Friday, October 26, 2012

Martinsville II Qualifying Quotes

AJ Allmendinger, No. 51 Phoenix Construction Chevrolet
Qualified 26th

ON HIS QUALIFYING RUN: “We struggled today a little bit. The whole day has been kind of messed up. We have really been struggling with some brake trouble. The guys are working hard. I think in race trim, it’s not as bad as the outright speed in qualifying trim. We’ll just keep working hard. We’ve got two practices tomorrow. I started 29th here in the first race here and finished second so we will be alright and good to go.”

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Martinsville II Race Preview

Despite the fact that Dale Earnhardt Jr. will be back in his #88 Hendrick Motorsports ride this weekend which once again leaves Regan Smith available, AJ Allmendinger got the call to get behind the wheel of the #51 Phoenix Racing Chevrolet this Sunday at Martinsville Speedway. The final decision was announced Tuesday morning so the team could prepare their car for this weekend's short track event.

AJ's last run at Martinsville was a huge success with his career best finish of 2nd place after a late race wreck jumbled up the front half of the field. When the race restarted for the final time AJ had the opportunity to try the short track bump and run on leader Ryan Newman in order to win, but chose to race him cleanly. A lot of people felt like AJ should have done anything to get his first win, but AJ went on record as saying that he would rather take a clean 2nd place finish.

This will be AJ's 3rd race with Phoenix Racing. So far he has finished 24th and 35th at Charlotte and Kansas respectively, but he ran better than he finished at both tracks. Let's hope that this Sunday ends that streak and the team is fortunate enough to get the good finish that they're capable of.

Weekend Schedule:
Friday, October 26
12:00 - 1:30 pm NSCS practice (SPEED Channel)
3:40 pm NSCS Qualifying (SPEED Channel)

Saturday, October 27
9:30 - 10:25 am NSCS practice (SPEED Channel)
12:00 - 12:55 pm NSCS practice (SPEED Channel)
Sunday, October 28
11:30 am Drivers' Meeting
1:00 pm Driver introductions
1:30 pm NSCS TUMS Fast Relief 500 race (ESPN)

Monday, October 22, 2012

Kansas II Race Recap

AJ Allmendinger’s weekend in Kansas started early as the NASCAR Sprint Cup teams came to town for testing on Wednesday and Thursday prior to the official race event. Driving for the Phoenix Racing team in the #51 Chevrolet, AJ started off quick by posting 13th and 15th on the board in the two test sessions.
The #51 Phoenix Racing Chevy continued to be fast as the race weekend officially started with a 9th place run in the 1st practice followed by a qualifying effort of 13th. Saturday was a continuation of the strong runs with a 9th place and 14th place in the two practice sessions.
With AJ being in the top 15 in every practice and test session at Kansas, expectations were high for Sunday’s race. And AJ delivered as he started 13th and did nothing but march forward throughout the early laps of the race. By lap 40 AJ had cracked the top 10, and just 7 laps later he was up to 5th position. He then slid back to 6th place and settled in that spot for 20 more laps before a blown right front tire ended his race.
After being released from the care center AJ talked to the media about the wreck and what it has been like driving for James Finch and Phoenix Racing.

AJ Allmendinger, No. 51 Phoenix Construction Chevrolet
Finished 35th

“It was getting tight the last couple of laps, but I just thought that was how the race track was going. I had that for the first run. Then I went in turn one, and felt it get really tight. I actually radioed in and said ‘I’m pitting this lap’. I tried to checkup down the back straightaway and try to save it and make sure it didn’t blow. Unfortunately it did. I just feel bad for everybody at Phoenix Racing. James Finch; Hendrick horsepower. The car was really fast. We were running so well. I thought we could have an easy top-10, if not a top-five. Just so disappointed. These guys work so hard. This small group of guys, they’ve been through so much this year. They work their butts off. I really enjoyed it. I hope I’m in the car next week. I don’t know, but if not, James Finch, everybody at Chevy, Hendrick giving me this opportunity. It has meant the world to get back in this sport. I love this sport, and I hope I’m back next week. But if not, I thank James, Steve Barkdoll and everybody for what they’ve done.”

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Kansas II Qualifying Report

AJ Allmendinger, NO. 51 Phoenix Construction Chevrolet
Qualified 13th

“It was pretty good. This place is really fast right now so when you are in practice you kind of get that rhythm of going out there. We have been fighting just a little bit tight in practice. I got down into (turns) one and two and got right along the (white) line and it just got me a little free so I had to pedal it just for a second. When the speeds are this high if you pedal it just a little bit you lose a little bit of time. I’m happy overall so far - the whole week has been really good. As a driver you always want a little bit more, but that should I think keep us right inside the top-15 which will be good for us and we will try to get it good for 400 miles.”

