Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Daytona II Preview

No. 43 PVA Mission: ABLE Ford Fusion

- AJ Allmendinger has made four NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts at Daytona International Speedway
- Allmendinger has posted one top-five finish at the track—a third –place effort in 2009
- The driver moved up one spot last week and is currently 21st in the NSCS driver point standings

AJ Allmendinger on Daytona International Speedway: “I think this is definitely a race we’re capable of winning. NASCAR has decided to use a larger restrictor plate and we’ve got the spoiler instead of the wing this time around so there are a couple of unknowns heading into the weekend, but we’ve got some momentum on our side right now, so I can’t wait to get to Daytona and see what we’ve got.

“This is a big race for our partners, the Paralyzed Veterans of America and we’re excited about the paint scheme this weekend and the opportunity to highlight the PVA’s new initiative, Mission: ABLE. PVA does really great work and for our country’s veterans and it’s especially important to bring that to light heading into Independence Day. I’m really proud to be able to work with the PVA and hope we can get this No. 43 Ford into victory lane for them Saturday night.”

Crew Chief Mike Shiplett’s Thoughts on the Weekend: “Handling, handling, handling—that’s the most important thing about racing at Daytona. The new, larger restrictor plate will really affect the handling of the cars because it will be much harder for the driver to hold it wide open.”

Chassis History: The No. 43 Richard Petty Motorsports team led by crew chief Mike Shiplett has prepared chassis No. 682 for this weekend’s event at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla. This car was run earlier this year in the season opener at the 2.5-mile superspeedway.

Notes: AJ Allmendinger is currently in the midst of a streak of six consecutive top-15 finishes in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series competition. In addition, Allmendinger has finished inside the top 20 in 10 of the last 11 races. Last week’s 10th-place finish at New Hampshire Motor Speedway was the third top-10 of the season for the No. 43 team and the second in the month of June.

The Paralyzed Veterans of America new initiative Mission: ABLE will be featured on the No. 43 Ford this weekend. The PVA is the nation’s leading veteran organization and its national network provides comprehensive support for veterans. In addition to featuring its new Mission: ABLE initiative, which raises awareness and funds to enable veterans to find jobs, secure benefits and receive care and camaraderie, three members of the PVA will attend the race and be guests of RPM.

Allmendinger is set to make his 98th career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series start this weekend at Daytona. He is on track to reach the 100-race mark at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in July.

Credit - Richard Petty Motorsports PR

Monday, June 28, 2010

Loudon Race Recap

After finishing off his practice sessions at New Hampshire in 14th, 21st, and 19th – not to mention an unremarkable 28th place starting spot – I didn’t have high hopes for AJ to have a great weekend. I always expect top 20 finishes, with a top 15 being a good day and a top 10 being a great day. A top 10 seemed so far out of reach though that I was just hoping for another solid top 15 to extend AJ’s streak of consecutive finishes in that range.

But one thing you can never do in NASCAR is make an assumption based on practice and qualifying times. From the moment that AJ took the green flag on Sunday afternoon, his #43 Berlin City Auto Group car was hooked up. While everyone fought with rear grip, AJ said he was as close to perfect as they could get. He quickly made pass after pass and was in the top 20 in the blink of an eye.

What was so remarkable about it was that the tires didn’t seem to have a lot of falloff. Most guys were either good at the start and then they would fade, or else they would start off horrible and then get fast at the end of the run. AJ’s car was fast throughout the whole tire cycle, and he was consistently running times as good as the leader.

When the first caution came out I’m sure Mike Shiplett had originally planned to make a two-tire stop to get AJ some track position, but with such a great handling car AJ was able to make passes on the track and gain spots without resorting to strategy. So the crew put on four tires and AJ restarted back in the pack again, and just as swiftly as before moved up into the top 15.

That call turned out to be a good one, because the race went green flag for three long stretches after that, and AJ might have suffered from the extra tire wear if he had only taken two. Instead, he steadily climbed through the field until he was safely inside the top 10. Even a couple of yellow flag stops didn’t hurt him as sometimes happen, and the #43 crew stepped up and kept him in contention.

As the closing laps started to play out, AJ ran solidly in 4th position. When it was clear that he could not catch Kyle Busch for 3rd place, AJ decided to play it smart and slowed his lap times to try and save tires just in case he needed them for a late race restart, while still staying well ahead of the 5th place car.

Of course that late race caution did happen, and the leaders brought the 14 cars that were left on the lead lap down pit road. Knowing that most everyone would take two tires, Mike decided to play that strategy also and put just right side tires on the #43 machine. Unfortunately, that was the key stop of the race and the #43 guys had some sort of bauble that cost AJ a couple of positions. Not only that, but when he restarted in 6th spot there were guys behind him that had four tires instead of just two.

With a good restart AJ knew that he could get ahead of those cars and possibly salvage a top 5 out of the day, but as usual he was knocked around by other cars jockeying for position. It has become a habit for drivers in the series now to push people out of the way during restarts near the end of the race. And while AJ benefitted from Jeff Gordon and Juan Pablo Montoya beating and banging on each other, he was later mistreated himself at the hands of Ryan Newman and Clint Bowyer.

Never having taken two tires during the entire race, AJ and Mike Shiplett didn’t know how the car would react to the changes so that they could adjust the handling for the situation. As the final laps ran out under green the car just wasn’t handling as good as it had been earlier and AJ’s two tires faded to some of the guys who had taken four. He still managed to salvage a top 10 finish out of the day, but it was disappointing after having a top 5 car for much of the race.

