Thursday, April 19, 2012

Kansas Notes of Interest

--AJ Allmendinger and his Todd Gordon-led Penske Racing No. 22 Team will be racing their new “PRS-823” AAA Dodge Charger this weekend at Kansas. The “PRS-814” is the backup Dodge Charger for the “Double-Deuce” team. It was in the transporter serving as the backup at Las Vegas, Fontana and last weekend at Texas, but has never seen any track time.

--With almost half the 2012 NASCAR Spring Cup schedule being contested on the 1.5-mile oval tracks, AAA Dodge driver AJ Allmendinger certainly recognizes those races’ importance as far as the big picture goes. “I’ve always said that the short tracks, the one-mile tracks and the road courses rate as my personal favorites,” Dinger offered. “But with us running so many races on the intermediate tracks, you have to accept the fact that you have to get all you can out of each of those races. It was Texas last weekend and we’re headed into another race on those tracks at Kansas this weekend.”

--AAA Dodge driver AJ Allmendinger on this weekend’s STP 400 at Kansas Speedway: “We’ve had some pretty strong runs there – a couple of top-10s – and have a decent record there. We’re coming in hoping to put together a solid weekend with a good qualifying effort on Saturday and a really competitive run on Sunday. (Kansas is) another track where we are looking for our first top-five finish. As always, the goal is to win it. If that’s not possible, then you shoot for a top-five or a top-10. But, just like at all these races, it’s so key to come out of there with everything that you can get. It’s so important to take a day where things aren’t going as well as you’d like and maximizing those days.”

--AAA Dodge crew chief Todd Gordon said last weekend’s 15th-place finish at Texas was an indication of his team “building forward.” “We finished 15th at Texas and advanced (up to 19th in points),” said Gordon. “The important thing is that we persevered through less than ideal conditions and we advanced. We started off tight, knowing that the track would turn more toward the loose side when the sun went down and it cooled off. We did the best job we could with our adjustments, but the car had such incredible mood swings from tight to loose and back to tight again. The most important thing was that we hung on and made a decent night out of a frustrating race. With only two cautions during the entire race, it was a huge challenge. AJ was able to keep logging those laps with an ill-handling car and keep on our pit schedule and we got all we could out of it there on Saturday night. That’s the common trait about all the top teams in our sport. When you are having a bad night, you are still able to salvage a decent finish out of it. That was definitely the case for our 22 team out there last weekend.”

--AAA Dodge crew chief Todd Gordon weighs in on the prospects for the upcoming weekend at Kansas: “AJ said at the beginning of the year that he felt like this kind of track was not one of his strong points. It’s been strange in that we’ve been able to run surprisingly well on those types of tracks this season and we’re hoping that trend continues this weekend at Kansas. Unlike at Texas, all of our practice comes in the daylight and the race is on Sunday afternoon, so it won’t be as much of a guessing game. The winds we were fighting there probably were as bad as we’ll see all year long. I am really looking forward to it. As for me personally, I love racing at Kansas. This will be my first race there in Cup, but we sure had a great weekend there last fall in the Nationwide Series.” (Gordon served as Brad Keselowski’s crew chief in last October’s Kansas Lottery 300. In that race, Keselowski started second and led 173 of 200 laps en route to the victory. It ranked as possibly the most dominating performance during the entire season.) We just need to continue to build forward. That’s what we’ve been doing in recent races and definitely what we did at Texas. That’s what we have to continue to do at Kansas this week and on down the line.”

--In five career starts at Kansas, AAA Dodge driver AJ Allmendinger is still looking for his first win and top-five finish. He has scored two top-10s. Dinger has an average start of 21.4 and average finish of 17.6 at Kansas. He has completed 99.8 percent of possible laps (1,337 of 1,340…only three unfinished laps). Dinger is still looking to lead his first lap at Kansas.

--AJ Allmendinger and his Todd Gordon-led No. 22 Penske Racing Dodge Team will be incredibly busy between races for the next few months. On the schedule is a tire test at Dover today and Wednesday (April 17-18), along with road course testing at Road Atlanta (May 15) and Virginia International Raceway (May 29). Test days are on the calendar for Pocono (June 6-7) and Michigan (June 14), as well as testing at the Milwaukee Mile (June 26).

Credit - Penske Racing PR

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