AJ Allmendinger
38. Robby Gordon
39. Todd Bodine
40. Michael McDowell
41. JJ Yeley
42. Dave Blaney
43. Reed Sorenson

Friday, May 7, 2010

Darlington Post-Qualifying Quotes

KASEY KAHNE - No. 9 Budweiser Ford Fusion
Qualified 10th

"That was a good lap. I felt pretty good about it. We made some gains from practice and picked up a lot of speed. The track, it's late in the afternoon, so I would say it could pick up some more speed for some of these guys at the end, but it is what it is. Hopefully, we end up in the top 10."

WILL GUYS GOING TO BACKUPS BENEFIT BY QUALIFYING LATE? "Well, I don't know. I know one thing - our car is clean. It probably won't be after tomorrow night's race, but it's clean so far and there are a lot of cars that are not clean. It's tough. The track has been very fast and the grip has been minimal at times, but it's been an interesting day. It's gonna be an interesting night in the Nationwide race and then tomorrow in the Cup race."


AJ ALLMENDINGER - No. 43 Insignia/Best Buy Ford Fusion
Qualified 12th

"Everybody with the Insignia/Best Buy Ford has had just a great day. I'm proud of everybody at Richard Petty Motorsports. They're building good cars, but we can't do anything about the draw. I don't know where that's gonna put us, but the right side is clean and we just had a solid day. We're happy with that. I think we've got a pretty good car in race trim. We're gonna fine-tune it tomorrow, but it's been a good day."


PAUL MENARD - No. 98 Menards Ford Fusion
Qualified 20th

"I was really happy with that. We picked up four or five tenths. The car stuck a lot better. We made some air-pressure adjustments. I left a little bit out there. I was kind of kicking myself because I could have got back to the gas sooner off of four and gained a little bit more speed coming to the checkered, but, overall, I'm real happy with the Menards team and we've got a good race car, too."

THE DRAW DIDN'T HELP. "The draw is not gonna help, but it hasn't seemed to have cooled off a whole lot, so, hopefully, it'll stay hot and sunny and it won't be an issue."

Credit - Ford Racing

AJ in Famous Petty Colors at Dover

Richard Petty Motorsports To Honor NASCAR Hall Of Fame Inductee Richard Petty At Dover International Speedway

As a tribute to team owner and NASCAR legend Richard Petty, the No. 43 Richard Petty Motorsports Ford will adorn old familiar colors for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event at Dover (Del.) International Speedway. The Ford driven by AJ Allmendinger will bring back the "Petty Blue" and "Day-glo Red" colors in honor of "The King," who will be inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame as part of the inaugural class on Sunday, May 23.

The throwback paint scheme will resemble the No. 43 machine Petty drove in 1984. That season, the driver collected his 199th career win at Dover. Petty holds the record for the most wins in NASCAR with 200.

"Obviously the No. 43 and Richard Petty are synonymous with NASCAR," said Allmendinger. "To run this special throwback paint scheme at Dover as he's being inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in the first class is really a pleasure. The people that are being inducted into the Hall of Fame this year, they are the ones who made NASCAR what it is. Just to be a part of it is awesome. To be Richard's driver, it's an honor."

Petty will serve as the Grand Marshal for the Autism Speaks 400 at Dover International Speedway on Sunday, May 16. The seven-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion won the inaugural race at Dover in 1969. He is also tied with Bobby Allison for the most wins at the one-mile track with seven.

Credit - Richard Petty Motorsports PR

Darlington Qualifying Results

Showtime Southern 500 Starting Lineup
1. Jamie McMurray
2. Jeff Gordon
3. Brian Vickers
4. David Reutimann
5. Mark Martin
6. Ryan Newman
7. Marcos Ambrose
8. Denny Hamlin
9. Brad Keselowski
10. Kasey Kahne
11. Jeff Burton
12. AJ Allmendinger
13. Joey Logano
14. Kurt Busch
15. Juan Pablo Montoya
16. Scott Speed
17. Greg Biffle
18. Michael McDowell
19. Dale Earnhardt, Jr.
20. Paul Menard
21. David Ragan
22. Jimmie Johnson
23. Bobby Labonte
24. Tony Stewart
25. Sam Hornish, Jr.
26. Robby Gordon
27. Clint Bowyer
28. Dave Blaney
29. Matt Kenseth
30. JJ Yeley
31. David Stremme
32. Regan Smith
33. Martin Truex, Jr.
34. David Gilliland
35. Kevin Harvick
36. Reed Sorenson
37. Todd Bodine
38. Elliott Sadler
39. Kyle Busch
40. Travis Kvapil
41. Carl Edwards
42. Kevin Conway
43. Max Papis
DNQ Joe Nemechek
DNQ Casey Mears
DNQ Mike Bliss

