Monday, May 16, 2011

Dover Race Recap

No. 43 BEST BUY Ford Fusion
■AJ Allmendinger started in the 2nd position at Dover International Speedway on Sunday afternoon
■Allmendinger has engine issues just before halfway and was credited with a 37th-place finish
■Unofficially, Allmendinger holds down 16th place in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver point standings

Race Summary: Rain forced the cancellation of qualifying on Saturday so the starting lineup for Dover’s 400-mile race was determined based on the average speed of each driver in both of Friday’s practice sessions. AJ was quick in practice and lined up on the outside of the front row to start Sunday’s event at his favorite track.

Allmendinger remained in the second spot through the first 30 laps, despite fighting a tight handling condition. A competition caution period on Lap 41 enabled crew chief Mike Shiplett to call his driver into the pits for routine service, including four fresh tires, fuel and a track bar adjustment. Allmendinger took the green for the restart in the fourth position.

Allmendinger let his team know that the handling of the Best Buy Ford was better after the pit stop, but still asked Shiplett for more help with the front end of the car. The California native drove back up to the second position, but fell to fourth as the car became tight once again. The second pit stop of the day brought another track bar change, as well as air pressure adjustments to the Richard Petty Motorsports Ford.

Allmendinger remained inside the top four through the first 150 laps and was on target for a successful day. Unfortunately, the No. 43 car began to slow on Lap 153 and Allmendinger was forced to make a pit stop during a caution period several laps later so the team could check under the hood. Diagnosing engine issues, Allmendinger headed to the garage area. Despite efforts to remedy the problems, the team was unable to get things repaired and Allmendinger’s race ended early. The No. 43 was credited with a 37th-place finish. Allmendinger fell several spots in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver point standings and now holds down 16th position.

Allmendinger’s Thoughts: “It was weird because it all happened at once and there was no sign of it. I was getting under the No. 6 car to lap them and we were running the leaders down. The track had gotten really slick. It was fun and you had to work really hard on finding the right line. It showed what drivers had to do. We were going to run them down and all of a sudden off of two it went. Doug Yates and all the guys at the engine shop do a great job. We had a ton of horsepower and this rarely happens. I really wanted this for us and Ford and Best Buy and everybody, the King especially.”

Credit - Richard Petty Motorsports PR

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