I learned a big lesson on Sunday though, which was that I should never underestimate my driver or his team. The #43 crew has made huge strides in improving their cars and have been very competitive over the last several races. Top 15 finishes are now the norm, and top 10’s are getting more frequent. It won’t be long until AJ is running inside the top 5 on a regular basis, and a win is sure to follow. And up next is a track where unpredictable is the word of the day. AJ was fast there in February, and is sure to be up front and lead some laps this weekend.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Loudon Post-Race Quotes

AJ ALLMENDINGER – No. 43 Berlin City Auto Group Ford Fusion
Finished 10th
“It seems like most of the time the 39, when he just wants to run into you he will, but that’s how tight this racing is because there’s 20 to go and it’s basically near a green-white-checkered so everybody is gonna get after it. I roughed some guys up to, so you can’t really complain that much about it. It’s just one of those racing deals. It’s what everybody gets excited about. If you would have told me at the beginning of the day we were gonna finish 10th, I would have said, ‘Perfect.’ When you kind of run top five or top six all day and you finish 10th, it doesn’t feel quite as good. I’m just proud of everybody on this 43 race team. Thank you to Ford, and we had Berlin City Auto Groups on the car today – the car looked good – Insignia, Best Buy and Valvoline, PVA – we’ve got them on the car next week – so everybody that supports this race team, thank you. It was another solid day, another top 10. We’ll take it. We always know it could be a little bit better, but I’d rather be complaining about 10th than complaining about 30th, so we’ll move on. It’s another good points day. I think that probably got us closer to the chase because a couple guys ahead of us fell out, so we’ll just keep working on it and getting this race team better.”

WHAT DOES THIS SAY FOR THE TEAM AS YOU TRY TO MAKE THE CHASE? “I look at the Chase as one of those things that would just be a bonus. I look at it if we can be top 15 or top 16 in points, being a first-year team together and our first year with Ford. Ford Racing has pumped this organization up so much, so the Chase is still the goal, but we just have to keep running inside that top 10. Today was a big day. This is probably one of my worst race tracks, so I felt like a real race car driver out there today and that’s always a good thing. To run as well as we did and still get a top 10 out of it, I’m excited to move forward. We’ve got a fast car in Daytona this year. We’re going back with the same car, so I don’t see why we can’t win that thing.”


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

“This Stanley crew never gives up and I'm really proud of them. Our Ford Fusion wasn't exactly where it needed to be to start the race and Wally and the guys worked on it all day. By the end, it was pretty good on the long runs and I think if we could have made that lap back up that we lost early on at some point during the race, we would have had a pretty good finish. We're not where we need to be just yet, but every week we get closer and closer to it.”


PAUL MENARD - No. 98 Energizer/Menards Ford Fusion
Finished 28th
“Our Menards Ford Fusion was good on long runs, but it really took a while to get going on new tires. I'm not sure why and that's something that we'll have to figure out. We certainly hoped for a better finish than that, but getting caught on pit road when the caution flag flew was hard to overcome. We did have a good car throughout the event though, so we'll go to work to figure some things out and I think we'll have a chance at a much better outcome when we get back here in the fall.”


KASEY KAHNE – No. 9 Budweiser Ford Fusion
Finished 36th

“We had a fast Budweiser Ford. It was nice to drive, but we just had another mechanical failure. It’s tough. We’ve been doing pretty good points-wise and that hurts again, but we can keep going for it.”

IS IT SOMETHING YOU WOULD EXPECT WITH THE NEW ENGINE? “No. It’s been out for a while as far as preparing it and being prepared and ready. When you put it on the track, they’re not supposed to break. I don’t care. That engine could have broke. One of the old engines could have broke. It’s probably just something small inside that happened, but when we brought it here we had no idea that it would break. It’s ready. It’s prepared. It’s ready to go on the track.”

ARE YOU GOING TO TALK TO MENARD AND KENSETH ABOUT THE WAY THEY RACED YOU BY TRYING TO STAY ON THE LEAD LAP? “Yeah, I understand what they’re doing. I don’t care what Kenseth’s doing. He’s racing hard and trying to stay on the lead lap. That’s fine. Menard raced me super-hard and then Kyle Busch gets to him and he lets him go in the first corner that he gets to him. One corner and he lets Kyle go, so that’s what made me mad. What Matt was doing, Matt’s just trying to stay on the lead lap. That’s racing. That’s what we do. Paul just needs to do the same with each guy and not just with me for some reason. That’s all I said.”

Credit - Ford Racing

Loudon Race Results

Lenox Industrial Tools 301 Finishing Order
1. Jimmie Johnson
2. Tony Stewart
3. Kurt Busch
4. Jeff Gordon
5. Kevin Harvick
6. Ryan Newman
7. Clint Bowyer
8. Dale Earnhardt, Jr.
9. Joey Logano
10. AJ Allmendinger
11. Kyle Busch
12. Jeff Burton
13. Marcos Ambrose
14. Denny Hamlin
15. David Reutimann
16. Greg Biffle
17. Matt Kenseth
18. Jamie McMurray
19. Elliott Sadler
20. David Ragan
21. Mark Martin
22. Martin Truex, Jr.
23. Sam Hornish, Jr.
24. Reed Sorenson
25. Carl Edwards
26. Bard Keselowski
27. Scott Speed
28. Paul Menard
29. Casey Mears
30. Bobby Labonte
31. David Stremme
32. Kevin Conway
33. Regan Smith
34. Juan Pablo Montoya
35. David Gilliland
36. Kasey Kahne
37. Andy Lally
38. JJ Yeley
39. Joe Nemechek
40. Todd Bodine
41. Michael McDowell
42. Dave Blaney
43. Max Papis

Friday, June 25, 2010

Loudon Qualifying Results

Lenox Industrial Tools 301 Starting Lineup
1. Juan Pablo Montoya
2. Kasey Kahne
3. Kurt Busch
4. Mark Martin
5. Ryan Newman
6. David Reutimann
7. Joe Nemechek
8. Sam Hornish, Jr.
9. Clint Bowyer
10. Jimmie Johnson
11. Joey Logano
12. Marcos Ambrose
13. Paul Menard
14. Brad Keselowski
15. Scott Speed
16. Jeff Gordon
17. Jeff Burton
18. Regan Smith
19. David Ragan
20. Denny Hamlin
21. Carl Edwards
22. Kyle Busch
23. Casey Mears
24. Kevin Harvick
25. Tony Stewart
26. Martin Truex, Jr.
27. Jamie McMurray
28. AJ Allmendinger
29. Reed Sorenson
30. Elliott Sadler
31. Dale Earnhardt, Jr.
32. Max Papis
33. Matt Kenseth
34. Greg Biffle
35. JJ Yeley
36. Dave Blaney
37. Michael McDowell
38. David Stremme
39. David Gilliland
40. Todd Bodine
41. Andy Lally
42. Kevin Conway
43. Todd Bodine
DNQ Travis Kvapil
DNQ Mike Bliss

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Loudon Preview

No. 43 Berlin City Auto Group Ford Fusion
* AJ Allmendinger has made five NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts at NHMS
* Allmendinger is currently in the midst of a streak of five consecutive top-15 finishes
* The driver is currently 22nd in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver point standings

AJ Allmendinger on New Hampshire Motor Speedway: “Patience is important at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. You’ve got to go into it knowing that you may have to spend a couple of laps setting up the pass before you can actually make it and not get frustrated in the process. You don’t want to make any mistakes either on the racetrack or on pit road because track position is so important. I’ll call on my Richard Petty Motorsports crew to be really good in the pits all day because losing even one spot in the pits can take forever to make up. Luckily, I’ve got a really good pit crew, so I won’t spend very much time worrying about that aspect of things.

