Saturday, July 30, 2011

Indianapolis Qualifying Quotes

AJ ALLMENDINGER – No. 43 Best Buy Ford Fusion
Qualified 6th
“I’m happy but I threw away turn four. I think we were on the pole until turn four, but I just didn’t want to get too tight off of four, so I decided to try to drive it in until I saw Jesus and I overshot the corner (laughing). I’m just proud of the guys. Greg Erwin and I and the whole team are trying to gel together. It’s tough to do in a day or two and feel like you’re competitive, so I feel like slowly each session got better. We’re still not quite where we want to be, but we have plenty of time to keep working on that. We have to keep working on the car in race trim, but it seems like every time we went out there we got a little bit better so hopefully we do the same tomorrow.”

HOW ARE YOU IN RACE TRIM? “We’re OK. We definitely need some speed. I’m not gonna sit here and lie to you. I think we made the car on each run a little more comfortable, but we definitely need a little more speed out of it. I’m happy with the effort so far.”

HOW IS IT WITH GREG? “He’s engineering based, so he’s always got a lot of ideas. He’s never thrown a ton of stuff at the car, so we’re always trying just little stuff each run, so I feel like I can get a good idea of what the car does that run compared to the next run, so he’s just real easy to work with so far. I guess that’s always the first week, everything is nice the first week, but he’s got a great background and a lot of experience and that just helps me.”


MARCOS AMBROSE – No. 9 Stanley Ford Fusion
Qualified 21st
“It’s Indy. You want to do really well and want to get the pole and I just didn’t get it done. I’m disappointed in myself, really.”

Credit - Ford Racing

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Dinger Fan Story #5

AJ sent a tweet to me wishing my son Ryan a happy 8th birthday! He is his favorite driver and that completely made my sons day!! Nothing huge but it's stuff like that, that means the most!!

Leesburg, VA
@H8Crosby on twitter

VIDEO: Allmendinger - Brickyard Bound

RPM Broadens Management Team


Brian Moffitt Takes Over as CEO, Mike Hargrave to Lead Team Marketing Efforts

CONCORD, N.C. (July 28, 2011) – Richard Petty Motorsports (RPM) officials today announced several changes to the NASCAR Sprint Cup team’s executive lineup. Brian Moffitt, who previously headed up the RPM sales and marketing department, has been named chief executive officer for the multi-car team and Mike Hargrave has taken over the EVP, sales and marketing position. In addition, Robbie Loomis has been named chief operating officer for the organization.

“We’ve worked hard to put together a solid executive management team,” stated team co-owner Richard Petty. “Brian Moffitt has played an important role in the Petty organization for many years. He knows the ins and outs and strengths and weaknesses of this organization and he was an obvious choice to lead the team.

“We’re excited about the addition of Mike Hargrave as well,” continued Petty. “He is extremely well-respected in the industry and brings a tremendous amount of knowledge and experience to our sales and marketing team. We’ve beefed up our sales department and put a solid plan in place to ensure that there is growth and success in the future of Richard Petty Motorsports.

Moffitt previously served as executive vice president of sales and marketing for Richard Petty Motorsports. For the past 15 years, he has overseen the acquisition of sponsorship and services for team owner Richard Petty and his entries in NASCAR. Prior to his current position, he held the position of sales representative at United Parcel Service.

Hargrave comes to RPM most recently from Bank of America where he served as senior vice president, global sponsorship marketing. In that role, Hargrave oversaw strategy and activation development for the organization’s motorsports sponsorship platform.

Andrew Murstein, team co-owner, concludes, “We will continue to add strong management and provide all of the financial resources needed to take Richard Petty and the entire organization to the next level and back in the winner’s circle where they belong.”
About Richard Petty Motorsports
Known to many simply as “The King,” Richard Petty is the most decorated driver in the history of NASCAR racing, winning a record 200 races and seven NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championships during his illustrious career. In late 2010, Petty partnered with Medallion Financial and Douglas Bergeron to purchase the assets of Richard Petty Motorsports. Richard Petty Motorsports fields two teams in competition in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. AJ Allmendinger wheels the famous No. 43 Ford Fusion and Marcos Ambrose drives the No. 9 machine with sponsorship from Stanley and DEWALT. For more information about the Concord, N.C.-based race team, please visit

