Thursday, June 30, 2011

Daytona II Race Preview

No. 43 U.S. Air Force Ford Fusion
• AJ Allmendinger has made six starts on the 2.5-mile Daytona Beach, Fla. track
• Allmendinger’s highest finish (third) at the track came in the 2009 Daytona 500
• Allmendinger led four laps in this year’s season opening event at Daytona International Speedway

AJ Allmendinger on Daytona International Speedway: “I’m excited to have the U.S. Air Force back on the car this weekend at Daytona. The night race at Daytona is always really cool. The atmosphere is electric and fans are going to see fireworks on and off the track this weekend. If I can avoid “The Big One” and find a good drafting partner, my U.S. Air Force Ford has a shot at ending up in Victory Lane at the end of what is sure to be a wild night with a crazy finish.”

Crew Chief Mike Shiplett on Daytona: “The 400-mile race in July is a little bit different than the Daytona 500 because we run at night. The Richard Petty Motorsports U.S. Air Force Ford will handle better because the track will be cooler. The racing surface has a lot of grip because of the repaving that they did and the RPM cars are going to be really strong. We are going to run together and we have a great plan going into the weekend. The two car draft will be more important than ever because the handling of the cars will be better than at the Daytona 500 where the cars would get tight. This weekend the cars won’t get tight and AJ will be able to keep it on the floor all the way around.”

Shiplett’s Keys to Winning Daytona: “Having good solid pit stops all day is key. You don’t want to have to come back into the pits for a mistake. You don’t want to make any unnecessary stops, because if you lose your drafting partner you are going to be in trouble when you go back out on the track. The biggest thing will be staying out of trouble and not getting caught up in someone else’s mistake. We need a good drafting partner and a fast car, and AJ needs a good finish this weekend in the No. 43 U.S. Air Force Ford Fusion.”

Chassis History: The No. 43 RPM team has prepared chassis No. 722 for this weekend’s event at Daytona International Speedway. This U.S. Air Force Ford has been run previously this year at Daytona and Talladega.

Notes: Allmendinger has competed in six NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races on the 2.5-mile oval and has scored one top-five finish—a third-place effort in the 2009 Daytona 500 while driving the No. 44 Richard Petty Motorsports machine. Allmendinger has completed 954 of 1,056 laps completed leading 15 of them. He sits in the 15th position in the Sprint Cup Series driver point standings heading into the 17th race of the season at Daytona.

Allmendinger will have a different look this weekend as the U.S. Air Force makes its second appearance of the year as the primary partner of the No. 43 Ford Fusion.

Don’t miss out on your chance to meet Allmendinger as he will be appearing at the Best Buy mobile store in Daytona Beach, Fla. (1900 W. International Speedway, Daytona Beach, Fla., 32114). The appearance is scheduled for Wednesday, June 29, from 7-9 p.m. ET and is open to the public.

Can’t get enough of the Dinger? AJ will visit the Ford Display on Saturday at 3:20 p.m. and the Sprint Display at 4:15 p.m. for 15 minute Q-and-A sessions.

Credit - Richard Petty Motorsports PR

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