“The fans that go to this track are awesome. They pack this track twice a year and they deserve a good show, so we’ll do our best to give them that this weekend.”

Crew Chief Mike Shiplett’s Thoughts on the Weekend: “We’ll concentrate on making the car work well for AJ getting off the corners since that’s the best place to pass and this is a tough track to pass on. You need to have good drive off the corners or you’ll never be able to make the pass there. You fight forward drive there, so it’s something that you really need to concentrate on. In order to have good drive off, you need to be able to get all the way through the corners well. Brakes will be an important part of the race because you carry so much speed off the straightaways. Loudon is really hard on the brakes. Your shock and spring package, brakes, good forward drive off and track position really are the keys to success at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.”

Chassis History: The No. 43 Richard Petty Motorsports team led by crew chief Mike Shiplett has prepared chassis No. 289 for this weekend’s event at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, New Hampshire. This car was run earlier this year in both the Las Vegas Motor Speedway and Richmond (Va.) International Raceway events.

Notes: AJ Allmendinger is currently in the midst of a streak of five consecutive top-15 finishes in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series competition. In addition, Allmendinger has finished inside the top 20 in nine of the last 10 races.

Berlin City Auto Group will be featured on the hood of the No. 43 Ford Fusion this weekend in Loudon. The Berlin City Auto Group, with dealerships throughout New England, specializes in the sales, service and parts for seventeen automotive manufacturers and pre-owned vehicles.

Credit - Richard Petty Motorsports PR

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Tuesday Ramble - Sonoma Edition

Is NASCAR Getting it Wrong, or Getting it Right?

The result of NASCAR’s new philosophy has never been as evident as it was at Infineon Raceway this past Sunday. Double file restarts, multiple green-white-checkered attempts, and a ‘boys have at it’ mentality have all contributed to a breakout of aggressive driving on every style of track. From super speedways to road course races, no track seems immune to drivers displaying their machismo.

The carnage in the garage area after the race in Sonoma looked similar to what it would after a short track race like Martinsville or Bristol. If there was a car on the track that didn’t have dents, banged up fenders, or tire donuts along the side of it then it was probably at the back of the field all day. From seasoned veterans like Jeff Gordon to rookies like Brad Keselowski, every driver seemed willing to move their competitors out of the way to get to the front.

It seems like we’ve seen cars being used as battering rams more and more each weekend. Tempers are soaring, gauntlets are being thrown, verbal barbs abound, and sports writers are having a tough time picking which ‘feud of the week’ to spotlight, because they have too many to choose from.

Does anyone remember the last race we had where fans weren’t listening closely to post-race quotes to see which driver had the best insult for another? It’s been awhile, and I believe the aggressiveness that drivers are showing both on track and off is a direct result of the changes that NASCAR has made over the last year.

Double file restarts in particular have made a big impact on how drivers are racing each other. It seemed to take everyone awhile to figure out how to use the new restart format to their advantage. First one driver shoved his way through the pack in front of him – probably a younger driver with something to prove. Then one or two more in the back half of the field who had nothing to lose decided to try it.

Pretty soon there were a dozen guys out there fighting tooth and nail each restart. And it was working! They were gaining positions on those restarts and were able to keep them after everyone got strung out. Unfortunately, with half of the field playing bumper tag and throwing elbows on each restart, there were an equal number of racers who were on the losing end of the deal.

I only watch AJ Allmendinger on race day, so I can’t speak for all fans out there, but I know I was getting sick and tired of my driver losing five or more spots on each restart by trying to keep his nose clean and stay out of trouble. Then he would have to drive the wheels off the car to gain those positions back. It was frustrating.

Nice guys can only be nice guys for so long before they start looking like chumps, so even the most respectful drivers out there have had to change their normal demeanor inside the car in order to be competitive on restarts. And with an abundance of late race cautions and multiple attempts to finish under the green flag, those restarts are more important than ever.

These guys are super competitive by nature anyway, and now drivers have had to unearth the aggression inside them more and more. Now combine those primal feelings with the fact that there are forty-two cars beating on your bumper or knocking you into the wall, and it is only natural for road rage to take over.

Every driver out there has a zeal for racing, and wants to win more than anything. It’s emotion – pure and simple. You can’t put a racecar driver in a car for three or four hours and make him fight it out gladiator-style and then just expect him to turn off all that vehemence. It’s going to carry over after the race, and then once the media gets a hold of the juicy sound bites, everything said in anger is repeated over and over again for each side to hear. How could you not hold grudges?

So it isn’t surprising that the feuds between drivers seem to be escalating. NASCAR created the current climate with their new rules, but is that a good thing or a bad thing? Each person seems to have an opinion on whether they like it or not. Some say they should go back to racing with respect, while others like the excitement of never knowing what might transpire during the course of a race.

Personally, I love it. Racing should be passionate. I can remember racing events in the past where there was less emotion shown than what you might witness in a game of croquet. Sure it’s no fun when your driver gets taken out by a boneheaded move, but the next week it’s just as likely to be your driver taking out someone else in a boneheaded move. Those are the breaks.

Some might argue that it takes away from the technical aspect of the racing. A race should be about who has the fastest car and the best driver. I agree with that assessment. The new rules of NASCAR are trivializing some of the things that used to be important and are leveling the playing field. But what people need to realize is that, whether they like it or not, NASCAR is now part of the entertainment industry.