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Darlington Preview

No. 43 Insignia/Best Buy Ford Fusion

• Allmendinger has made six NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts at the 1.366-mile track
• Allmendinger holds down 21st place in the owner points standings
• Insignia returns to the hood of the No. 43 RPM Ford this weekend

AJ Allmendinger on Darlington: “Darlington is such a tough track, maybe one of the toughest we race on all season. I don’t think anyone walks out of there with their car unscathed. There is definitely truth to why the track is called “Too Tough To Tame.” But I love it. With Richmond last weekend, it’s cool to have back-to-back Saturday night races. Darling-ton, like Richmond, has been a part of the sport for a long time so the history-side of it is pretty cool too.

“The No. 43 Insignia/Best Buy Ford Fusion will have the new Ford FR9 engine under the hood this weekend. I’m really excited about that engine. I think we’re all pleased with what we’ve seen with it so far. Qualifying is going to be important this weekend. It’d be great to grab another pole and get ahead from the start of the race. Mike Shiplett and this No. 43 team have worked really hard. We’ve made some progress in the point standings but there is plenty of more work to do. I’m excited and ready to get at it.”

Crew Chief Mike Shiplett’s Thoughts on Darlington: “You still run the same line that you ran at the old Darlington before they repaved it, but the tires do not fall off now like they used to. They only lose about two tenths over a fuel run. The track is really fast, the tires get really hot and you lose overall grip, but the speed is still there. You need a really good turning car there. Qualifying is going to be really important because it’s really hard to pass. We’ve got the notes from the No. 19’s test there and we had a good race at Darlington last year. AJ runs really well there. He likes that track, so I’m excited to be going there this weekend.”

Chassis History: The No. 43 Insignia/Best Buy team led by crew chief Mike Shiplett has prepared chassis No. 277 for this weekend’s 500 mile race in Darlington. This car was last run at the event at Phoenix International Raceway where Allmendinger started from the pole and finished inside the top 15.

The No. 43 machine will have the new Ford FR9 engine under its hood this weekend.

Support The Paralyzed Veterans of America: There are several ways you can help support the PVA, a veterans service organization established in 1946 that helps our military heroes who have experienced spinal cord injury or dysfunction. Enter a raffle to win a Jeep CJ-2A Willys restored by Petty's Garage. Visit Don’t miss out on the second an-nual King’s Cup—Karting For A Cause event hosted by Richard Petty on Tuesday, May 25. To learn more about how you can participate in the King’s Cup, visit:

Credit - Richard Petty Motorsports PR

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Ford Interview with AJ Allmendinger

AJ Allmendinger, driver of the No. 43 Valvoline/Best Buy Ford Fusion will run the new FR9 engine at Darlington Raceway Saturday night. Allmendinger, who likes the setup at Darlington, took time to talk with Ford Racing about his season to date, the FR9, what he likes about Darlington, and if his open-wheel background is an asset or hindrance at the egg-shaped track.

ARE YOU HAPPY WITH YOUR SEASON THUS FAR? "I would definitely like to be higher in points, but the points are really close. If we can put a couple of good weeks together we could jump up around 14th or 15th, somewhere in there. I've really liked the last few weeks that we've ran. We have had good overall weekends from the time we start practicing on Friday through the end of the race. I know a lot of people say that we haven't had the finishes where we've been running, and that is true. We've been inside the top-10 at a lot of the races. Phoenix, we qualified on the pole, and Talladega, we led some laps. At Texas we were really fast, but we didn't have any luck on our side. I have been pleased with that and if we can keep doing that, have three strong weeks and be around 16th in points going into the All-Star race, we will be pretty good. I really feel like the team has gotten a lot stronger each week and our car is getting better. We just need to have a little better finish than where we have been running."

