Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Richmond Notes of Interest

--AJ Allmendinger and his Todd Gordon-led Penske Racing No. 22 Team will be racing their “PRS-808” Shell-Pennzoil Dodge Charger this weekend at Richmond. The team raced the car earlier this season at Phoenix. In that race Dinger started 15th and was involved in an early-race incident that tore the entire back deck lid off the car. He was able to salvage an 18th-place finish out of the day. The “PRS-807” is the backup Dodge Charger for the “Double-Deuce” team. It was in the transporter serving as the backup at Phoenix, Bristol and Martinsville, but has never seen any track time to date. “This will mark the first time this season that we’re not racing a new chassis,” offered crew chief Gordon. “But, with the great job our Penske guys do back in the fab shop, it’ll be just like a brand new car we’ll unload at Richmond.”

--Shell-Pennzoil Dodge crew chief Todd Gordon offers follow-up explanation on Sunday’s race at Kansas. Dinger started on the pole and led 44 laps before secondary throttle-body linkage issues took their toll. Here’s Todd’s update: “Just like a carburetor works, with two linkages – one that initiates the two-barrel function and a secondary that sets in the four-barrel – it was the secondary linkage that failed. We have such a precise check-list for our pre-race preparation here at Penske Racing that the (No.) 2 team (Paul Wolfe-led Brad Keselowski’s Miller Lite Dodge) actually replaced theirs before the race. So, it was definitely identified as something to look closely at. We had three of our guys give it their okay, so we have no doubt that it was a parts failure.”

--Shell-Pennzoil Dodge driver AJ Allmendinger is looking forward to getting back to short-track racing at Richmond International Raceway this weekend and that’s easily understood. Allmendinger has scored two top-10 finishes in his 10 career races at RIR and both of them came during the last three battles there. Dinger finished eighth in the fall race of 2010 and bounced back to finish seventh (his best finish to date on the track) in last year’s spring race. He was close to making it three consecutive top-10s last September, but had to settle with an 11th-place tally.

--Shell-Pennzoil Dodge driver AJ Allmendinger on racing at Richmond: “Richmond is such a unique track. We don’t really race anywhere else quite like it. It's fun because it’s such tight racing and you are always full on. It's also really cool to do Saturday night short track racing under the lights. The crowd is so awesome. It gets me really pumped up to race.”

--Shell-Pennzoil Dodge crew chief Todd Gordon won his first career Coors Light Pole Award as a NASCAR Sprint Cup crew chief last weekend at Kansas. His take: “It was a big thrill to win the pole at Kansas last weekend, but like I told them there, we don’t need to get all wrapped up in that,” Gordon said. “It’s what you have accomplished at the end of the race day that really matters. The pole was nice, but seeing how strong we can be there at the beginning of the Kansas race is what I’m thrilled about. We led the entire first fuel run and AJ showed that he is ready to run up front. We just have to take it and build on it.”

--Shell-Pennzoil Dodge driver AJ Allmendinger has now led 99 laps after eight races have been put into the 2012 record book. That ranks him 12th in laps led this season among all drivers and is almost twice as many circuits on the point as he had during the entire 2011 season.

--Shell-Pennzoil Dodge driver AJ Allmendinger dropped from 19th to 23rd in the NASCAR Sprint Cup points after Sunday’s 32nd-place finish at Kansas. He is currently 65 points out of 10th and 32 points out of 15th. He is two points out of 20th. “This (weekend’s Richmond race) is a race that AJ and I have talked about quite a bit since getting together,” said crew chief Todd Gordon. “He really likes Richmond and his record shows that he can certainly get around the track. We’re looking at Kansas as just a little bump in the road as far as the points go. It’s so tight that we can easily bounce back strong with a good run at Richmond on Saturday night.”

--AJ Allmendinger and his Todd Gordon-led Penske Racing No. 22 Team also have road course testing at Road Atlanta (May 15) and Virginia International Raceway (May 29) on tap. Test days are on the calendar for Michigan (June 14), as well as testing at the Milwaukee Mile (June 26).

--Shell-Pennzoil Dodge driver AJ Allmendinger is quick to say that the short tracks, the one-mile ovals and the road courses are his favorite races along the 36-race NASCAR Sprint Cup tour. Dinger was asked at a hospitality function last weekend at Kansas what kind of track he’d build if he could do so and add it to the Cup schedule. “It’d be a short track; a one-mile track or shorter,” he told the crowd gathered in the fan area behind the grandstands at the 1.5-mile intermediate facility. “I’d build another short track, that’s for sure. Maybe another Richmond…that’d be fun. Or another road course; I like the road courses.”

--In 10 career starts at Richmond entering this weekend, Shell-Pennzoil Dodge driver AJ Allmendinger is still looking for his first win and first top-five finish. He has posted two top-10s, with the most recent coming in the 2011 spring race. That seventh-place finish rates as AJ’s best result to date. He has an 18.2 average start and a 22.4 average finish at RIR. He has a 94.514 lap completion average (3,790 of 4,010 laps) with one DNF.

Credit - Penske Racing PR

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