Stock car racing used to be a group of guys who got together at a track, each paid an entry fee to race, and then gave those fees back in the form of the winning purse. Fans were mostly family and friends that were dragged along to the event by the driver. Eventually more and more people started showing up for amusement and they got the idea to charge spectator fees.

So the cars and the drivers used to be the priority and the fans were just an afterthought. In today’s NASCAR though, the fan is king. Teams are paid hundreds of thousands of dollars for each race only because of the spectators who are willing to shell out their hard-earned dollars to be entertained.

So is NASCAR doing the right things in order to make races entertaining? I believe they are. And while drivers like Denny Hamlin may complain about the fact that officials have the ability to script endings by deciding when to drop yellows for debris, it is for the fans’ sake that they are doing it. Sometimes a debris caution is the only thing that saves a race from being a total waste of the time spent watching it.

I say keep doing what you’re doing, NASCAR. I love the passion, I love the emotion, and I love the hard racing! It’s everything I could ask for to fill a Saturday night or Sunday afternoon.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Sonoma Race Recap

The weekend of the Infineon race in Sonoma started out with high hopes. AJ had a strong run there last year in the #44 Best Buy Dodge. After an off-track excursion and getting a lap down, he raced his way clear back to the 7th position. So everyone was left wondering if he could have contended with teammate Kasey Kahne for the win if it wasn’t for the early misfortune.

This year the opening practice on Friday was a struggle though, as AJ tried to get his Ford Fusion dialed in for qualifying. When it came time to put down the money lap, AJ was one of the first ones out on the track, but still managed to get a top 15 starting spot. Then the team worked hard on Saturday to get the #43 Insignia car well balanced for the racing action on Sunday.

In what can only be termed a wild race from the wave of the green flag, AJ became part of the first caution on lap 10. Of course I’m an AJ fan and I’m sure I saw things a little differently than a Clint Bowyer fan, but to me that first incident was just a racing deal. AJ and Clint were side by side coming through one of the fastest parts of the track and neither one wanted to give.

For the second week in a row, the TV coverage only showed half of what transpired on the race track. If you look at the replays it appears that AJ just clips Bowyer in the quarter panel for no reason or perhaps for payback. However if you look at the entire incident, Bowyer slid wide through one of the corners and pushed AJ up onto the curbing. When AJ hit that the car bounced around and he was fighting to save it when he caught the back of Bowyer’s car.

I didn’t see it as an act of aggressive driving or retaliation of any kind. It was simply AJ trying to gather his car back underneath him after a wild ride over the curbing, and Bowyer happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Obviously everyone is going to see it how they want to see it though, and interpret it how they will. I’m not going to argue over it, because I wasn’t in AJ’s seat to see or feel what he did and neither was anyone else.

With damage to both the right front and the driver’s side door of the car, AJ pitted after the lap 10 incident for repairs. The crew did a good job of getting him going again without losing a lap and he returned to the track in 40th position. He was now on a different fuel strategy than the leaders and raced as high as 7th while the rest of the field pitted before having to pit himself.

Battling a car that had no rear grip coming off the corners, AJ struggled to move forward through traffic but ran inside the top 20 for the majority of the race. As the race started to close out with cautions galore, crew chief Mike Shiplett decided to bring AJ down pit road for tires under the yellow. I believe that would have been a good call for a solid top 10 or top 5 finish. However this time it was AJ who shot himself in the foot by earning a speeding penalty and having to start at the tail end of the field.

Now drivers can swear up and down that their rpm's were below what NASCAR mandates, but I have a degree in Mathematics and I just can’t argue with a computer that reads telemetry from the cars. I think the corners on this particular pit road were probably what played havoc with the drivers and caused a lot of the tickets handed out, though.

Since NASCAR measures the time it takes a car to travel over two scoring loops rather than the actual miles per hour, it is possible for the driver not to speed (ie stay under the designated mph) and still be too fast. If they should happen to cut a corner as they come around pit road, they will cross the two scoring loops faster than they should even if their mph stays the same. Perhaps it’s a faulty system, because it bit a lot of drivers on Sunday.

In any case, AJ again had the task of having to come from the back – this time restarting in 28th position. He carefully made his way through the slower traffic, avoiding some of the late race craziness that happened around him. Eventually riding inside the top 15, AJ just didn’t have the tires under him to make a final push into the top 10. The #43 Insignia Ford finished in the 13th position, looking pretty beat up but still a lot better than some of the other cars.

It wasn’t the kind of day that AJ hoped for at his home track of Infineon I’m sure, but it was his fifth consecutive top 15 finish. The team has made a lot of progress compared to last year and just needs to find some consistency in handling to start clicking off some top 10’s and eventually top 5’s. Momentum is building and the Insignia green machine is coming!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Sonoma Post-Race Quotes

KASEY KAHNE - No. 9 Budweiser Ford Fusion
Finished 4th
"We were a little bit off at the start, but I just needed to settle in and we made the car a little bit better there. I felt pretty good the last 70 laps, so it was a good race. I'm able we were able to finish strong with our Budweiser Ford, and, hopefully, it was a good show. I know it was exciting from my seat and probably a lot of the other drivers' seats."


AJ ALLMENDINGER - No. 43 Insignia/Best Buy Ford Fusion
Finished 13th
"We've been fighting forward bite all weekend with the Insignia/Best Buy Ford. We were struggling with that. There were times we got it pretty good and then there were other times we struggled a little bit, but, overall, I felt like we made improvements from the start of the weekend until the end. We were okay. At the beginning of the race we were terrible, and then we made it better and we just couldn't get track position. I kept getting hit and ping-ponged around. I felt if we got a little bit of track position, we might have had a chance at a top 10, but to be 13th with a car that we struggled with all weekend, I'll take it."

EVERYBODY SEEMED OVER-AGGRESSIVE ALL DAY. "Yeah, that incident with Clint, he came off the corner and drove me like I was never there. I got back into him and, I don't know, everybody is aggressive. Everybody is really close and I think it's a good and bad thing because it shows how close the Sprint Cup Series is and how great a racing this is and how tough everybody is, but, at the same point, we're just battling to death on lap one. It's interesting out there in the race car, but it's fun and that's what the fans pay for."