Credit - Richard Petty Motorsports PR

Indianapolis Race Preview

No. 43 Best Buy Ford Fusion
• Allmendinger has made three starts at Indianapolis Motor Speedway
• Allmendinger enters the race in 16th place in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver point standings
• Allmendinger’s best finish (10th) at the 2.5-mile quad-oval came in 2008

AJ Allmendinger on Indianapolis Motor Speedway: “Indy has so much tradition associated with it. I would say it’s our second biggest race of the year. It’s been a place where I feel like I’m average. I have run fairly strong there at times, but overall I've just had average finishes. I got the first top-10 finish of my career in Indy, so that will always be pretty special. I think this year with all of the horsepower Ford has been putting out the Best Buy Ford should be pretty good. It’s a place where track position has always been key. If you can get inside the top-five, you can maintain track position whether you have a great car or not.”

Crew Chief Greg Erwin’s Thoughts on Indy: “I’m looking forward to working with AJ and the whole Best Buy team this weekend in my new role as crew chief. It will be important in Indy to maximize the front grip potential of the racetrack. It’s one of the tighter tracks that we go to with corner entry speeds being as fast as they are and the track being as flat as it is. It's really hard to get the car to continue to turn after the driver lets off of the brakes because the front end unloads. We will work on keeping the Best Buy Ford’s front end low. It’s a fast smooth race track so we will work on splitter height as well so we can optimize the downforce package that goes with the car. There will be a lot of single file racing and the opportunity to pass is few and far between, so qualifying well and making sure we have good track position will be important.”

Chassis History: The No. 43 RPM team has prepared chassis No. 752 for this weekend’s event at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. This Best Buy Ford Fusion has been run previously this season at Texas and Charlotte.

Notes: Allmendinger’s best finishing position at Indianapolis Motor Speedway (10th) came in 2008. Allmendinger gained two positions in the points after his 12th-place finish at New Hampshire Motor Speedway and enters this weekend in 16th place in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver point standings. Allmendinger has completed 100 percent of laps attempted (480) at the 2.5-mile speedway.

This weekend will be Greg Erwin’s first race as the new crew chief of the No. 43 Best Buy Ford driven by Allmendinger. Prior to joining Richard Petty Motorsports, Erwin held the crew chief position with the No. 16 team at Roush Fenway Racing. Erwin joined that team in May 2007 and during his tenure at RFR, led Biffle to five victories, 36 top-five and 66 top-10 finishes. Erwin’s team made the Chase for the Championship three times, finishing as high as third in the year end point standings.

The No. 43 Hauler will be making a stop at Best Buy’s Geek Squad City (345 International Boulevard, Brooks, KY 40109) Thursday morning from 8– 9:30 a.m.

Can’t get enough of the Dinger? AJ will be signing autographs at the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series autograph session at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Saturday from 12-12:45 p.m. in the Pavilion.

Don’t miss out on your chance to meet Allmendinger as he will be appearing at the Best Buy store in Avon, Ind. (10346 East US Highway 36, Avon, Ind., 46123). The appearance is scheduled for Thursday, July 28, from 6-8 p.m. ET and is open to the public.

Credit - Richard Petty Motorsports PR

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Dinger Fan Story #4


I am a Fan of Best Buy. I have been a die hard supporter of the store when it 1st came out. I understand in these trying times you would need to pull out of the sport. That to me would be something a person could understand but lets not leave the Dinger!

I have tried for years to meet AJ, I have been a Fan of the Dinger since the red bull days. I believe that he can drive. I believe in him as a person.

I have never heard or seen a bad thing written about the Dinger. I think if I ever got the chance to meet him I would pass out.

I listen to him when he is on the Dave Moody Show and he is just a great guy and his wife Lynne is awesome.

His is a great balance to our sport and glad the "King" saw a lot in him and continues to give him the chance to drive when others would not.

We Love the Dinger!

Stick with the Dinger Best Buy. You have the best adversting in this man!

