Thursday, August 11, 2011

Watkins Glen Race Preview

AJ ALLMENDINGER No. 43 Best Buy Ford Fusion
• Allmendinger has made three starts at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International
• Allmendinger enters the race in 17th place in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver point standings
• Allmendinger’s best finish (fourth) at the 2.45-mile road course came in last year’s race

AJ Allmendinger on Watkins Glen: “I’m coming off of two race tracks that I’m not a big fan of racing at, so I’m excited to be going to The Glen. I’ve had pretty good finishes there in the past, so I’m looking forward to going this weekend and having a legitimate shot at my first Cup Series win in my Best Buy Ford Fusion. Greg Erwin and I are starting to gel more and more each week and Watkins Glen is a great track for us to work on momentum with this new team dynamic.”

Crew Chief Greg Erwin’s Keys to Getting Around Watkins Glen: “The key to Watkins Glen historically has been being able to carry a lot of speed through the esses. We need to have a car that drives as close as we can make it equally left and right. Fuel mileage will be important at The Glen and generally two-stop strategies work well there.

“It will be interesting to see how the tire is going to react at Watkins Glen this weekend. We’ve been very solid and consistent with the Fords there in the past. This year Goodyear threw us a different tire at Sonoma (the only other road course on the Cup Series schedule) and everyone struggled with it. I’m hoping Goodyear has taken what was learned at Sonoma and the new tire at Watkins Glen will be closer to what it has been in the past. Our new Ford engine this year is also going to be key. We had the old Ford engine there last year, so this time around we should have a lot more power on the field.

There will also be a new style of chassis for the Fords this year, so that should help the performance of the car as well. I know AJ is excited to go to The Glen after coming off of two weeks of tough racetracks. He wants to go to Watkins Glen and show everybody what he’s got. It should be a good weekend for the Best Buy team and the whole RPM organization.”

Erwin on the Biggest Challenge at The Glen: “The biggest challenge historically has been fighting turn and getting the car to cut in the corners. The second biggest concern is yellow flag pit stops, because pit road can get really congested and we want to be able to get the Best Buy machine off of pit road with the fenders all in one piece. The next challenge will be getting through Turn 1 because that corner sends a lot of guys off of the racetrack and tends to end a lot of days pretty quick.”

Chassis History: The No. 43 RPM team has prepared chassis No. 760 for this weekend’s event at Watkins Glen International. This Best Buy Ford Fusion has been run previously this season at Infineon (Sonoma, Calif.) Raceway.

Notes: Allmendinger’s best starting and finishing position at Watkins Glen (fourth) came in last year’s 90-lap event. Allmendinger enters this weekend in 17th place in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver point standings. Allmendinger has completed 100 percent of laps attempted (270) at the 2.45-mile track and has an average finishing position of 9.3.

Richard Petty Motorsports’ No. 43 and No. 9 teams will visit Victory Junction Gang Camp, Aug. 9, for NASCARnival Night, an evening full of fun and games with the campers. Allmendinger, along with his pit crew, will enjoy dinner, dancing and pit stop demonstrations as part of the event.

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