No. 43 Best Buy Ford Fusion
• AJ Allmendinger started in the seventh position Sunday afternoon at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, California
• Allmendinger finished the 110-lap race in the 13th position
• Unofficially, Allmendinger sits in 15th place in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver point standings
Race Summary: AJ Allmendinger lined up for the start of the season’s first road course event in the seventh place. As soon as the green flag waved for the start of the 224-mile race at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif., Allmendinger began his charge toward the front of the pack. By the time the field came around to complete the first lap, Allmendinger had driven the Best Buy Ford Fusion into the top five.
Early radio communication between driver and crew was that the Richard Petty Motorsports Ford needed more rear grip. Crew Chief Mike Shiplett called for air pressure and wedge adjustments during the first pit stop of the day, which came on Lap 21 of the 110-lap race. Allmendinger remained in the top 10 throughout the first half of the event but lost some ground after getting tagged by the No. 2 car and spun around on Lap 65. The San Jose, Calif. native fell to 22nd in the following laps and drove to the attention of his crew for a scheduled pit stop at Lap 75. Shiplett called for another wedge adjustment to the car in an effort to assist his driver with the handling of the machine.
The No. 43 Best Buy Ford held down the 20th position when the yellow flag flew for an on-track incident involving the No. 14 car at Lap 88. During the ensuing extended caution period, Allmendinger relayed to Shiplett that the car was lacking side bite in the esses and rear grip. Shiplett called for the addition of a spring rubber in the right rear and four fresh tires during the Lap 89 pit stop. Allmendinger settled in for the restart in the 23rd spot.
Allmendinger began his charge to the front with 15 laps to go. One by one he picked off his competitors and with only 10 laps remaining in the race, had worked his way back into the top 15. Wheeling one of the fastest cars on the track in the closing laps, Allmendinger took the checkered flag in 13th place.
Allmendinger picked up two positions in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver point standings following the race in Sonoma. He now holds down 15th place heading to Daytona (Daytona Beach, Fla.) International Speedway next weekend.
Allmendinger’s Thoughts After the Race: “That was crazy just like always. The Best Buy Ford was pretty good, but from mid-race on we were kind of loose. Everybody was running into each other out there. I got into a couple guys and got them angry and then I had one guy dump me. I just tried to keep fighting. We are getting there. If we can get some luck on our side, we might actually be up front where we deserve to finish. It could have been a lot worse and 13th isn’t great, but it could have been a lot worse with 20 laps to go.”
Credit - Richard Petty Motorsports PR