Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Homestead Race Recap

No. 43 Best Buy Ford Fusion
  • AJ Allmendinger started in the 12th position for the 267-lap event at Homestead-Miami Speedway
  • Allmendinger finished the race in the 15th position at the 1.5-mile track
  • Unofficially, Allmendinger finished the season in 15th place in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver point standings
Race Summary: AJ Allmendinger lined up for the start of the final event of the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season in the 12th position. Rain showers caused a brief delay right after the start of the race, but cleared up quickly. During the delay, Allmendinger let his Best Buy Racing team know that the No. 43 Ford Fusion was loose on the bottom of the track and free off of the corners up top. A pit stop on Lap 15 of the 267-lap event enabled Crew Chief Greg Erwin to call for a track bar adjustment, fuel and four fresh tires before sending Allmendinger back out on the track in the 25th position for the Lap 22 restart.

Allmendinger communicated to his crew that the changes made to the car had helped the handling and at the Lap 57 mark, the Best Buy Ford held down 13th place. At Lap 68, the driver relayed to the crew that the car had become free in the corner and tight in the center. Erwin made a track bar adjustment during the next stop, which came 10 laps later. The crew bolted on fresh right side tires during a Lap 85 stop and almost immediately, Allmendinger let his team know that two tires were not the way to go and that the car was no longer handling to his liking.

More rain showers blanketed the area just past the Lap 100 mark, which resulted in NASCAR officials throwing the red flag. After a delay of over an hour, drivers were called back to their cars and the red flag was withdrawn at Lap 111. Allmendinger made a quick pit stop for four tires, fuel, air pres­sure changes and a track bar adjustment before lining up for the Lap 116 restart in 16th place. Patiently making his way toward the front of the field, the No. 43 Richard Petty Motorsports Ford moved into the Top 10 near Lap 150. Running as high as eighth place, Allmendinger communicated to Erwin that the car was the best it had been all day.

Strategy came into play when the caution was displayed once again for rain with 54 laps remaining in the event. Running 13th when it began to rain, Erwin opted to leave his driver out on the track when many of the leaders pitted in an effort to pick up track position. That decision moved Allmend­inger into third place. A four-tire stop at Lap 229 relegated the team back to 20th place, however, when the green flag flew for the restart on Lap 231. Not long after the restart, Allmendinger relayed to the crew that the Best Buy Ford was extremely tight. Able to pick up several positions in the closing laps, Allmendinger took the checkered flag in the 15th spot.

After posting a career-best season that included one Top-Five and 10 Top-10 finishes, AJ Allmendinger picked up one spot in the final race of the season and finished the 2011 campaign in 15th position in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver point standings.

Credit - Richard Petty Motorsports PR

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