“This year is no different than the years before,” said Allmendinger. “I’ve won the Showdown before and we can win it again. We’ve had fast cars all year long; we just haven’t had the luck we’ve needed. We’re bound to change the luck soon and maybe it’ll come when there are no points on the line.
“We’ll definitely have a good shot to win the thing and advance; I do not doubt that at all. We know how to race these 40 laps and how it can play out. It’s all about being at the right place at the right time. Qualifying is huge and figuring out what to do after the first 20-lap segment is the big thing in having a shot to win it.
“We still have a good shot at it I think with the fan support and the fan vote as a backup plan,” Dinger added. “One thing’s for sure and that’s the fact that we’ll have our sweet, great-looking old-school yellow Pennzoil color scheme on our Dodge Charger again this weekend.” (It’s the same color scheme that was on the car in the March 11 Las Vegas race.)
Allmendinger has raced in five prior editions of the Sprint Showdown, taking the win in the 2008 race and advancing on to the Sprint All-Star Race. In his five prior Showdowns, Dinger has one win, two top-five finishes and four top-10s. He started 22nd and finished 17th in the 2008 All-Star Race. He started second and finished fourth in last year’s Showdown. Dinger has a 6.4 average start and an 8.8 average finish in the Showdown. Most impressive is that he has finished every possible lap (300/300) in his Showdown and All Star races.
Crew chief Todd Gordon is really looking forward to Saturday night’s non-points Sprint Cup competition. He is optimistic about his team’s performance on the 1.5-mile Charlotte Motor Speedway quad-oval.
“It’s going to be a lot of fun without the stress of having the points on the line,” said Gordon. “I’m very optimistic about our chances and I think we can run very well there. I really like the two-20-lap-segment race format. It’ll be really interesting to see how it goes. Through the season, we have shown so much strength in the short runs.”
“Even though it wouldn’t help us in points, to win there on Saturday night would be great for our Shell-Pennzoil Dodge Team,” Gordon said. “It would be huge for our confidence level – for AJ, for me and for the entire No. 22 Penske team. Success of that type would be something great to build off of and a stepping stone for the future, I believe.”
Allmendinger, Gordon and crew will be racing their “PRS-815” Pennzoil Dodge Charger this weekend at Charlotte. In its only time out, Dinger put it on the outside pole and finished 17th in the March Bristol race. In that race, Dinger led 54 laps in the early going and showed potential winning strength before a suspension part failed. The “PRS-814” chassis will serve as the backup. It is a new Dodge Charger and has yet to make it onto a race track.
This weekend’s Sprint Showdown/Sprint All-Star Race weekend gets under way on Thursday night (May 17) with the NASCAR Sprint Pit Crew Challenge set for 7:00 p.m. at Time Warner Cable Arena (broadcast on SPEED-TV at 9:00 p.m. EDT). The action shifts to the 1.5-mile Charlotte Motor Speedway on Friday with Showdown practice set for 12:00 noon till 1:35 p.m. and All-Star Practice from 1:35 p.m. till 3:00 p.m. Qualifying on Friday evening at 5:00 will set the field for Saturday night’s Showdown. Qualifying at 6:00 p.m. for the ALL-Star Race will feature the unique format of three laps under the clock with a four-tire pit stop thrown into the equation. Saturday’s Sprint Showdown (20 laps/20 laps) begins at 7:30 p.m., with the top-two finishers and winner of the special Sprint “fan vote” advancing to the All-Star Race. The Sprint All-Star Race will begin at approximately 9:00 p.m. This year’s exciting battle consists of four 20-lap segments, concluding with a 10-lap sprint and a $1 million payout to the race winner. This year's format will place a higher premium for drivers who win one of the four segments, however, as the winners of the first four segments will move to the front of the field and line up 1-4 prior to the field coming to pit road for the final mandatory pit stop. Live coverage will be provided by SPEED-TV and MRN Radio.
Credit - Penske Racing PR