Pam C
Charlottesville, VA

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

VIDEO: Allmendinger - Kentucky Recap

Tuesday Ramble: Breathing New Life Into the #43 Team

Mike Shiplett was the crew chief who welcomed AJ Allmendinger into the fold when he arrived at Gillett Evernham Motorsports, now Richard Petty Motorsports, in October of 2008. After being let go before season’s end by Red Bull Racing and picking up a one car deal with Michael Waltrip Racing, AJ took on the challenge of qualifying and racing GEM’s #10 entry, which was not locked into the top 35 in owner’s points, a situation AJ was very familiar with.

AJ’s first race with the #10 team under Shiplett’s leadership was a great success compared to where the car had been running previously, and so were the remaining races that the two worked together that season. Then after the merger with Petty Motorsports in 2009, Shiplett moved to the #43 team of Reed Sorensen while AJ took on an underfunded fourth team with crew chief Sammy Johns at the helm.

Despite the obstacle of being a thrown together new team, the #44 group did a lot with the little that they were given. Then late in 2009 RPM made the move to switch the entire #43 and #44 teams around to try and improve performance for both of them. AJ ended up back with Mike Shiplett, a man that AJ has said many times that he respects greatly for his passion about racing.

Together again for the final fourteen races of 2009, the entire 2010 season, and halfway through this season, Mike and AJ have worked well with each other and made great strides in improving the #43 team. But the time has come to make a change with only a handful of races left to either get in the top ten in points or get enough wins for the coveted wildcard spots. Richard Petty Motorsports announced yesterday that Mike Shiplett has been replaced by Greg Erwin. Read the official announcement here.

Here are AJ’s words on the subject via Twitter:

“I'm out in Utah racing my kart. I'm excited to work with Greg and look forward to the rest of the season in the attempt to keep making....

Myself and the whole 43 team better. At the same time I am saddened at the loss of Mike. I really enjoyed working with Mike and I believe..

He is a great crew chief and even more important he's been a great person and friend to me. I wish Mike nothing but the best and will miss

Having him as part of the race team. I'm sorry we couldn't get the job done together.”

I think that most people will echo AJ’s mixed sentiments about Mike Shiplett departing as the team leader of the #43 Best Buy Ford. It’s sad to see him go but exciting to see a new era begin. Shiplett’s passion and drive to win has never been in question, and neither has his close relationship with his driver. Mike and AJ seemed to both be on the same wavelength through much of their working partnership.

In the competitive sport of NASCAR where a team’s worth is measured in statistics like wins, top fives and top tens, sometimes passion and heart just aren’t enough. The #43 group has struggled for consistency throughout the last two years, sometimes unloading with a fast hot rod and other times needing every second of practice to try and salvage a decent running car. Strategy calls from the pit box have been much the same – sometimes good, sometimes bad.

AJ and team had a strong start to the 2011 season and hopes were high for him to begin racking up top tens and maybe even have a shot to win a time or two. Unfortunately the #43 group seems to have plateaued in the last couple of months and haven’t been able to move up to the level that they have been striving to reach in order to contend with the top tier teams.

Over and over AJ has said in interviews that his focus this year hasn’t simply been getting in the Chase, but that they just need to work on improving the race team overall. Mike has done a great job getting the team to where it is today, but the improvement aspect has seemed to stall. So the team will now welcome in a new head man in Greg Erwin.

Greg comes over from an RPM affiliate, Roush Fenway Racing. He’s had five years of experience there with driver Greg Biffle and has led the #16 team to a handful of wins and three Chase berths. With this change in leadership, the potential is there to breathe new life into the #43 Best Buy team. Greg brings experience and a new perspective on setting up race cars that can benefit the entire RPM group greatly.

So for me, it’s sad to see Mike Shiplett walk away from a team that he has worked so hard to make better, but at the same time I’m looking forward to seeing what some fresh blood can do for the #43 bunch. I sincerely hope that this change is the shot in the arm that will put the Best Buy team in Victory Lane, because the driver, the sponsors, the owners, and all of the hard working guys behind the scenes deserve to see the fruits of their labor rewarded.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Crew Chief Change for the #43 Team


CONCORD, N.C. (July 18, 2011) – Richard Petty Motorsports officials announced today that Greg Erwin has joined the team and will replace Mike Shiplett as crew chief for the No. 43 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series entry driven by AJ Allmendinger.

