Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Phoenix II Race Recap

No. 43 WIX Filters Ford Fusion
  • AJ Allmendinger started from the front row for the 312-mile event at Phoenix International Raceway
  • Allmendinger finished in the race in the sixth position at the one-mile track
  • Unofficially, Allmendinger sits in 16th place in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver point standings
Race Summary: AJ Allmendinger started Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event from the outside of the front row and the second-place starting effort was the fourth of the season for the No. 43 team. A quick caution just three laps after the green flag flew gave Allmendinger the opportunity to relay to his team how slick the track was before restarting on Lap 6 in the fifth position.

Allmendinger moved into the fourth spot at Lap 31 and communicated to the team that the No. 43 WIX Filters Ford Fusion was handling pretty well except for being a tick tight in the center of the corners. Allmendinger drove down pit road to the attention of his crew during the scheduled competition caution at Lap 42 and Crew Chief Greg Erwin called for fresh left side tires and fuel during the stop. The No. 43 machine restarted in seventh place, and by Lap 69, Allmendinger had driven into second.

Allmendinger battled a bit of a tight condition for much of the race, but remained inside the Top 10 for the majority of the event. A pit stop on Lap 161 resulted in the No. 43 lining up for the ensuing restart in ninth place after problems arose in the mechanics of the pit stop. The California native began another ascent toward the front of the field and had made it all the way to third place before communicating to the crew that the car was the best it had been all day at Lap 219. During a pit stop several laps later, the crew opted to make no adjustments to the car. Allmendinger lined up for the Lap 225 restart in fifth place.

Track conditions changed throughout the event and the car became very loose with about 80 laps remaining. Allmendinger fell back as far as 11th, but was able to begin to work his way back toward the front of the field not long after. A final pit stop at Lap 287 enabled Erwin’s crew to change left side tires and fill the tank with fuel. Allmendinger held down ninth place with 18 laps left in the race and by the time the checkered flag flew, he had made his way up to the sixth position.

Sunday's finish marked the No. 43 team's 10th Top-10 effort of the season. Allmendinger sits in 16th place in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series point standings heading into next weekend’s season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Only 25 markers separate Allmendinger from 13th place in the point standings.

Credit - Richard Petty Motorsports PR

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