Monday, June 20, 2011

Michigan Race Recap

No. 43 Best Buy Ford Fusion
■AJ Allmendinger started in the 26th position Sunday afternoon at Michigan International Speedway
■Allmendinger finished the 200-lap event at the 2.0-mile oval in the 13th position
■ Unofficially, Allmendinger sits in 17th place in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver point standings

Race Summary: Starting from the 26th position for Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event at Michigan International Speedway, AJ Allmendinger moved into the 11th spot by virtue of a two-tire pit stop early in the event. Allmendinger communicated to his Best Buy crew that the No. 43 Ford Fusion was becoming tight 28 laps into the 200-lap event.

A pit stop under yellow flag conditions at Lap 29 enabled the crew to make a minor air pressure adjustment to the new left front tire being put on the car in an effort to make the car turn better in the middle of the corners. After a bit of a slow stop, the Best Buy Ford lined up for the Lap 31 restart in the 22nd spot.

The car remained somewhat tight, but Allmendinger was able to maneuver his ride into the Top 10 by Lap 50. After another scheduled four-tire stop at Lap 62, Allmendinger began to make his move toward the front of the field, running in seventh by Lap 68 and moving all the way up to fourth place at Lap 89. The Best Buy Ford remained inside the Top five until Lap 141 when Allmendinger radioed to Crew Chief Mike Shiplett that he was struggling a bit with the handling of the car and he needed the front end to turn better. A track bar adjustment was made during the next stop, which occurred at Lap 153. Like quite a few of the front running cars, Allmendinger was caught a lap down when a caution flag flew at Lap 159. Several cars had not yet made pit stops and the team was forced to take the wave around during the ensuing restart. Allmendinger lined up for the Lap 164 green flag on the lead lap in 19th place.

The handling of the No. 43 car became extremely tight following a minor on-track incident late in the event. Just after making what was to be his final pit stop of the day at Lap 189, the caution flag flew once again. The No. 43 was awarded the Lucky Dog and lined up for the Lap 196 restart in 19th position. Allmendinger worked hard those last four laps and had maneuvered into the 13th place by the time the checkered flag flew.

Allmendinger picked up one position in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver point standings following the race in Michigan. He now holds down 17th place heading to the road course at Infineon Raceway next weekend.

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