“I think it’s got out right speed so far the whole weekend. I think the speed is there, but the biggest thing is the fact that as you keep going out there on tires you keep getting quicker. Nobody has really gone out there on new tires and just run a ton. I think we will be alright. We definitely have good speed and track position is going to be everything so it’s the way that is going to play out. All of us have to be smart and not make any mistakes. I think if we can do that we can have a solid top 15 if not better on Sunday.”

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Kansas II Race Preview

This Sunday at Kansas Speedway will mark AJ Allmendinger’s 2nd start in the NASCAR Cup series after being reinstated by the sanctioning body in September. It will also be his 2nd start in the #51 Phoenix Racing Chevrolet owned by James Finch.
Last Saturday night at Charlotte AJ was able to garner a 24th place finish for the Phoenix Racing team even after having to serve a penalty under green flag conditions for an uncontrolled tire during the prior pit stop. But most importantly, AJ finished the race with the car intact and had a solid top-20 run going before having to serve the pass-thru penalty.
The hopes and expectations for Sunday’s race in the Kansas heartland are much the same as they were last Saturday night. For AJ to get as much speed as he can out of the #51 machine while making sure to finish every lap of the race. The team and driver have much to learn about each other, but fortunately have two extra days to work together prior to this weekend’s racing event. Due to the reconfiguration of the race track, NASCAR is allowing the Spring Cup teams to get some extra practice on Wednesday and Thursday.
AJ is no stranger to finding speed at the Kansas racetrack. In April of this year he sat on the pole and led the first 44 laps while driving the #22 for Penske Racing. A fuel injection problem brought an end to the dominant performance in the early part of the race, however. Prior to the 2012 Spring race AJ’s best finish was 9th at the track.
Phoenix Racing had a good showing at Kansas in April also. Kurt Busch qualified the #51 Chevy 14th on the grid and brought it home in 17th place. The reconfiguration of the track will be new for all the drivers and should even the playing field. With two extra days of practice there are high hopes that the Phoenix Racing team will have another successful outing with AJ behind the wheel.
Testing runs from 2-6pm/et on Wednesday and 9:30-12:30pm/et on Thursday. The weekend events start at 12:30pm/et on Friday with the first scheduled practice. Qualifying coverage will start at 5:00pm/et on ESPN2. There are two rounds of practice scheduled for Saturday: 11:00-11:50am/et and 1:50-2:50pm/et. The race will be broadcast on ESPN with pre-race ceremonies starting at 2:00pm/et on Sunday.

Photo courtesy @PhoenixRacing51

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Charlotte II Race Recap

AJ Allmendinger was back in NASCAR Sprint Cup action this weekend, making his first Cup start since June. Returning to work after completing the NASCAR Road To Recovery program, Allmendinger joined Phoenix Racing in the Bank of America 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Saturday night.

After the team rallied to make last minute adjustments and outfit the No. 51 Phoenix Construction Chevrolet to fit the new driver, Allmendinger was back in the swing of things as he showed encouraging pace in the opening practice sessions.

While his enthusiasm for entry speed cost him on his Thursday night qualifying run and he had to settle for 38th on the grid, Allmendinger knew he had a solid car underneath him. With 500 miles to run and a clear focus on just getting the most out of the weekend, Allmendinger approached the Bank of America 500 as a chance to get back into the grove over the course of a long race on his adopted home track.

After starting 38th, Allmendinger quickly worked his way up to the mid-twenties, staying on the lead lap with his Smiley-Faced Phoenix Construction Chevrolet deep into the night. A late-race pit road procedural penalty saw him losing time to the leaders as he had to make the long, slow way down pit lane at a crawling penalty pace before returning to the pack at full speed.

But despite all the variables that come with working with a new car, a new crew chief, and a whole lot of new faces, Allmendinger focused on his job to bring the Phoenix Construction car home in 24th place.

"It was great to get back into a Cup car, and I just want to thank James Finch and everyone at Phoenix Racing for giving me this opportunity--I'm really grateful," said Allmendinger. "I was hoping I could have repaid that favor with a little bit stronger finish. But it was great to get back in the car and compete again. It was a solid weekend all around despite everything coming together so quickly. I want to also thank everyone who has been so supportive through this entire process. It meant a lot, and now we are all focused on building on this and looking forward to whatever comes next."

Credit -