HOW BIG ARE THE NEXT SIX WEEKS FOR YOU GUYS? "If you go through and look at where you are at the end of July, that is where you see where you are as a race team. Even at the All-Star break that is how I look at it. If you can be around the 125-point range of the chase and getting better each week, then you can look at it and truly say you are on the cusp of being a chase team. Now, on the other hand, if you struggle and are 250 points out, you probably won't turn that around and need to set different goals. We have some good race tracks coming up the next six weeks. We should be good at Darlington and we were really fast at Dover last year. I was really happy with the Charlotte test, so I am really looking forward to both the All-Star weekend and the 600. I am a road course guy, so Sonoma should be good. We are building new cars also, so Michigan and places like Pocono I really enjoy and those are coming up. We just have to keep getting better each weekend."

WHAT IS IT ABOUT DARLINGTON THAT YOU LIKE PARTICULARLY? "Well, it is fast. You are right up against the wall. I wish they wouldn't have repaved it actually. I got to drive it one time the old way and it was a blast. Now it is fast, so if you get your car turning really good, there is a lot of grip in the race track. If you get it turning, you will be pretty hooked up around there. You have a lot of horsepower with our Roush Yates motors, so it is a fun place. We were pretty good there last year, and I think we should be even better there this year."

YOU WILL BE RUNNING THE FR9 AT DARLINGTON, WHAT DO YOU ANTICIPATE FROM IT IN A NON-RESTRICTOR PLATE SETTING? "That is a good question, we are still learning a lot of things each time. I can tell you that the engine is a great engine and I am looking forward to running it again. It is like the spoiler though, every track we go to we get asked what it is like to run it in this setting, or that setting. I understand that, but until we go through it, it is really hard to answer. Anything that helps us improve our race car, improve our weekend, will be good."

DOES YOUR OPEN-WHEEL BACKGROUND COME IN HANDY OR HARM YOU AT A TRACK LIKE DARLINGTON? "The transition from an Indy car to a stock car in general is tough. I always laugh because they told me that Pocono is just like a road course and I should be good there, then I get out there and it is just three messed up left-handers, it isn't anything like a road course. Darlington is the same way. You show up there and it is the funkiest looking oval you have ever seen. It is an awesome place though. The tradition there is really cool and I have gotten better each year that I have raced there, so I am really looking forward to it this time around."

Credit - Ford Racing

Monday, May 3, 2010

Richmond Race Recap

Despite an early qualifying draw, AJ put the #43 Valvoline Ford solidly in 15th position for the start of the race at Richmond. As the race got underway, he reported in that the car was tight through the center, with no rear grip. Despite the handling issues, he maintained right around 15th place throughout the first stretch of the race.

Leader Kyle Busch set a blistering pace, and a long stretch of green flag racing sent many cars down a lap early in the going. One particular adjustment that crew chief Mike Shiplett made during that stretch of the race left AJ struggling with a loose condition and sliding backwards. The team never gave up though, and continued to try and make the race car better.

After sliding as low as 25th place, AJ rebounded and gradually moved up through traffic again. Jeff Gordon was now dominating the field though, and AJ lost a lap again after taking the wave around on an earlier caution. Trying to use strategy to their advantage, Mike called AJ down pit road early for fresh tires once he was no longer in the lucky dog position. Then AJ drove as hard as he could to try and make up time while the leaders were on older tires.

The gamble paid off, as green flag stops cycled through and AJ found himself back on the lead lap. This time he was the one on older tires though, with the leaders having fresh rubber. Thankfully the caution came out before the disadvantage sent the #43 a lap down again, and AJ was one of just 15 or 16 cars on the lead lap.

As often happens towards the end of the race, cautions breed cautions. The Valvoline Ford was a strong contender on the long runs, but struggled on short runs. Despite getting fresh tires on two of the restarts, AJ didn’t make up any ground. On the final restart Mike Shiplett went the other direction and left AJ out to try and gain some track position that way. With fresher tires behind him though, AJ lost what little bit they gained and finished 17th, which was pretty much where they ran throughout the night.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Richmond Post-Race Quotes

AJ ALLMENDINGER - No. 43 Valvoline/Best Buy Ford Fusion
Finished 15th
"It was tough. I am proud of the pit crew they fought hard. I am proud of Mike and everybody on the No. 43 team. At a point I thought we had it really good and then another point the track got loose and we were just a little bit off. We fought really hard though. I was hoping to get a little better finish out of that, but all in all, for as much as I was complaining and as much as I was hanging on 17th is respectable.

