Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Dover Notes of Interest

--AJ Allmendinger and his Todd Gordon-led Penske Racing No. 22 Team will be racing their “PRS-817” Shell-Pennzoil Dodge Charger in this weekend’s FedEx 400 at Dover International Speedway. This chassis has been raced only once; in the March 25 Auto Club 400 at Fontana, Calif. Dinger started 25th and finished 15th in the rain-shortened race. The “PRS-807” will serve as the backup Dodge Charger.

--AJ Allmendinger and his Todd Gordon-led Penske Racing No. 22 Team are testing today (Tuesday) at Virginia International Raceway, the 3.27-mile road course located near Danville, Va. “We’re using the test at VIR in our preparation for Sonoma,” Gordon said. “AJ is a great road racer and we’re on a mission to help him get the win out there in the California Wine Country.”

--Shell-Pennzoil Dodge driver AJ Allmendinger doesn’t hesitate in naming Dover International Speedway as his favorite track along the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series tour. To say that Dinger is looking forward to getting back to the high-banked “Monster Mile” for this weekend’s FedEx 400 Benefiting Autism Speaks would be an understatement. “I love going to Dover and really look forward to getting back there for this weekend’s race,” Dinger said. “It’s my favorite track on the circuit. It has high banks, it’s really fast and I’ve had a lot of success there over the years. It’s always been my favorite track since I started racing in the Cup Series in 2007. Plus, Dover has one of the greatest trophies of the season, so it’s one I really want to take home.” (Dinger is referring to the “Miles the Monster” trophy, a miniature version of the 46-foot Monster Monument that stands in “Victory Plaza” behind the main grandstand area.)

--What is so appealing about racing at Dover International Speedway to Shell-Pennzoil Dodge driver AJ Allmendinger? “I think it is a fun race track to drive and I think there are a lot of things you can do on the race track to get around it and run pretty fast,” Dinger said. “I have always had a fairly good car there, especially the last couple of years which makes it easier. To me, I just show up to the race track and I am excited to be there. I just genuinely like the race track and think when you are able to do that you can go there and have a good attitude about it and be pretty fast.”

--Inasmuch as Shell-Pennzoil Dodge driver AJ Allmendinger enjoys racing at Dover, it’s easy to analyze his record there and see that he and the “Monster Mile” have a great relationship going entering this weekend. Of the 341 total laps Dinger has led in his NASCAR Sprint Cup career, almost half of them (152 or 44.575 percent) have been recorded at Dover.

--Shell-Pennzoil Dodge driver AJ Allmendinger recalled the first time he visited Dover International Speedway: “It was the trucks in 2007 before Cup practice started,” Dinger said. “We were standing on pit road and my crew chief told me not to look at any of the trucks coming off turn four and I said, “Why, I need to learn.’ Me, being done said I was going to look and Hornaday came off turn four the first time and it looked like the tires weren’t even touching the ground and he was sideways and I was like, ‘I am not doing that. I am leaving.’ It is an insane race track but it is all those characteristics that make it so much fun.”

--Shell-Pennzoil Dodge driver AJ Allmendinger describes the thrill of racing at Dover International Speedway: “It is pretty insane, especially to go into turn one,” Dinger said. “It feels like the bottom drops out from under you. It seems like it disappears when you take off and once it lands it is like a punch to the guy. When it compresses, it compresses so hard. It feels like you honestly drop 50 feet in the air and land. The biggest thing is to have a good balance when it does land that the car isn’t moving around at all and isn’t tight or loose. You want it to land nice and smooth and have the confidence to get it turned and get back to throttle, especially in qualifying. In the race you lay the corner back so much that the bottom, when it lands, is not as critical. In qualifying you are so fast that once you land you have to be back in the throttle.”

--After 164 career Cup starts, Shell-Pennzoil Dodge driver AJ Allmendinger still points to the September 2010 AAA 400 as the “big one that got away.” “I led 143 laps in that race and I had a car that was capable of winning until a flat tire took me out of contention on Lap 200,” Dinger recalled. “That was the first race where I really felt like I could easily take the lead and I could run with the big boys. We ended up finishing 10th because of the flat tire, but it was still a great race because it was a sign that I could run with anyone. It was really cool to take the lead and just drive away. It gave me confidence that if we have the car, we can definitely get the job done at Dover.”

--Shell-Pennzoil Dodge crew chief Todd Gordon is equally as enthusiastic in seeing the Sprint Cup Series head to Dover. “AJ has identified Dover as his personal favorite track ever since our first conversations between driver and crew chief. I could tell from the Goodyear test we did there back in April that he loves racing there. When you consider his fondness for racing there and the success the 22 car had there in winning last fall’s race, we’re all hoping for a successful race weekend there.”

--Shell-Pennzoil Dodge crew chief Todd Gordon likes his team’s chances for a great performance in Sunday’s FedEx 400 at Dover International Speedway: “Based on the Goodyear testing, I felt like we had a really good balance. We were able to get in several 40-lap runs and I felt like we would have a great shot at winning against all those teams there at the test (including Martin Truex Jr., Kevin Harvick, Ryan Newman, Kurt Busch and Marcos Ambrose). The only question mark now would be considering the new skirt package we are working with. The bottom line, though, is that Dover is a track where AJ expects to do well on and that’s the feeling of our entire Shell-Pennzoil Dodge Team. The driver is going in there with a great level of confidence and so is everyone on our No. 22 Penske Racing team.”

--In 10 career Sprint Cup starts at Dover International Speedway, Shell-Pennzoil Dodge driver AJ Allmendinger is still looking for his first career win and top-five finish there, but he does have three top-10 finishes to date. He was running at the finish in eight of the races and finished on the lead lap four times. He has completed 83.1 percent of possible laps (3,324 of 4,000). He has led 152 laps at Dover, the most he has led at any track. Overall, Dinger has a 13.7 average start and 23.3 average finish at Dover.

Credit - Penske Racing PR

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