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