No. 43 NAUTICA Ford Fusion
• AJ Allmendinger started in the 18th position at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway on Saturday night
• Allmendinger wheeled his way to a seventh-place finishing position
• Unofficially, Allmendinger sits in 11th place in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver point standings
Race Summary: AJ Allmendinger lined up for the 400-lap event at Richmond International Raceway in the 18th position and immediately let crew chief Mike Shiplett know that the NAUTICA Ford was not to his liking. With their Ford Fusion losing grip in the center of the corners and fighting a loose condition, the Richard Petty Motorsports crew went to work to make chassis adjustments to the car during the first pit stop of the day.
It seemed as if the adjustments helped the No. 43 Ford and Allmendinger had made his way to the 11th position by Lap 100 of the 400-lap event. However, by the time the first caution flag of the event waved on Lap 108, the NAUTICA Ford had once again become a handful with limited rear grip, and by Lap 140 it had fallen to the 17th spot.
Shiplett and crew continued to make a myriad of adjustments to help remedy the loose handling condition of the car during the next several pit stops. By the fifth stop of the race on Lap 257, Allmendinger let the crew know his No. 43 machine was handling better but still needed some work to be able to run with the leaders.
A caution flag on Lap 302 enabled the crew to make a final set of adjustments to the NAUTICA machine, as well as take on four fresh tires and fuel. This fresh set of chassis adjustments and tires seemed to make a big difference to the No. 43 car. Lining up in the 13th position when the race went back to green, Allmendinger fought hard and picked up several positions in the final 98 laps of the event to bring home the NAUTICA Ford in seventh place.
Allmendinger made the biggest gain of the week, picking up four positions in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver point standings. He now sits in 11th place heading into Darlington Raceway next weekend. Richmond’s seventh-place finish was the best of the season for the team and also marks Allmendinger’s second top-10 finish of the season.
Allmendinger’s Thoughts After: “We were just missing a little, I don’t feel like we are that far off. We had the NAUTICA car turning so good here, the best it has ever turned, but we couldn’t get any forward bite off the corner. We were just a bit off, but Mike did a good job staying calm because I wasn’t very good at that. Sometimes in these races you have to get a little lucky.”
Credit - Richard Petty Motorsports PR