SHOULD IT BE LIKE THAT? "I don't know if it should be, but we're race car drivers. We shouldn't be out there riding around and just collecting money. We should be out there trying hard, so, hopefully, the fans enjoyed it. It's great racing. At times it's really fun and at times it's frustrating, but that's what makes the series so great."


ELLIOTT SADLER - No. 19 Stanley Ford Fusion
Finished 17th
"It was a frustrating day. We got taken out by (Jeff) Gordon and it's just frustrating. This is one of the best tracks for us and one of the good chances we had this year for a top 10. It's a shame. He took out Martin Truex for no reason. The 33 and me were side-by-side and he got two-for-one there, so he was just kind of knocking everything out of his way. It's just tough for my race team."


PAUL MENARD - No. 98 CertainTeed/Menards Ford Fusion
Finished 22nd

“Today was a really rough day but I’m proud of Slugger and the guys. They fought hard on pit road to keep me out there and on the lead lap. The handling was off on our CertainTeed Ford Fusion a bit, but it seemed like the changes Slugger called for worked. We just got caught up in that accident and that was unfortunate.”

Credit - Ford Racing

Sonoma Race Results

Toyota/Save Mart 350 Finishing Order
1. Jimmie Johnson
2. Robby Gordon
3. Kevin Harvick
4. Kasey Kahne
5. Jeff Gordon
6. Marcos Ambrose
7. Greg Biffle
8. Boris Said
9. Tony Stewart
10. Juan Pablo Montoya
11. Dale Earnhardt, Jr.
12. Jan Magnussen
13. AJ Allmendinger
14. Mark Martin
15. Jamie McMurray
16. Ryan Newman
17. Elliott Sadler
18. Scott Speed
19. David Gilliland
20. David Reutimann
21. Mattias Ekstrom
22. Paul Menard
23. Bobby Labonte
24. Travis Kvapil
25. David Ragan
26. JJ Yeley
27. Jeff Burton
28. Kevin Conway
29. Carl Edwards
30. Matt Kenseth
31. Clint Bowyer
32. Kurt Busch
33. Joey Logano
34. Denny Hamlin
35. Brad Keselowski
36. Sam Hornish, Jr.
37. Dave Blaney
38. Regan Smith
39. Kyle Busch
40. Joe Nemechek
41. PJ Jones
42. Martin Truex, Jr.
43. Max Papis

Friday, June 18, 2010

Sonoma Post-Qualifying Quotes

KASEY KAHNE - No. 9 Budweiser Ford Fusion
Qualified 1st
"So far we have a good run going there. It was a fast lap for our Budweiser Ford. The team has done a really nice job. The car has been fast since we started and it's real similar to last year, so it's nice to drive it. I feel like I used up most of the race track and really got all I could there. Who knows if it will stick, but it was a good lap."

HOW MUCH DOES CONFIDENCE COME INTO PLAY HERE? "I think it definitely helps. When you've won a race here, I think that definitely helps the next time you come back and it helps with the way your car is set up. We've learned from some of that stuff last year, so confidence is big everywhere in racing."


AJ ALLMENDINGER - No. 43 Insignia Ford Fusion
Qualified 15th
"The Insignia Best Buy Ford is better. We've been struggling little bit today, just really loose rear grip-wise. We picked up about four-tenths from where we practiced and we made the car better. We definitely have to keep working on it to make it better, but I was happy we gained. We'll see where that puts us. Maybe that will put us around the top 15 or top 16. We'll just keep working on it for tomorrow. It was kind of the same thing last year. We struggled a little bit on Friday, and made it better on Saturday and were really good on Sunday, so I've got confidence in my guys and we just have to keep making it better."


PAUL MENARD - No. 98 CertainTeed/Menards Ford Fusion
Qualified 18th
"I messed up one of the esses, which kind of hurt me through there, and then it got slick into turn 11 under braking, so I left some time out there for sure. The car is really good. I hate that we won't be able to improve on it tomorrow, but I've got another good Ford back in Wisconsin, so I'm looking forward to running that one."

Credit - Ford Racing

Sonoma Qualifying Results

Toyota/Save Mart 350 Starting Lineup
1. Kasey Kahne
2. Jimmie Johnson
3. Kurt Busch
4. Kevin Harvick
5. Jeff Gordon
6. Marcos Ambrose
7. Tony Stewart
8. Bobby Labonte
9. Greg Biffle
10. Martin Truex, Jr.
11. Mark Martin
12. Denny Hamlin
13. Ryan Newman
14. Juan Pablo Montoya
15. AJ Allmendinger
16. Robby Gordon
17. Boris Said
18. Paul Menard
19. Carl Edwards
20. Joey Logano
21. Elliott Sadler
22. Clint Bowyer
23. Scott Speed
24. Dale Earnhardt, Jr.
25. Jamie McMurray
26. David Gilliland
27. Kyle Busch
28. Joe Nemechek
29. Max Papis
30. Jeff Burton
31. Regan Smith
32. Jan Magnussen
33. David Reutimann
34. Matt Kenseth
35. PJ Jones
36. Brad Keselowski
37. JJ Yeley
38. Mattias Ekstrom
39. Sam Hornish, Jr.
40. Travis Kvapil
41. Kevin Conway
42. David Ragan
43. Dave Blaney
DNQ Brandon Ash
DNQ Brian Simo
DNQ Michael Waltrip

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Sonoma Preview

No. 43 Insignia HDTV/Best Buy Ford Fusion

• AJ Allmendinger has made two NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts at Infineon Raceway
• Allmendinger drove to a seventh-place finish in this event last season
• The driver is currently 22nd in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver point standings

AJ Allmendinger on Infineon Raceway: “It’s always a good time when we go to Sonoma. The area is beautiful and there’s just a ton of different stuff to do and see. Infineon Raceway draws a local crowd, but it also brings in people from all over the country when NASCAR comes to town. It’s a good example of a place where if you have the right event and a great place in an area that is fun and somewhat touristy, people will spend the money and make it a sort of NASCAR vacation. Everyone should see that area at least once in their lifetime. It’s good to be close to home again for a couple of days too.”