“Mike and I have been together for a long time, so from a personal standpoint this is difficult for me,” said Allmendinger. “We’ve worked really well together and I think our personalities really complemented each other. Mike and I both came into this year really committed to working on our weaker areas. I know we both tried our best to be better and communicate better - I couldn’t have asked for either of us to try any harder. Sometimes though, you need to take a step back and have a new perspective or new set of eyes look at things to move to the next level.

“Greg Erwin is a really talented crew chief and we’re lucky to have him come on board with us,” continued Allmendinger. “He has had a lot of success, brings a fresh perspective and has shown he knows exactly what it takes to win. I’m looking forward to seeing what we can do together and taking the team to that next level.”

Prior to joining Richard Petty Motorsports, Erwin held the crew chief position with the No. 16 team at Roush Fenway Racing. Erwin joined that team in May 2007 and during his tenure at RFR, led Biffle to five victories, 36 top-five and 66 top-10 finishes. Erwin’s team made the Chase for the Championship three times, finishing as high as third in the year end point standings.

“When one door closes, another one opens and this is a great example of that,” said Erwin. “I couldn’t be happier to have found a new home at Richard Petty Motorsports. To work with Richard Petty and lead the iconic No. 43 team is a great opportunity for me. AJ Allmendinger has shown that he has a great deal of talent and I’m excited to have the chance to get the No. 43 team back to victory lane.”

Credit - Richard Petty Motorsports PR

Loudon Race Recap

No. 43 Best Buy Ford Fusion
 • AJ Allmendinger started from the 17th spot at New Hampshire Motor Speedway
• Allmendinger wheeled his way to a 12th-place finishing position at the one-mile track
• Unofficially, Allmendinger sits in 16th place in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver point standings

Race Summary: AJ Allmendinger lined up for the start of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in the 17th position. He quickly made his way toward the front of the field and was running in the eighth position by Lap 26. Relaying to Crew Chief Mike Shiplett that the Best Buy Ford was to his liking, Shiplett called for four tires and fuel only during the first pit stop of the day at Lap 31.

Several cars elected to take only two tires during the Lap 31 caution period, resulting in a 23rd place restarting position. Allmendinger again made his way toward the front of the field in a hurry and was running in the 11th position when the second caution flag of the day flew on Lap 61. An incident on pit road with the No. 71 caused right front fender damage to the No. 43 Ford Fusion. He was forced back to pit road a second time during the yellow flag period to fix the damage to the fender.

Restarting in the 33rd position, Allmendinger struggled for the remainder of the event with the handling of his Best Buy machine after the damage sustained to the car on pit road. Fighting a tight race car, Shiplett and crew made a variety of adjustments throughout the day. With just over 100 laps to go in the 301-lap event, Allmendinger communicated to the Best Buy crew that his car was handling better and he was beginning to move through the field, methodically passing cars one by one.

Shiplett had pit strategy planned for the end of the race, electing to stay out and save fuel during the last few caution periods of the event. Allmendinger made his last stop on Lap 225 for gas only. The call paid off for the Richard Petty Motorsports crew and Allmendinger was able to hold on until the end, finishing in the12th position as several of the leaders ran out of fuel just before the checkered flag flew.

Allmendinger’s 12th-place finish moves him up two positions in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver point standings and he now sits in 16th place heading into the 20th race of the season at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 31.

Credit - Richard Petty Motorsports PR

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Loudon Post-Race Quotes

No. 43 Best Buy Ford Fusion
Finished 12th
YOU LOOK ABSOLUTELY EXHAUSTED, MENTALLY AND PHYSICALLY. “Yeah, it was that kind of day today. The hose fell off on lap three for the cooler. It was pretty warm in there. We got it back on for a little bit, but it fell back off again. The car was so fast in the beginning, it was ridiculous. It was a joke actually how fast the car was in the beginning but you have idiots that just panic and try to turn down and stop in the middle of pit road. It is like the seas parted and the 71 was sitting there. I tried to lock it up but I hit him in the exact wrong spot and it killed our fender. From there it was an uphill battle. You get in the back here and you are in trouble. If we would have had no damage and been back there we would have drove back up through the field but the thing was tight. We were gouging each other back there just trying to get anything, any kind of space. Overall it was a decent day finish wise. I am really proud of all these guys for the race car that they built there. It was ridiculous, it was fast. We just got hosed there. We got something decent out of it, not what we wanted but something decent to salvage and we go on to the next race.”

