AJ Allmendinger, driver of the No. 43 Insignia/Best Buy Ford Fusion, has been one of the hotter drivers on the Cup circuit in recent weeks. Allmendinger posted a top-10 finish last weekend in Kansas and now returns to his home state of California for this weekend's Pepsi MAX 400. Allmendinger talked about returning to the Golden State and his recent work on Fords 43 Fiestas campaign, meeting Ken Block, and more.
YOU ARE HEADING BACK TO YOUR HOME STATE THIS WEEKEND, IS THAT FUN OR STRESSFUL OR BOTH FOR YOU? "Fontana is not too bad because it is Southern California. I basically have a few family and friends that will come out there. Sonoma is a lot more stressful for me. I enjoy going back to California any chance I get. We are going out early this week and we are going to play Pebble Beach and Spyglass, which the way it has been going I am not sure why, but it should be cool. When it comes to the race itself, we didn't have a very good first race there but it is something we have been working on and I feel we have gotten a lot better since we were there. It is exciting, but I am a little nervous to see how we will be there. It hasn't been our best type of race track, but I think we have learned a lot of things over the last few weeks that I think will help us there."
YOU ARE INVOLVED IN A BIG PROMOTIONAL CAMPAIGN FOR FORD RIGHT NOW WITH THE 43 FIESTAS. ARE YOU GOING HOLLYWOOD ON US? "I have always been Hollywood; people are just now starting to recognize it (laughter)."
WELL YOU SEEM COMFORTABLE IN FRONT OF A CAMERA, DO YOU ENJOY IT? "It has been cool. Being able to be a part of Ford and have a certain thing that has to do with myself and the No. 43 and Ken Block has been really fun. It will be a lot better if we go to Homestead and actually win the thing because people will like me after that. If I don't win, then people will hate me, which I am used to. Seriously though, it has been a lot of fun and exciting to be a part of Ford and for them to allow me to do these things has been great. Every day I would rather be driving a race car, but I enjoy doing stuff like that. That is something that Richard Petty has taught me. He always says that if you are going to be asked to do stuff like that, then you should have fun doing it. It has been really cool."
YOU GOT TO INVOLVE RICHARD PETTY AND KEN BLOCK IN THESE COMMERCIALS AND WEBISODES, WHAT WAS IT LIKE TO HAVE THOSE WORLDS ALL COLLIDE? "Obviously I am around Richard every weekend, but to be able to see Ken Block and meet him and to talk to him was great. I always enjoy being able to talk to different athletes and learn about their sport. It is still auto racing, but it is a completely different type. He is pretty good at it, so to talk to him and see what gets him going and what he thrives on and how he goes about things is really cool. Seeing the inside videos he has that he is doing, like Gymkhana THREE which is amazing, was really fun."
IS THERE ANYTING ABOUT THAT PRODUCTION PROCESS THAT SURPRISED YOU? "It is a lot of work for the camera crew, but for us it is kind of boring. We got like an hour of fun and 10 hours of standing around. For something that is 30-seconds long, you think that we can knock it out in a couple of hours. It just takes a long time, but at the same time it is really fun. We had some weather issues along the way that lengthened our days. Everything that goes into those things and being able to hang out with the crew and having some fun with them was great. The whole experience has been awesome. Now if we can just get everyone to go to 43Fiestas.com and register so that I get even more people cheering for me in Homestead, that would be awesome."
Credit - Ford Racing