Crew Chief Mike Shiplett’s Thoughts on the Weekend: “You have to work off fuel mileage. You’ve got to try to make it a two-stop race and then hope the cautions fall where you need them to fall. Qualifying is very important so you can get track position to start the race. You need to keep all four tires on the racetrack and try not to beat yourself. Those are the keys to racing at Infineon Raceway.

“You work the race backwards and then you’ve got to decide if you’re going to leave some for a green-white-checkered finish or you’re not leave some for a green-white-checkered flag finish. In the past, it’s always been the person who could pit first—meaning being the first car to make their last pit stop— you try to be that first car and then you hope a caution falls soon after you pit and the field gets bunched back up and you’re up in the front.”

Chassis History: The No. 43 Richard Petty Motorsports team led by crew chief Mike Shiplett has prepared chassis No. 257 for this weekend’s event at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, California. The team tested this car at Road Atlanta earlier this month.

Notes: AJ Allmendinger has been challenged by Robin Meade, the host of "Morning Express with Robin Meade" on CNN HLN weekday mornings to a grape stomping competition this Saturday at 12:15 p.m. local time in Winner’s Circle at Infineon Raceway. Allmendinger and Meade will literally step into wine barrels and stomp grapes. The winner will be determined after weighing the amount of grape juice at the bottom of the barrels.

Allmendinger hit the short track this week for some extra-curricular racing to raise money for the Helen Devos Children's Hospital Foundation. Driving in his first-ever IMKA modified race on pavement, AJ drove the No. 97 A Cause For Kids machine at Berlin City Raceway in Marne, Michigan on Wednesday night. Allmendinger won that event.

Credit - Richard Petty Motorsports PR

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

AJ Allmendinger - Ford Interview

When the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series heads west to Infineon Raceway this weekend, it will be a coming home opportunity in more way than one for Ford driver AJ Allmendinger. A native of Los Gatos, California, Allmendinger not only returns to his home state, but returns to his racing roots at the first road course test of the season. Allmendinger took time with Ford Racing to discuss going home, road courses and how special it would be to get into Victory Lane at Sonoma.

AJ ALLMENDINGER - No. 43 Best Buy Ford Fusion

DO YOU LOOK FORWARD TO HEADING BACK TO CALIFORNIA AND GETTING ON A ROAD COURSE THIS WEEKEND? "I do look forward to it, for a lot of reasons. It is basically my home race and it will be Father's Day, so my dad and family and friends will be there. I really enjoy that aspect. It is a road course and that is where I came from, so naturally I get excited about that. Last year was really the first year that I had a good car there and we ran really well. I am looking forward to going back there with great race cars now and really competing. Sonoma is a great race track with great surroundings and it is a fun race weekend altogether."

YOU COME FROM AN OPEN-WHEEL BACKGROUND, BUT IS IT TOUGH TO HAVE THE ROAD COURSE RACE WHEN YOU ONLY HAVE TWO A YEAR? "As drivers this is what we have been taught to do. You have to go out there and be diverse in what you do. It was no different when I raced CHAMP car. You would show up at a street course one weekend, you would be at an airport runway one weekend or the Milwaukee oval. As race car drivers we like to be challenged. We like to go out there and show that we are good at all aspects of driving. NASCAR is no different because you show up at a half-mile, a two-and-a-half mile, a road course. It is not change for me, it is just something that I get really excited about."

YOU ARE STILL SEARCHING FOR YOUR FIRST CUP WIN, HOW SPECIAL WOULD IT BE TO HAVE IT COME AT HOME ON FATHER'S DAY WEEKEND? "I have thought about it. It would be really exciting. If it can't be us this weekend, or another Ford this weekend, then I would love to do it. I have thought a lot about that actually. It is a fun weekend, but it is a tough weekend. With having your family and friends there and things you have to do, it does distract you a little bit. You have to play that game of when it is time to hang out and be the friend and get away from racing, and then you have to also get back and get focused. To win there would be extra special, especially since it would be my first Cup win. It would be a really big deal."

DO YOU THINK THERE SHOULD BE A ROAD COURSE ADDED TO THE CHASE TO MAKE IT A MORE DIVERSE REPRESENTATION? It would be cool to add a road course to the Chase, but I don't really see it happening. Sonoma has a good date with good weather there. Watkins Glen, you can't put in the Chase because it would be raining there. Unless they were to add another road course it would be tough. I don't think that the Chase is anything less without it. I guess it would be pretty cool to have that element in the Chase, but I don't think it lessens the Chase without a road course."

Credit - Ford Racing

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Michigan Post-Race Quote

AJ ALLMENDINGER - No. 43 Insignia/Best Buy Ford Fusion
Finished 11th
"This place confuses the heck out of me sometimes. The Insignia Best Buy Ford was awesome. We drove from 26th to 15th in two laps at the beginning. I thought we were getting on the right track but we got behind on pit stops and got in the back of the pack. From there we were massively loose. I haven't been that loose in a long time. Luckily the yellow came out at the end and Mike Shiplett and the guys made a good adjustment. We tightened it up knowing there were only 15 laps yet and I just drove my butt off. I am proud of the guys. We worked hard and it was my best career finish here. I am looking forward to Sonoma next week."

TELL US ABOUT THE FR9 ENGINE "That is the only thing that saved me. That is the problem. When you are really loose and put your right foot down, there is too much horsepower there now and you get wicked sideways. Doug Yates and everybody at the engine shop are doing an awesome job. This FR9 is so fast. It is good to come off the corner and get a good run and just blow by guys. We will keep working on it, but days like today are what make a team better. We weren't very good, but we were able to salvage a pretty good day out of it."

Credit - Ford Racing

Michigan Results

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

Friday, June 11, 2010

Michigan Qualifying Quotes

KASEY KAHNE, No. 9 Budweiser Ford Fusion
Qualified 4th
"It felt good. I think the car was balanced really well and the engine ran well. I was happy with it, especially for not doing a qualifying run in practice. The guys did a good job. I felt like that was a good lap, it was a very solid lap."


ELLIOTT SADLER, No. 19 Stanley Ford Fusion
Qualified 11th
"We struggled a little when we unloaded and the guys made some good changes. I feel really good about that run. That is the best the car has been all day and that is a good time to have that. We are racing for a million dollars this weekend so we want to have a good starting spot. That should put us somewhere in the top 15 or 16."