Credit - Ford Racing

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Loudon Race Preview

No. 43 Best Buy Ford Fusion
• Allmendinger has made seven starts at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, N.H.
• Allmendinger enters the race in 18th place in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver point standings
• Allmendinger’s best finish (10th) came in last year’s spring race at New Hampshire

Allmendinger on New Hampshire Motor Speedway: “Loudon is fun, I really like racing there. It’s kind of different from the typical race tracks that we go to because it has a lot of racing grooves and it’s a flat one-mile track. I’ve always just enjoyed going there. Mike (Shiplett) has always had a really good setup at New Hampshire, which makes it fun for me to race. Because of the way the oval is configured there are a lot of different ways to get around the track by running in the different racing grooves. We’ve been fast at New Hampshire the last two years and I feel like it’s a good race to get us back on track after a disappointing weekend in Kentucky. I’m looking forward to getting our Best Buy Ford Fusion a good finish this weekend.”

Crew Chief Mike Shiplett’s Keys to Getting Around New Hampshire: “We need to have a Best Buy Ford Fusion that turns well in the middle, but has very good forward drive off of the corners. Loudon has long straightaways and really tight turns; it’s like a supersized Martinsville. Brakes are very important. We don’t want to overuse the brakes, we’ve got to make sure we try and save them. It’s a short race in terms of miles, but it is a very hard race on the car and equipment.”

Shiplett on Pitting at Loudon: “Pit road is very challenging. You can lose a lot of time on pit road or gain a lot of time on pit road depending on how your entry is from the race track. Pit strategy is going to be very important. We usually get a quick caution early on in the race and everyone gets two tires, then we have a couple of green flag runs, so having good pit strategy at the end is key. Often the race comes down to fuel mileage or there will be a bunch of late race cautions and we’ll have to decide if we are going to pit or not, and if we pit, are we going to take two tires or four? It will all depend on how the car is handling and where we are as far as track position goes.”

Chassis History: The No. 43 RPM team has prepared chassis No. 736 for this weekend’s event at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. This Best Buy Ford has been run previously this season at Las Vegas, Richmond and Kansas.

Notes: Allmendinger has seven NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Allmendinger’s best starting position (sixth) came in last year’s fall race at the one-mile track. He has completed 1,901 of 2,058 laps attempted. Allmendinger enters the weekend in 18th spot in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series point standings and will make his 135th career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series start at Loudon.

Allmendinger’s car will have a different look this weekend as Best Buy will return as the primary partner of the No. 43 Ford Fusion.

Allmendinger and “The King” will be attending the 18th Annual Best Buy Charity Classic in Minneapolis, Minn., Wednesday for a golf tournament and gala to benefit The Best Buy Children’s Foundation. The foundation was founded in 1994 and today the Best Buy Children’s Foundation works with nonprofit organizations to support programs that create opportunities for teens. Their goal is to provide positive experiences that will help them excel in school, engage in their communities and develop leadership skills.

Credit - Richard Petty Motorsports PR

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Dinger Fan Story #3

In May 2008 in Charlotte for the Coke 600, we were walking around the outside of the track and as we walked by the Toyota stage, drivers were giving out autographs. When we saw AJ, we figured we would get his autograph. My 8 year old daughter, Ashley, had a pink hat that she had different military men & women signing, so we started walking towards the autograph area. We arrived too late, he had turned around and was leaving. Many people around us yelled "Hey AJ, come sign this little girl's hat!". He did. He came back, signed her hat, and made that little girl's day.

From that day on we started cheering for him. When he was let go from Red Bull, we were not impressed with their decision or choice, and we became stronger fans.

Ashley, who is now 11, had never been a huge Nascar fan, but AJ turned her into one. In 2009 he stopped and posed with her while signing autographs at his trailer. His genuine care and concern for his fans is exactly what this sport needs more of. We are thrilled to see him in the #43, driving for Petty Motorsports, and kudos to Best Buy for sponsoring this talented driver. May their relationship continue for years to come!

