Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Pre-Bristol Notes of Interest

--AJ Allmendinger and his Todd Gordon-led Penske Racing No. 22 Team will be racing their “PRS-815” Shell-Pennzoil Dodge Charger in this weekend’s Food City 500 action at Bristol Motor Speedway. This is a brand new car and Friday’s opening practice will be the first time it has been on a race track. The “PRS-807” is the backup Dodge Charger for the “Double-Deuce” team. It was in the transporter serving as the backup at Phoenix, but has never seen any track time.

--Las Vegas issue update: “The problem our cars had was related to the fuel pump,” said Shell-Pennzoil Dodge crew chief Todd Gordon on Monday night. “We brought back all the components we could on the team plane on Sunday night, so that our guys could get going on resolving the issue as soon as possible. I am confident they will have it figured out and we won’t have it happen again.”

--Shell-Pennzoil Dodge driver AJ Allmendinger and his Todd Gordon-led No. 22 Penske Racing team tested today (Tuesday) at “Little Rock,” the 0.526-mile short track behind the backstretch at Rockingham Speedway. They tested with their “PRS-806” Dodge Charger, the same car used in testing at Disney last month. “Just doing a little testing in preparation for Martinsville,” crew chief Gordon said of the upcoming Goody’s Fast Relief 500 on April 1.

--Several of the racing greats have done “it” at Bristol Motor Speedway through the years and certainly Shell-Pennzoil Dodge driver AJ Allmendinger would love to add his name to that list. But Dinger is quick to point out that his team is entering this weekend’s Food City 500 with realistic goals and expectations. (Please see much more on this subject in this week’s advance).

--Shell-Pennzoil Dodge driver AJ Allmendinger on Bristol Motor Speedway: “It’s one of my favorite places. It was the first race I ever made in the Sprint Cup Series, so it has some meaning for me. Once you get to Bristol, for me at least, you kind of see where your short track program is at. It’s a tough place to learn. It’s a tough place to race. I loved the place when I showed up to it. I still do and I’m always excited to come to Bristol.

“We’ve had times where we were really fast here and something goes wrong, and I think that’s probably the most difficult thing is you can have a great race car all day, you can do all the right things and just one bad move by you or one bad move by somebody else completely takes you out. There’s not a lot of room for error, where you can save a race car, or, if you get turned, you’re not gonna get wrecked. It’s a tough place and when they re-did it, both corners look the same, but there is just a little bit different ends on both sides. One and two kind of gets tighter in the center, but it seems like on the exit it seems like it opens up just a little bit more for whatever reason. Three and four doesn’t seem as tight right at the center, but right off of four it gets really narrow.

“Getting a good balance is so important at Bristol. It’s very temperature sensitive. Although it’s concrete, it seems like just the way the rubber builds up on the race track is real critical, so it’s a tough place to set up for and you continually have to adjust throughout the race.”

--In Shell-Pennzoil Dodge driver AJ Allmendinger’’s nine career starts at BMS entering this weekend, he is still chasing his first top-10 finish. He has an average start of 24.2 and an average start of 28.1. Dinger has completed 94.1 percent (4,240 of 4,507) of possible laps and has been running at the finish in all nine races.

Just as he has done throughout his Sprint Cup career, Dinger has shown steady progress at Bristol. His first career start back in April 2007 reflects a 43rd-place start and a 40th-place finish. He was running at the finish, but was 91 laps down. In the series’ most recent visit last August, Dinger started 18th and finished 12th, his best BMS finish to date.

“Every time I race at Bristol, I learn a little bit more about how I need to drive it and what I need to make the car better to drive it right,” Dinger offered. “It’s just a good overall balance. You need to be maybe just a tick tight, but you can’t be too tight. You definitely need the back end in the race track through the center and up off the corner.”

Credit - Penske Racing PR

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