Friday, February 17, 2012

Allmendinger - Media Day Interview

AJ Allmendinger (No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Dodge Charger R/T)

HOW HAS TESTING GONE SO FAR THIS YEAR? “We tested in Nashville for two day and tested at Disney World. I feel like the team is gelling really well with Todd Gordon (crew chief) and the guys. For me, it’s been fun to be at the track and hang around with them. It’s hard to say, we were at Nashville and it was 35 degrees. Walt Disney World, that track isn’t like any other track that we race at. Just to get in the car, go through some changes. More than anything, for Todd and me build a language barrier together to where when I communicate; he knows what I’m saying. All those things have been really good. Speedweeks in its own, anything can happen. Like Phoenix and beyond is what I’m really excited about and really see where we’re at as a race team.”

WHAT ARE YOUR EXPECTATIONS THIS YEAR? “I expect everything out of myself. You look at the reason that I made this move is that I want to make the next step in my career and the next step is to win races and make the Chase. I was 13th spot when the Chase started last year; I was one out. You look at what the team (Penske Racing) did last year by putting both cars in the Chase. And Shell/Pennzoil, the drivers they’ve had in their race car to me are race-winning and race-championship guys. My expectation is on myself. When it comes to people outside of that, they have their own expectations. For me, it all comes from within and that’s winning races and making the Chase. As the season goes on, you have to see where your organization is at and maybe those expectations change. Sitting here right now, anything less than winning races and making the Chase is a disappointment.”

CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THE DAYTONA 500? “There is so much that goes into it. We’re still all wondering how the race is going to play out. Big pack? Tandem? I think the good thing is that if it’s a tandem, my teammate Brad and I worked really well together at the test and focused on what we wanted and how to work together. Our cars are fast. Dodge, with all the resources going into our race cars, we had good stuff. I think we’ll have speed, it just matters how the race plays out. I think that if we can work together, going through the Shootout, Duels and getting into the 500, then we’ll have a pretty good idea on how the racing is going to be. More than anything else, I was excited about how Brad and I worked together. If we can do that, whether it’s a tandem or pack, if we can stick together as a group, we have a chance to being up front at the end of the race.”

DO YOU ALLOW YOURSELF TO THINK WHAT IT WOULD BE LIKE TO WIN THE DAYTONA 500? “No. We’re way too early to think about that.”

DO YOU HAVE A FANTASY OF HOW WINNING THE DAYTONA 500 WOULD BE? “I go to bed every night coming off Turn 4 and making the pass on whomever for the win and going into Victory Lane. It’s all a fantasy until it becomes a reality. There are so many steps that go into a 500 race around this place and so much that can happen. I almost think that you take it every 10 laps of the race. With 20 to go, you’re seeing how your car is; all the fenders and all the pieces still on it and then you start to figure out where you need to be the last couple of laps. That’s what makes this place fun.”

Credit - Dodge Racing PR

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