The picture attached is from May, 2009, in Charlotte before the Coke 600. My daughter and her favorite driver! She has since replaced her #3 hat with a #43.

Lisa G
N Carolina

Monday, July 11, 2011

Kentucky Race Recap

No. 43 Valvoline Ford Fusion
■AJ Allmendinger started from the 23rd spot Saturday night at Kentucky Speedway
■Allmendinger wheeled his way to a 28th place finishing position
■Unofficially, Allmendinger sits in 18th place in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver point standings

Race Summary: AJ Allmendinger lined up for the start of the inaugural NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event at Kentucky Speedway in the 23rd spot after rain showers forced the cancellation of qualifying. In the early laps of the event, Allmendinger relayed to Crew Chief Mike Shiplett that the Valvoline Ford was loose.

A competition caution on Lap 31 enabled Allmendinger to duck into the pits for four fresh tires, fuel and a track bar adjustment. The California native lined up for the Lap 36 restart in the 25th position. Unfortunately, it wasn’t long before Allmendinger communicated to the crew that the changes made hadn’t helped the car, and in fact, the car was even more of a handful than before.

Shiplett made adjustments to the handling of the car on every stop, but the changes made didn’t seem to do much to help the Valvoline machine. Allmendinger held down the 28th spot at Lap 147 and had lost one lap to the leaders. He was running in the 31st spot when the caution came out with 28 laps remaining in the 267-lap event. Shiplett called his driver onto pit lane for a two-tire stop and when the green flag flew for the restart, the No. 43 Valvoline Ford lined back up in the 31st position. Allmendinger gained several positions in the closing laps and when the checkered flag flew, the No. 43 Ford Fusion held down the 28th spot.

Allmendinger slipped several positions in the NASCAR Sprint Cup driver point standings and unofficially sits in 18th position. The Cup Series will head to New Hampshire Motor Speedway next weekend.

Credit - Richard Petty Motorsports PR

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Kentucky Post-Race Quotes

AJ ALLMENDINGER, No. 43 Valvoline Ford Fusion
Finished 28th
“Our Valvoline Ford started out okay, but after the first pit stop everything changed. We aren’t sure why either. Man, it’s a shame we weren’t able to put on a better show for Valvoline and the fans here at Kentucky. We just gotta get back in the shop and figure out what the deal is and get it fixed and head to New Hampshire.”

Credit - Ford Racing

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Kentucky Race Preview

No. 43 Valvoline Ford Fusion
• AJ Allmendinger will be making his 134th NASCAR Sprint Cup Series start this weekend in Kentucky
• Allmendinger enters the race in 15th place in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver point standings
• Allmendinger will make his first career start at Kentucky Speedway this weekend

AJ Allmendinger on Kentucky Speedway: “Kentucky is going to be a fun race for me. I’ve never raced there before in any series, I’ve only tested there back in 2008, so this weekend is going to be a new experience for me all together. I feel like Mike and my whole Valvoline team have really made some strides in our 1.5-mile track program and I’m looking forward to seeing what kind of a Valvoline Ford we’ve got this weekend.

“It’s a Saturday night race and I really enjoy night racing. It’s cool to see the fans getting so excited about Cup racing coming to Kentucky. I can’t wait to show them what it’s all about.”

Crew Chief Mike Shiplett on Kentucky: “Kentucky is a 1.5-mile track, it’s got wide sweeping corners that have some bumps to them. It’s going to be a challenge for everyone, and NASCAR has given us a test date on Thursday, so we’ll have about six hours to try and figure out the track before we officially start competition on Friday. I’m looking forward to the challenge with the Valvoline Ford Fusion.

“We didn’t have the best luck at intermediate tracks earlier in the season, but we’ve recently figured out a few things at the 1.5-mile tracks and were looking forward to putting them to good use at Kentucky this weekend.”

Chassis History: The No. 43 RPM team has prepared chassis No. 742 for this weekend’s event at Kentucky Speedway. This Valvoline Ford Fusion has been run previously this year at California.

About the Track: This Saturday will mark the first time a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event has been held at Kentucky Speedway. Located in Sparta, Ky., the 1.5-mile oval is 57-feet wide, with 14-degree banking in the turns. It has a 12-foot apron and a 1,600-foot backstretch.

