Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Charlotte Notes of Interest

--AJ Allmendinger and his Todd Gordon-led Penske Racing No. 22 Team will be racing their “PRS-825” Shell-Pennzoil Dodge Charger in this weekend’s Coca-Cola 600 action at Charlotte Motor Speedway. This is a brand new car in the No. 22 Penske Racing Team stable of Dodge Chargers. 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.

--Shell-Pennzoil Dodge driver AJ Allmendinger knows what to expect in Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600. The 600-mile, 400-lap battle at CMS is the longest race on the NASCAR Sprint Cup schedule. Some consider it NASCAR version of an endurance race. “It’s the toughest race we run in NASCAR and you really want to give it your very best lap after lap,” Allmendinger said. “The race is 400 laps around a mile-and-a-half track and it’s a challenge to stay on top of the changing track conditions. The crew has to be on their game, making the right adjustments and giving you great pit stops. It’s definitely a case of putting a complete race together.”

--Shell-Pennzoil Dodge driver AJ Allmendinger has enjoyed recent success on the 1.5-mile CMS quad-oval track and hopes to keep it going in this weekend’s Coca-Cola 600. He was quite impressive there last weekend, claiming the pole for the Sprint Showdown (lap of 28.057 seconds/192.465 mph) and charging back to finish second after having a flat tire just as the field was coming to the green. “Obviously running 600 miles is a lot different than last weekend’s 40-lap Sprint Showdown and the segments that made up 90 laps in the All Star Race,” Dinger said. “But based on the way we ran last weekend, I think it’s safe to say that we are very capable of having success at Charlotte this weekend and in our 1.5-mile program in general. I really think we learned a lot of things about the car last weekend that we can apply to this weekend’s race.”

--Shell-Pennzoil Dodge crew chief Todd Gordon said it is correct to label Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600 as an “endurance race,” but maybe not for the reasons you might think. “It’s an endurance race, but it’s a different kind of endurance than it was years ago,” Gordon said. “The cars, engines and chassis components we are racing today can withstand 600 miles of hard racing. The endurance factor now is a matter of staying on top of the changing track conditions throughout the race. We start the race just after six o’clock and race on into the night. The team that wins will have endured all the mood swings throughout the race and will have been able to make the right adjustments.”

--Shell-Pennzoil Dodge crew chief Todd Gordon said the additional 100 miles in Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600 can be a test of a driver’s staying power. “That’s one thing that we never have to worry about,” said Gordon. “AJ is in the greatest physical condition possible. He knows how to prepare for these races, eating the right things and staying hydrated. If it comes down to the final 100 miles and stamina comes into play, AJ will be one of the strongest guys out there.”

--Shell-Pennzoil Dodge driver AJ Allmendinger had the third-best average finish in the two 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup races at Charlotte Motor Speedway (a 6.0 average finish). Only Kevin Harvick (3.5) and then-teammate Marcos Ambrose (5.5) had better average finishes. No driver had a better average starting spot. Dinger had a 3.0 average starting position in 2011 CMS Sprint Cup action. Carl Edwards also had a 3.0 average start, while Jimmie Johnson was third (7.5).

--Shell-Pennzoil Dodge driver AJ Allmendinger recalled his run to the fifth-place finish in last year’s Coca-Cola 600. Harvick came home the winner in the race after Dale Earnhardt Jr. ran out of fuel in the fourth turn on the final lap. Jimmie Johnson’s blown engine in the waning laps forced a green-white-checkered finish and extended the distance to 402 laps (603 miles). “Our fuel mileage wasn’t that good, so that whole last run we were saving,” AJ said. “It was funny because the fuel numbers kept changing because we were 10 laps short, then we were two laps short, and then we were gonna run out coming to the checkered. At that point, I was happy when it stayed green and we made it on fuel. On that last restart we came in and were just hanging out that point. We just hoped we didn’t get into guys that were running out of fuel. I had a great restart and split the middle. The 31 (Jeff Burton) just completely ran out and the 99 (Carl Edwards) got into him. I checked up and it was pretty insane.”

--In 10 career Sprint Cup starts at Charlotte, Shell-Pennzoil Dodge driver Allmendinger has one top-five finish, two top-10s and one DNF. He has completed 89.263 percent of possible laps (3,126 of 3,502) and has led a total of 11 laps. Overall, he has a 21.5 average start and an identical 21.5 average finish.

Credit - Penske Racing PR

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