Thursday, September 8, 2011

Richmond II Race Preview

No. 43 Best Buy Ford Fusion
• Allmendinger has made nine starts at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway
• Allmendinger enters the race in 13th place in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver point standings
• Allmendinger’s best finish (seventh) at Richmond came in this year’s spring race

Allmendinger’s Thoughts on Richmond and Making the Chase: “We know the chance is still there to make the Chase. It’s still wide -open and if we win, anything can happen after that, but for me, like I said from the beginning, the Chase doesn’t define the season. I’d love to get in the Chase, that’s the ultimate goal, but as a race team we keep getting better and that’s what really matters. If we can go into these last 11 races and get to Homestead and be far better than we were when we started, that is a great season for me and my whole Best Buy team. We’re getting there. We still have a little ways to go, but every week I feel like we improve.”

Allmendinger’s Thoughts on His Team Dynamic: “I feel like we are really clicking as a team. I felt like we legitimately had a top-five car in Richmond, then when we got the damage, that’s what makes a good race team because we fought back. At Michigan we didn’t have a great car but we got an 11th out of it, so it’s things like that where we can go and keep finishing well that makes a good team. That’s where we are as a team right now. We’re about an eighth to a 12th or 13th-place race team, but that’s better than where we had been, so that’s the improvement I’m looking for.”

Crew Chief Greg Erwin’s Keys to Getting Around Richmond: “AJ has been pretty fast and very competitive at Richmond and it has been one of his stronger race tracks the past two years. He’s coming off of a strong finish at Atlanta and that should give him a good boost of momentum going into this weekend. This is a car that has run well at other races this season, so we are looking forward to a good run in the Best Buy Ford this weekend.”

Erwin on Challenges at Richmond: “The hardest thing about Richmond is that at the end of the race it’s hard to be able to keep the rear tires hooked up and be able to stay in the throttle leaving the corner at both ends. Generally the track conditions in practice are not similar to what you experience during the last 100-200 laps at the race and a lot of cars won’t have enough bite or grip in the rear tires and will get really free at the end of the race especially on a long green flag run.”

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

Notes: Allmendinger has nine NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts at Richmond International Raceway. Allmendinger’s best starting position (third) came in last year’s fall event and his best finishing position (seventh) came in this year’s spring event at the .75-mile track. He has completed 3,390 of 3,610 laps attempted at the oval, leading one of them.

Can’t get enough of AJ? The Dinger will be appearing at the Best Buy store in Glen Allen, Va. (11200, West Broad Street, Glen Allen, Va., 23060). The appearance is scheduled for Thursday, from 6-8 p.m. ET. In addition, teammate Marcos Ambrose will be joining him from 7-8 p.m. to talk about the Sprint Head-to-Head Racing Challenge, in which AJ and Marcos will compete for a $5,000 contribution on behalf of Sprint for their respective charities. The driver who finishes higher in Richmond’s night race will be considered the winner. AJ will be competing for a donation to Paralyzed Veterans of America and Marcos will be competing for a donation to Victory Junction. The evening’s festivities are open to the public.

The No. 43 Best Buy Ford Fusion will run a special 9/11 tribute paint scheme this weekend in Richmond. The car will be decked out in red, white and blue.

Credit - Richard Petty Motorsports PR

Photo credit - Richard Petty Motorsports

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