A.J. Allmendinger Finishes 13th But It Could Have Been Worse

A.J. Allmendinger from Los Gatos, CA.
AJ Allmendinger, from Los Gatos, CA, the driver of the No. 43 Best Buy Ford Fusion came home to Northern California to race on Sunday at Infineon Raceway. It was a tough race with a lot of “beatin & bangin” so he was pleased to come out with a 13th place finish. Here is the report on the race from Richard Petty Motorsports.

• AJ Allmendinger started in the seventh position Sunday afternoon at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, California
• Allmendinger finished the 110-lap race in the 13th position
• Unofficially, Allmendinger sits in 15th place in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver point standings

Race Summary: AJ Allmendinger lined up for the start of the season’s first road course event in the seventh place. As soon as the green flag waved for the start of the 224-mile race at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif., Allmendinger began his charge toward the front of the pack. By the time the field came
around to complete the first lap, Allmendinger had driven the Best Buy Ford Fusion into the top five.

Early radio communication between driver and crew was that the Richard Petty Motorsports Ford needed more rear grip. Crew Chief Mike Shiplett called for air pressure and wedge adjustments during the first pit stop of the day, which came on Lap 21 of the 110-lap race. Allmendinger remained in the top 10 throughout the first half of the event but lost some ground after getting tagged by the No. 2 car and spun around on Lap 65. The San Jose, Calif. native fell to 22nd in the following laps and drove to the attention of his crew for a scheduled pit stop at Lap 75. Shiplett called for another wedge adjustment to the car in an effort to assist his driver with the handling of the machine.

The No. 43 Best Buy Ford driven by A.J. Allmendinger.
The No. 43 Best Buy Ford held down the 20th position when the yellow flag flew for an on-track incident involving the No. 14 car at Lap 88. During the ensuing extended caution period, Allmendinger relayed to Shiplett that the car was lacking side bite in the esses and rear grip. Shiplett called for the addition of a spring rubber in the right rear and four fresh tires during the Lap 89 pit stop. Allmendinger settled in for the restart in the 23rd spot.

Allmendinger began his charge to the front with 15 laps to go. One by one he picked off his competitors and with only 10 laps remaining in the race, had worked his way back into the top 15. Wheeling one of the fastest cars on the track in the closing laps, Allmendinger took the checkered flag in 13th place.

Allmendinger picked up two positions in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver point standings following the race in Sonoma. He now holds down 15th place heading to Daytona (Daytona Beach, Fla.) International Speedway next weekend.

Allmendinger’s Thoughts After the Race: “That was crazy just like always. The Best Buy Ford was pretty good, but from mid-race on we were kind of loose. Everybody was running into each other out there. I got into a couple guys and got them angry and then I had one guy dump me. I just tried to keep fighting. We are getting there. If we can get some luck on our side, we might actually be up front where we deserve to finish. It could have been a lot worse and 13th isn’t great, but it could have been a lot worse with 20 laps to go.”

Next Race Information
Date: July 2, 2011
Track: Daytona International Speedway (Daytona Beach, Florida)
Laps: 160 Laps/400 Miles
TV Information: 4:30 p.m. PT on TNT
Radio Information: 4:30 p.m. PT on MRN and Sirius Radio
Qualifying: Friday, July 1 at 1:10 p.m. PT on SPEED

To keep up to date on AJ’s latest stats please visit his driver page at www.racing-reference.info.

AJ Allmendinger Comes Home to Race At Infineon Raceway

As you know, we try to follow race car drivers from Northern California who compete in National Racing series. One of the most successful young drivers is Los Gatos native, A.J. Allmendinger, who drives the No. 43 Best Buy Ford for Richard Petty Motorsports. Here is a release from them about A.J. and Sunday’s race in Northern California.

A.J. Allmendinger and Richard Petty with the famous No. 43 cars.

Infineon Race Preview

AJ Allmendinger
No. 43 Best Buy Ford Fusion
• Allmendinger has made three starts at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, California.
• Allmendinger enters the race in 17th place in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver point standings
• Allmendinger’s best finish (seventh) at the track came in the 2009 event

Allmendinger on the Keys to Success in Sonoma: “My plan is to follow Marcos [teammate Marcos Ambrose] around (laughs). I’m going to try to do that most of the race and then pass him on the last lap, hopefully.

“No, in all seriousness, we’ll have to get the Best Buy Ford Fusion turning fairly good in the corner, but the biggest thing is you have to have forward drive off all the way through the esses. In 2009 we were pretty good there and we had good forward drive the whole time and it made passing pretty easy in Turn 11. Last year we didn’t have any forward drive and we were getting killed there. That’s the biggest thing, and like I said, just follow Marcos.”

