Monday, October 31, 2011

Martinsville II Race Recap

No. 43 AdvoCare Ford Fusion
  • AJ Allmendinger started in the 16th position for the 500-lap event at Martinsville Speedway
  • Allmendinger, finished in the race in the 11th position at the .536-mile track
  • Unofficially, Allmendinger sits in 16th place in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver point standings
Race Summary: AJ Allmendinger started the 263-mile event at Martinsville Speedway from the 16th position. Inclement weather caused the cancelation of Saturday’s qualifying session and the starting line-up was set per the NASCAR rule book. Allmendinger didn’t waste any time letting his crew know he was happy with his car, and Crew Chief Greg Erwin elected not to bring the AdvoCare Ford down pit road during the first three caution periods of the race. Staying out under yellow, combined with a fast race car, enabled Allmendinger to drive his way to the lead on Lap 55.

Though he was beginning to fight a car that was struggling to find rear grip, the No. 43 continued to run up front until a Lap 66 caution period allowed Erwin to call Allmendinger onto pit road for an air pressure adjustment, four fresh tires and fuel. Several cars elected not to pit under the fourth caution period of the day and Allmendinger restarted the race in 16th place. Just a few laps into the run, Allmendinger communicated to his crew that the air pressure adjustment made on the previous stop had helped the handling of his race car.

Pleased with the AdvoCare Ford Fusion, Allmendinger was again out front leading the field on Lap 117. As the laps wore on, Allmendinger began to struggle to find rear grip and began to slip back several positions. Erwin called for a variety of chassis adjustments in the ensuing pit stops and Allmendinger continued to run inside the Top 10 for the majority of the event.

The turning point for the No. 43 came on Lap 407 when Allmendinger sustained left front fender damage due to a multi-car accident. Having to bring the AdvoCare machine into the pits on Lap 409 for repairs, Allmendinger lost valuable time and was forced to restart in the 22nd position on Lap 413, the last car on the lead lap. Allmendinger didn't waste any time making his way back toward the front of the field though, and was running in the 14th spot by Lap 441.

Contact with the No. 78 car on Lap 444 sent Allmendinger’s car sliding up the track and into the wall, causing minor right side damage. Allmendinger again found himself at the tail end of the lead lap, this time with just over 50 laps to go. Never giving up, Allmendinger put the pedal to the metal and worked his way up to the 15th spot with just six laps remaining in the 500-lap event when the caution flag flew for the 18th and final time on Lap 494. By virtue of several cars wrecking in front of the No. 43 machine, Allmendinger was able to advance four spots in the remaining laps of the race and brought the AdvoCare Ford home in 11th place.

Allmendinger was awarded a bonus point for leading a total of two times throughout the event, equaling 19 laps, and now sits in 16th place in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series point standings heading into next Sunday’s race at Texas Motor Speedway.

Credit - Richard Petty Motorsports PR

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