ARE YOU SURPRISED AT ALL WITH HOW CRAZY THINGS GOT AT THE END CONSIDERING HOW CLEAN THE RACE WAS MOST OF THE NIGHT? "No, that is the nature of this race. I was more surprised that it was the guys behind us that were wrecking. I was hoping it would be the guys in front of us. We were just a little bit off. When we got the car right we were good in the long runs, but we were barely hanging on in the short runs. We will move on from here."


MIKE SHIPLETT - Crew Chief, No. 43 Valvoline/Best Buy Ford Fusion
"The biggest thing was we were fighting a really inconsistent car and it was reacting more than it should have to our adjustments. We missed the set-up a little bit I think. We just weren't good enough in the beginning of a run tonight. We were fine in the long run, just not good at the beginning. We need to work on that.

A LOT OF CARS COMPLAINED OF BEING LOOSE TONIGHT, DID YOU HAVE THE SAME TROUBLE? "Yeah, we were really loose. We would go from pretty good to really loose and that is what we were fighting all day. We kept trying to tighten it up and not effect the center at all."


KASEY KAHNE - No. 9 Budweiser Ford Fusion
Finished 21st
"We had about a 15th place car tonight. We battled, but that is about where we should have been. We just didn't play a strategy and six cars behind us did, so we finished up 21st. That is what happened out there tonight.

YOU WERE BUMPING PRETTY GOOD WITH THE NO. 20 "Yeah, we were fighting for the lucky dog. At that point, no cautions came out, so all he did was slow us both down by holding me down. Jeff Gordon put a straight away on us in like five laps, and he wasn't that much faster than us at that point. I don't really know what Logano was thinking out there."


PAUL MENARD - No. 98 Schrock/Menards Ford Fusion
Finished 27th

“Our Schrock/Menards Ford was really fast in the middle stages of the race and I think if things had gone our way a little better with the pit sequence thing, we could have easily finished in the top 15. But sometimes things work for you and sometimes things work against you and tonight wasn’t our night in that respect. This RPM pit crew continued to do a great job every time we were in the pits and while we’re disappointed in that finish, there are certainly things to build off of here.”


ELLIOTT SADLER - No. 19 Reynolds Ford Fusion
Finished 38th

“Obviously that wasn't the way we wanted to finish this race. We were hoping for a much better re-sult and we’re disappointed, but I’m so proud of the way the crew responded all day. The pit stops were good all day and they were determined to get the Reynolds Ford back out before the race ended. It may not seem like it based on the result, but I felt like we made progress today. There were times when our Reynolds Ford Fusion was really pretty good and Wally and I communicated well the en-tire race.”

Credit - Ford Racing & Richard Petty Motorsports PR

Richmond Race Results

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

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Richmond Post-Qualifying Quotes

AJ ALLMENDINGER - No. 43 Valvoline Ford Fusion
Qualified 15th

ON HIS QUALIFYING RUN "The track had a decent amount of grip, but we have been up and down today. I am more disappointed in myself more than anything today. We brushed the wall there in practice and my crew did a great job of getting the car back together. I always want to try to be as perfect as I can and that hurt us a little bit. The car was a lot better for qualifying, probably a little bit better than the driver. If it get's us a top-20 spot I will be happy."


ELLIOTT SADLER - No. 19 Stanley Ford Fusion
Qualified 24th

ON HIS QUALIFYING LAPS AT HIS HOME TRACK "We will have to see where we end up. It is definitely a big gain from where we were in practice. I am proud of my guys. We just have to race good here tomorrow. Man, I really want to race well here tomorrow. It is my home track so there is a little added incentive there. We feel like we know what we need to work on so we will continue to keep digging on it and see where it puts us.

HOW MANY RACES DID YOU WATCH HERE AS A KID? "A bunch. I watched a bunch here as a kid. We have been coming here since the early 80's when it was a half-mile track. I was here the day they knocked down the fence and made it from a half-mile to a three-quarter mile track. I have seen a lot of stuff here, it is just really cool to be on this side of it now and race for my hometown fans."


PAUL MENARD - No. 98 Menards Ford Fusion
Qualified 32nd

ON HIS QUALIFYING RUN- "It was an okay run. We are just really lacking speed right now. We are all in the same boat I think. We were struggling to get it to turn and then you try to free it up and you can't get off the corner. That is what was going on out there with me.

IS THAT WHAT YOU AND GREG (BIFFLE) JUST FINISHED TALKING ABOUT? "Yeah, he was experiencing the same thing. It is just really tough because you have to pick your poison a little bit."

Credit - Ford Racing

Richmond Qualifying Results

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