PAUL MENARD, No. 98 Menards Ford Fusion
Qualified 22nd
"We really struggled in practice and tried to go back to how we unloaded and the car ended up better I had a really good one and two and drove it is a little hard on three, then I killed it on four. Hopefully we get two practices in tomorrow. I screwed up today. The car is a lot better than that. Hopefully we get practice in tomorrow."


AJ ALLMENDINGER, No. 43 Best Buy Ford Fusion
Qualified 26th
"It wasn't good. I don't know what happened out there but we were not very good. This place confuses me sometimes. We just need to be better than that. I don't think weather played into it because Kurt Busch just ran a 37.8, we aren't even close."

Credit - Ford Racing

Michigan Qualifying Results

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

Michigan Preview

No. 43 Insignia/Best Buy Ford Fusion

• AJ Allmendinger has made five NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts at Michigan International Speedway
• Allmendinger’s best finish on the 2.0-mile track is 19th (2008)
• The driver is currently 22nd in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver point standings

AJ Allmendinger on Michigan International Speedway: “Michigan is a basic, really fast two-mile oval, but can sometimes be hard to wrap your arms around for some reason. Sometimes it comes down to fuel mileage, sometimes there are a bunch of cautions and sometimes you can go 100 laps caution free. You just never really know what you are in store for at that place. It makes it interesting for the drivers and the crew, that’s for sure.

“Michigan has some really great fans so it’s always fun to go there. Those people are car people and they’re very passionate and knowledgeable about all types of cars and racing. Being so close to the Detroit area and in the backyard of the big three automakers makes it a special place to race. That area has been hit really hard by the economy so we want to be able to put on a good show for the fans that spend their hard-earned money to come out to the track and watch. I’m sure there will be a ton of Ford VIP’s there as well, so it will be a busy weekend from that end of things and I’m looking forward to having the opportunity to spend time with the folks from Ford.”

Crew Chief Mike Shiplett’s Thoughts on Michigan: “I’m looking forward to this two-mile track. I believe we’ve really made progress as a team and I think the more we can keep on digging, the better we’ll continue to be. Michigan is a fast and wide track. It has multiple grooves and that helps if your car isn’t handling the way you would like. At Michigan, the driver is able to move around a bit until he figures out what works best.

“You can have a lot of green flag runs at Michigan so we’ll want to qualify well and get a decent start. Anything we can do for track position, we’ll do. AJ has qualified pretty solid the last two races so I think we’ll have a good starting position. Of course we’ll have the new FR9 engine again and I think that will be another benefit.”

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 Michigan International Speedway. This is the same Ford Fusion the team ran in Charlotte two weeks ago.

Notes: AJ Allmendinger will make the trip to Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio to participate in the 2010 Gillette Fusion ProGlide Prelude to the Dream on Wednesday evening. This will be Allmendinger’s second trip to the Prelude. He finished 22nd in his 2009 rookie campaign.

All four RPM drivers will be running the new Ford FR9 engine this weekend at Michigan International Speedway.

Credit - Richard Petty Motorsports PR

Thursday, June 10, 2010

AJ Gets His Short Track On - For Charity

Did watching the Prelude to the Dream get any of you fans revved up for some short track racing? Well if you are an AJ Allmendinger fan and your local home track is either Berlin Raceway in Marne, MI or Elko Speedway in Elko, MN – you’re in for a treat. AJ will be racing at both tracks in the coming weeks.

First up on AJ’s schedule is a 50 lap Modified event at Berlin Raceway on June 15th, just two days after the NASCAR circuit hits the Michigan International Speedway. AJ will climb behind the wheel of the #97 Modified, which competes to raise money for the Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital of Grand Rapids, MI.

Prior to the race, families from the Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital will have the opportunity for a meet and greet with AJ. He will also sign autographs on the concourse prior to the races that night. The 50 lap shootout will be run in conjunction with Kyle “Rowdy” Busch’s Super Series Race – the Rowdy’s Revenge 251. Go to for more details on the event.

Next up on the home track circuit for AJ will be a stop at Elko Speedway on July 8th, just before the NASCAR drivers converge on Chicagoland Speedway. The track at Elko is just a short drive from Minneapolis, MN – home base for AJ’s sponsor Best Buy. The Speedway is hosting a charity exhibition race to kick off Dirt Nationals.

Other drivers participating in the event are Clint Bowyer, Greg Biffle, and Jason Leffler. Besides just the exhibition race with the NASCAR drivers, there is also a Late Model Series race and live music afterwards. All proceeds from the event are being donated to charity, and admission includes autograph and Q&A sessions with the drivers. For more information visit

While AJ does his part in racing for charity, his sponsor Best Buy is also doing something wonderful to support the basic foundation of racing – the local home tracks, where most drivers have their roots. Best Buy has partnered with a regional stock car series, the ASA Midwest Tour.

Best Buy is helping to make it possible for racing aficionados to watch the nation’s top Super Late Model stock car drivers in action at their local tracks. Check out for a schedule of ASA Midwest races near you.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Pocono Race Recap

After a fast car in the first practice of the weekend, AJ battled more than just the handling of his #43 Ford Fusion during his qualifying lap. With not only a lingering cold, but a reported stomach ailment as well, AJ had to try and put up a hot lap feeling less than 100%. He still managed to post a decent qualifying effort which put him 17th in the field for the start of the race at Pocono.

As often happens at the Long Pond, PA track, rain was an issue for the weekend. With mother nature’s usual bad timing, the cars had just gotten the one to go signal for the green flag when sprinkles started coming down. Then sprinkles turned into a downpour shortly after the cars stopped on pit road. The storm moved through quickly however, and high winds helped the track to dry. So after an hour and forty minute delay, the cars were back on the track.

After AJ started in 17th, he slid backwards with a complaint of the car not wanting to turn in the corner. The condition seemed to get better as the first laps ticked off, and when NASCAR threw a competition caution on lap 15 he was back up to where he had started the race. A great four tire stop and an adjustment by crew chief Mike Shiplett put AJ back on the track in 18th – despite other teams taking only two tires.

