Thursday, August 4, 2011

Pocono II Race Preview

No. 43 Best Buy Ford Fusion
• Allmendinger has made eight starts at Pocono Raceway, located in Long Pond, Pa.
• Allmendinger enters the race in 17th place in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver point standings
• Allmendinger’s best finish (10th) at the 2.5-mile track came in last year’s June race

AJ Allmendinger on Pocono: “Pocono is a strange track to race on. When we go back the second time it always seems like the track is a lot slicker than earlier in the year. Every year that I’ve been there, for whatever reason, in the eight weeks that it sits, it just gets so much slicker. Since the track conditions change so much, the setup is a little bit different this week than when we go there in June. For us we weren’t great there the first race, but we definitely figured out some things we can build off of and try to work out this weekend. With us shifting at Pocono now for the second time this season, it’s a lot different to drive on than it has been in past years. Those are some notes we can use this weekend from the June race.

“We learned a lot last week working with Greg Erwin for the first time and I think the next couple of weeks are going to be a transition period for the whole Best Buy team. We still have an outside shot of going out there and making the Chase, but more importantly, there are race tracks we can go to a second time and put ourselves up against what we have done earlier in the year. We just have to keep trying to get our Best Buy Ford better and better.”

Crew Chief Greg Erwin’s Thoughts on Pocono: “Pocono is probably the most difficult track for the driver and crew chief to be able to assemble good solid complete laps around the race track because it is so uniquely different on all three corners. One of the biggest problems we’ll fight in Pocono is the roughness of the race track entering Turn 1 at the end of the longest straightaway. That’s really what sets the car up for a good lap or not. Depending on how the Best Buy Ford gets through those bumps will depend on how good our lap is because if we lose speed it’s really difficult to get that speed back. The tunnel turn has some resemblance to Indy, but is a lot rougher. We may use some of our Indy notes if we are struggling getting through the tunnel turn. The patch in Turn 3 has a lot more grip now and a lot of drivers are going up there to get some speed. Turn 3 is a big, long, flat, sweeping corner and it is hard to get the car to drive off that corner while still having the front end turn well. It is a little bit of a tighter exit than the other two turns. Pocono is definitely one of the harder race tracks combined with the fact that we are going back for the second time being allowed to shift again. We saw a lot of wear and tear on our transmissions there earlier in the year. Shifting gives AJ another tool to try and get around Pocono, but he has to take care of it.”

Chassis History: The No. 43 RPM team has prepared chassis No. 729 for this weekend’s event at Pocono. This Best Buy Ford Fusion has been run previously this season at Phoenix International Raceway, Martinsville (Va.) Speedway, Darlington (S.C.) Raceway and was utilized in the June race at Pocono Raceway.

Notes: Allmendinger has eight starts and two Top-15 finishes at Pocono. He enters the race this weekend in 17th place in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver point standings. Allmendinger’s best finish (10th) came in last year’s June race. He has completed 1,506 of 1,510 laps attempted at the 2.5-mile tri-oval.

This week marks the start of DIRECTV’s Head2Head Knockout competition. The No. 43 team has been pitted up against the No. 4 team during this week’s race. The high-stakes competition will take place over the course of four races and DIRECTV, the exclusive provider of the NASCAR HotPass™ broadcast, will donate a total of $400,000 to driver charities during the event as drivers compete head-to-head each week with the winner moving on to the next bracket.

In addition, a participating fan who fills out a perfect bracket can win $1 million. Aside from a perfect bracket winner, the fan who accumulates the most points will win a brand new truck from the manufacturer of the winning driver. Fans can get more information by visiting and can enter their brackets until Aug. 7 at 12:30 p.m. EDT.

Credit - Richard Petty Motorsports PR

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