Notes: Allmendinger will make his first career start at Kentucky Speedway Saturday night. After his 10th place finish at Daytona last weekend, Allmendinger enters the 18th race of the season in the 15th position in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver point standings.

Allmendinger will have a different look this weekend as Valvoline will make its second appearance of the year as the primary partner of the No. 43 Ford Fusion.

The third of 12 Best Buy “Re-Tailgate” events will occur this Saturday. A combination of 100 premiere Best Buy customers and Best Buy employees will be invited to a private shopping/tailgating event. Following the event the guests will be bused to the track and get the opportunity to meet Allmendinger. After the meet and great attendees will be given a pit tour and then be able to enjoy the race from their grandstand seats.

Credit - Richard Petty Motorspots PR

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Dinger Fan Story #2

My fandom of AJ began during his last season in Champ Car, which happened to be about the time that my love of all forms of racing instead of just NASCAR blossomed. AJ was a fun, talented American in a tough series dominated by foreign drivers, and obviously he was very successful that season. When AJ moved to Red Bull it was the best of both worlds to me, or so I thought. I felt bad watching AJ struggle with a new team and manufacturer that year. My respect for AJ came during an ESPN spot later that season where the rookie class of that year (Menard, JPM, AJ, and a couple of others) was asked to grade their performances while sitting in a mock school room. I was impressed that AJ was the only one honest enough to give himself a bad grade for a disappointing season (for which he could have blamed new manufacturer, new team, no testing, etc) up to that point while the other drivers who were also struggling gave themselves A’s and B’s, apparently for not getting lost on the way to the track since they hadn’t done much else that year.

My wife and I met AJ for the first time at the November race at Texas Motor Speedway in 2008. AJ had just gotten picked up by GEM and was driving the Country Crock #10 car that week. On Saturday while perusing the Stanley tools display we heard one of the Stanley folks announce that they had two passes for a meet and greet with AJ. I nearly tackled the nearest Stanley worker and almost had talked him out of the passes for nothing when Mandy went up to the head worker and told him that she would do anything for the passes. Mandy then backed up that promise by dancing on stage until the crowd deemed her worthy of the passes. I had never gotten to meet a NASCAR driver before and was pretty nervous for the meet and greet. AJ was his normal funny self though and put the group at ease. I was the only one there wearing AJ’s drivers gear and after noticing that fact I must admit that I hogged the time allotted with my questions. AJ also got a good laugh out of Mandy explaining the lengths she went to too earn passes for me. AJ left that race with two fans as now after meeting him Mandy understood what I saw in AJ that made me a fan. We returned in April for the spring race +1 as we had the Future Dinger Fan in tow, which we now knew had actually been with us for about two weeks the first time we met Dinger. AJ really got a kick out of the shirt Mandy had and we got some photos with AJ after the normal autograph session was completed and got to visit a little more. Again we were impressed with how personable AJ was with the fans. I have gone on to get to meet AJ at Texas ion November 2009 and at Martinsville and Michigan in 2010 as well, and the experience never gets old. The Michigan fan club event was especially cool as AJ spent the entire Nationwide race with his fans answering questions and hanging out. Now who else’s driver does that?

Seeing how much fun AJ seemed to be having finally convinced me to quit just dreaming of racing one day and actually do something about it. I attended my first open track day shortly after the Michigan race, began gutting my Ford Mustang and converting it into a dedicated race car, and earned my NASA competition license on April 30, 2011. So now I not only cheer for the 43 on Sunday’s but also on Friday’s and Saturday’s while I race MY #43 Ford Mustang in the NASA Camaro Mustang Challenge here in the Texas region. I laugh now when people see my number and say “Big Petty fan huh?” to which I get to go into my “well yes, but actually the 43 is for Dinger” story. While I have no aspirations or delusions of reaching any level near AJ’s, I can honestly say that meeting him has bumped me over that edge from just watching racing to participating in it, and I am very happy and thankful for that.