From that point on the #43 did nothing but improve all race long. The pit crew continued to click off fast pit stops and Mike Shiplett made good adjustments to get the car hooked up. By lap 50, AJ was in the top 10 and he stayed there for the next 120 laps. It wasn’t until a caution on lap 167 that pit strategy took some wind out of the team’s sails and put AJ back in the pack.

Fortunately, AJ had a decent car to try and work his way through traffic as they stretched into a long twenty lap run towards the finish. Fast initially, but fading late in the run, the #43 car was still gaining on the cars in front of him that had older tires. When a caution came out for an incident involving Kevin Harvick and Joey Logano with only one lap to go, AJ had moved up to the 12th spot.

With the field now brought back together for a Green-White-Checkered finish, AJ had to play both offense and defense for the final push to the end. The cars in front of the #43 with older tires were vulnerable on the restart, but there were teams behind him who stopped under the caution and had newer tires themselves.

As the green flag flew, AJ jumped forward and managed to take away 11th and 10th position. When leader Denny Hamlin took the white flag, AJ was holding onto a top 10 finishing spot. But Kasey Kahne was coming from behind with fresher rubber under his #9 car and when AJ tried to block Kasey’s advance, the Budweiser Ford went off into the grass before sliding across the track and into oncoming traffic. The race ended under yellow with AJ scoring a top-10 run.

The ending, which resulted in two torn up RPM cars after Elliott Sadler was also caught up in the crash, was an unfortunate mark on what was otherwise a really strong day for AJ and the #43 team. It seems like they have achieved their goal of having cars capable of running in the top 10. Now they need to get there on a consistent basis and start working on some top 5’s before they are able to start competing for wins. It’s coming along, though.

Pocono Post-Race Quote

AJ ALLMENDINGER - No. 43 Best Buy Ford Fusion
Finished 10th

"That is just the way this race works out. The track is so long, especially with the wave around now, you can get your lap back and then there is another yellow and those guys are the ones that look pretty. I am happy to get a 10th out of it, even though I thought we were a seventh or eighth place car. The new engine felt really fast, so that is a real positive sign going forward."

CAN YOU EXPLAIN WHAT HAPPENED ON THE FINAL LAP? "I am not really sure what happened. Kasey had such a run on me and I went to defend. By the time I defended he was in the grass. That is my bad. I feel bad about that, I really do. It is what it is though."

Credit - Ford Racing

Pocono Results

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

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Pocono Post-Qualifying Quotes

KASEY KAHNE, No. 9 Budweiser Ford Fusion
Qualified 8th

ON HIS QUALIFYING RUN "It felt pretty good. The car was balanced and I thought we made pretty good speed; we were just a little bit off of some of those guys. It was a pretty good lap. The guys did a nice job, but I am surprised we weren't a little bit quicker. The car feels good, it feels like the lap is good and the car is good, we just have to get a little bit more out of it I guess.

WHAT IS THE KEY FOR SUCCESS ON SUNDAY? "We just need to have a good practice tomorrow and get the car balanced ^a get it like it is right now, but for race trim. If we can do that we should have a good race day."


PAUL MENARD, No. 98 Menards Ford Fusion
Qualified 33rd

ON HIS QUALIFYING RUN "We really struggled in practice and tried to go back to how we unloaded and the car ended up better in qualifying. It still isn't fast enough though. Hopefully the weather holds out tomorrow and we can work on it."

WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ABOUT THIS RACE TRACK? "It is a cool track. If we came here once a year it would be perfect. It is a unique track for sure. There are a lot of parts about it that are a lot of fun and a lot of parts that aren't a lot of fun. It is a good mix."

Credit - Ford Racing

Pocono Qualifying Results

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

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Pocono Preview

No. 43 Coleman Natural Foods Ford Fusion

• AJ Allmendinger has made five NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway
• Allmendinger’s best finish on the 2.5-mile tri-oval is 12th (2008)
• The driver is currently 23rd in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver point standings

AJ Allmendinger on Pocono Raceway: “We’re excited to have Coleman Natural Foods on board our No. 43 Ford Fusion this weekend in Pocono. We’ll try our best to give them a great finish at this big, tough track.

“Pocono is a track you either really look forward to getting to or one that makes you lose a bunch of sleep the week before. The fans are always great and the area is beautiful, but the track can be really tough to figure out. Getting off the corners is so important and that’s we’ll concentrate on in practice. If you don’t get off the corners well, your momentum heading into the straights will really suffer and it will be a really long 500 miles. We’re one of a couple of Ford teams running the FR9 this weekend too, so it will be exciting to see how that affects things. I know we’ve got the speed we will need there and I know Mike Shiplett and the guys have prepared a really good car for me, so I’m ready to get there and get to work.”

Crew Chief Mike Shiplett’s Thoughts on Pocono: “From a crew chief’s perspective, this is an important track. I mean, they’re all important, but since this track has some of the same characteristics as Indianapolis Motor Speedway and we race at Pocono twice so close together, you want to make sure you have your act together or you could be chasing your tail quite a bit in the next couple of months. We don’t want that, that’s for sure. AJ has had some pretty good success at this track and we’re hoping to build on that this weekend.”

Chassis History: The No. 43 Richard Petty Motorsports team led by crew chief Mike Shiplett has prepared chassis No. 288 for this weekend’s event at Pocono Raceway. This is the same chassis the car ran earlier this season at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway and again several weeks ago at Dover (Del.) International Speedway.

Notes: Richard Petty’s No. 43 won the first Sprint Cup race at Pocono Raceway back in 1974.

The No. 43 car will be the only Richard Petty Motorsports car running the new Ford FR9 engine this weekend in Pocono. All four RPM drivers are scheduled to run it the following weekend at Michigan International Speedway.

Coleman Natural Foods will sponsor the No. 43 entry this weekend at Pocono Raceway. Coleman Natural Foods’ strict animal raising protocols surpass USDA standards providing your family with truly ALL NATURAL fresh pork and poultry cuts. Using only meats grown with their standards, Coleman Natural Foods offers Ready-to-Eat and Fully Cooked entrees like Bacon, Sausage, Hot Dogs, and Chicken Strips. For more information about Coleman Natural Foods, please visit

Credit - Richard Petty Motorsports PR