AJ Allmendinger, driver of the No. 43 Insignia/Best Buy Ford Fusion, will have the chance to win an all-new Ford Fiesta for 42 race fans on Sunday if he can earn his first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victory in the Ford 400. This weekend is the culmination of Ford's 43 Fiestas promotion, which also included Richard Petty and rally driver Ken Block. Allmendinger talked about his feelings heading into Ford Championship Weekend.
HOW DOES IT FEEL TO SEE THIS 43 FIESTAS PROMOTION COME TO A CLIMAX?
"It's been really cool. The last couple of months have obviously been leading up to this with the commercials and all the promotion we've been doing, so there's gonna be a little extra pressure, I ain't gonna lie. I want to go out there and obviously win for multiple reasons, but that's just another one. All I can do is show up and go there and do everything that we can. We did the tire test there, so we have some notes we can lean on when we get there, so it's gonna be a fun weekend. I'm really excited for the first time to be a part of Ford during all of Ford Championship Weekend and all the parties and get- togethers that go along with that, so it's just gonna be a fun weekend overall."
DO YOU LIKE THE TRACK FROM A RACING PERSPECTIVE?
"I don't know if it favors my style, but I enjoy it a lot more because you kind of get away from that cookie-cutter mile-and-a-half. It's a completely different mile- and-a-half than say a Texas or a Charlotte or an Atlanta, so it's a different feel. We haven't been the strongest on the mile-and-a-half race tracks as a race team on the 43 side of it, but, like I said, we did the test there and it is a completely different mile-and-a-half, so for that reason I'm looking forward to it. I know Doug is gonna put a little extra horsepower behind it and we're gonna bring our best piece and see what we've got out there."
WHAT'S BEEN THE BEST PART ABOUT THIS 43 FIESTAS PROMOTION FOR YOU?
"There's nothing that's been a favorite, it's just been everything together. Something like that, I think we get so caught up in sometimes, and I'm the first person that you're always focused on racing, you're focused on the task at hand and sometimes along with that you have to do stuff like commercials or photo shoots or things like that where you say, 'Oh, it's just taking up time. I want to be racing.' But something the King has taught me is that you're gonna have to do that stuff, so have fun with it. The point of being able to hang out with Ken Block and meet somebody like that. I read where he just scored his first championship points in World Rally, the first American to do that, so he's obviously pretty good when it comes to his sport. And doing the Team O'Neil thing was fun. It's fun to be a part of Ford and, ultimately to have something that's such a big promotion and be one of the lead guys is pretty cool. It's an experience I've enjoyed from the start and hopefully we finish it off right."
Credit - Ford Racing