Monday, July 4, 2011

Daytona II Race Recap

No. 43 U.S. Air Force Ford Fusion
• AJ Allmendinger started from the ninth spot Saturday night at Daytona
• Allmendinger wheeled his way to a 10th-place finishing position
• Unofficially, Allmendinger sits in 15th place in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver point standings

Race Summary: AJ Allmendinger took the green flag for the start of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event at Daytona in the ninth position. Allmendinger slipped back a few positions just after the start of the race to find his teammate and pre-arranged drafting partner Marcos Ambrose who started three rows behind the No. 43 U.S. Air Force Ford.

Working in tandem with Ambrose, the pair planned to run mid-pack for the majority of the race in hopes of avoiding any on-track incidents in front of them. Running in the 20th position when the first pit stop of the day came under caution on Lap 21, Crew Chief Mike Shiplett called for right side tires and fuel for the U.S. Air Force machine. Running in 11th spot, Shiplett again called Allmendinger’s Ford into the pits for four tires and fuel on Lap 49 when the third caution flag of the day flew.

Allmendinger and drafting partner Ambrose ducked onto pit road for what was supposed to be a routine pit stop under green flag conditions on Lap 134. As Allmendinger drove down pit road, he relayed to Shiplett that the U.S. Air Force Ford was out of gas. Coasting to his pit stall for a two tire stop, the No. 43 had trouble re-firing and lost drafting partner Ambrose.

When the pair finally hooked up again they had slipped to the back of the field and fell a lap down to the leaders. The first car a lap down, Allmendinger and crew were hoping for a late race caution to put them in the “Lucky Dog” position, which would allow the No. 43 to get back on the lead lap. With luck on their side, the caution flag flew on Lap 159, setting the field up for a green-white-checkered finish.

Restarting in the 31st position on Lap 164, Allmendinger avoided a multi-car accident going into Turn 1 and moved up several positions. The green flag flew again for the field’s second attempt at a green-white-checkered finish on Lap 167. Again working in tandem with Ambrose, the pair were picking off cars one-by-one, when another multi-car accident on the last lap took out several lead cars allowing Allmendinger to come home in the 10th position at the end of the 170-lap race.

Credit - Richard Petty Motorsports PR

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Daytona II Post-Race Quotes

AJ ALLMENDINGER – No. 43 U.S. Air Force Ford Fusion
Finished 10th
YOU WERE 31ST ON THE FIRST GWC RESTART AND FINISHED 10TH. HOW? “A lot of guys wrecked (laughing). I don’t know. I felt like Marcos and I were worked good and we were trying to be smart and bide our time, but then it all fell apart. We lost the draft a little bit and then we got caught behind the 7 and 35 and by the time we got hooked back up everybody was gone. We’re not sure if we have a fuel pump issue, but we ran out of fuel when we weren’t supposed to, so the pit stop took even longer. After that it was just survival. I felt kind of bad because Marcos and I were racing for the lucky dog, but I was happy that the yellow came out twice so we both got our laps back. After that, it was just trying to miss the wreck. We didn’t quite miss it but I stayed wide open when it happened and kind of bulled my way through there and finished 10th.”

Credit - Ford Racing

Friday, July 1, 2011

Daytona II Qualifying Quotes

AJ ALLMENDINGER - No. 43 Best Buy Ford Fusion
Qualified 9th
YOU AND MARCOS QUALIFIED PRETTY CLOSE TO EACH OTHER. "We'll be hooked up together. I don't know what we're gonna do. We've talked about kind of falling to the back and riding there, but we're race car drivers and that's tough to do, especially when you're starting this close to the front. But it's cool. I'm proud of everybody. We're building better race cars. Doug Yates and everybody are building a lot more horsepower. All of the Fords are up near the front and when it comes to qualifying at this track, it's all about good cars and good horsepower. We'll keep working on it and pray to the racing gods that we get through everything tomorrow."


MARCOS AMBROSE - No. 9 DeWalt Ford Fusion
Qualified 15th
"We're lined up pretty close and just about as good as anyone can. We're actually even in the same lane, so I feel good about it. He'll just drop back to me and we'll get after it. I'm really proud of my DeWalt team. Todd Parrott cut the nose off this car about 10 days ago because he wasn't happy with it. I'm just really proud of my guys and it was fun going out there last, so I'll take it and look forward to the race."

Credit - Ford Racing