Crew Chief Mike Shiplett’s Keys to Getting Around Sonoma: “You have to be able to keep good forward bite off the corner. You need good turn in the middle, but it’s more the forward bite off the corner that you need to concentrate on. Keeping all four wheels on the asphalt and not in the grass is also certainly something that is important. You also need to be getting good fuel mileage so you can open up your windows on pit stops and you have more choices of when you can and can’t pit.

“Qualifying is important, but there’s not a huge advantage for picking a pit stall on pit road because you don’t plan on coming down under a yellow flag condition on a road course race. You work the race backwards. Ideally, you want to be the first one on pit road after you are able to make it to the end of the race.”

A.J. Allmendinger from Los Gatos with his boss Richard Petty.

Chassis History: The No. 43 RPM team has prepared chassis No. 760 for this weekend’s event at Infineon Raceway. Though this weekend will mark the first time this particular car has been utilized this season. Allmendinger and the No. 43 team tested it several times at Virginia International Raceway.

Notes: Allmendinger has three NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts at Infineon Raceway. Allmendinger’s best starting position 15th at the 1.99-mile track came in last season’s event.

Allmendinger will head to Sonoma early to take part in a media luncheon at McCormick and Kuleto’s on Thursday afternoon. Several NASCAR drivers including California native, Allmendinger, will attend.

The No. 43 Best Buy Ford at Dover.
Richard Petty will be featured in Sonoma’s Legends of Racing program this weekend. Three of the biggest names in NASCAR history will be featured throughout the race weekend: The trio, which features Bobby Allison, Petty and Ned Jarrett, will be featured during a special Q&A session on race day, Sunday, June 26, during pre-event ceremonies.

On Saturday, June 25, following final practice, AJ will join members of his fan club in the Turn 10 tower suites at Infineon Raceway. Fans will have the opportunity to participate in a meet and greet/Q-and-A session with AJ as well as win some great prizes, including AJ gear, a GARMIN gps unit from Best Buy and a special grand prize. Space is still available at http://www.infineonraceway.com/ajfanclub/.

Visit the Richard Petty Motorsports website at www.richardpettymotorsports.com for up-to-date news and information about AJ Allmendinger, partner promotions and all things Richard Petty Motorsports.

Credit – Richard Petty Motorsports PR

Jeff Gordon Has An Unforgettable Weekend Ahead in Northern California

Jeff Gordon grew up in Vallejo, CA and has raced all over Northern California. At age 6, he raced quarter midgets and had 35 main event wins and set 5 track records. He even raced at the quarter midget track in Rio Linda know as the “Fastest Dirt Track in the West” by the Capitol Quarter Midget Association. Then at 13, Jeff and his family moved to Pittsboro, Indiana to race sprint cars. He says he always enjoys coming back home to NorCal to race and see old friends. Jeff Gordon also has a small part in the new movie Cars 2, that comes out Friday. Here is a release from his team on this weekend’s activities.

No matter the result of Sunday’s Toyota/Save Mart 350, this will be a memorable weekend for five-time Infineon Raceway winner Jeff Gorvette. Er, Jeff Gordon.

Gordon, a native of Vallejo, Calif., has a busy weekend planned. On Friday, he will practice and qualify the No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet at Infineon while also traveling the world as Jeff Gorvette — assisting buddies Lightning McQueen and Mater — in Disney- Pixar’s new release Cars2.

On Saturday after practice, Gordon and family will celebrate daughter Ella’s birthday (she turned four years old on June 20). On Sunday, the all-time leader in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series road course victories will attempt to reach double-digit wins at Infineon and Watkins Glen International combined.

Jeff Gordon grew up in Vallejo, California.

“There’s no doubt this is probably my favorite weekend of racing, regardless of what happens on the track,” said Gordon. “It’s just a magical time for me with my daughter’s birthday party, seeing my biological father and other family members, and seeing friends I went to elementary school with and raced with out here.

“It’s just a special weekend and it puts me in an incredibly positive frame of mind going into the race on Sunday.”

Along with five wins here, Gordon has five poles, 11 top-fives and 14 top-10’s in 18 starts. He has led 437 laps, which is 276 more laps than the nearest active competitor, Mark Martin. To put that in perspective, Martin could lead wire-to-wire in the next two events here and he would still trail Gordon by 56 laps in that category.

But the four-time NASCAR Cup Series champion has not led a lap here in four years, and the No. 24 team has worked hard to correct that.

“We’ve struggled on the road courses recently, and that’s not something we’re accustomed to,” said Gordon, who is 12th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series point standings. “It’s not something we like, so we tested at Mid-Ohio and have been working really hard to make improvements.”

“I’m hoping that test will get us closer to being more competitive this weekend.”

“This is a very challenging track. On a road course, you typically want to attack the braking zones. Here, with the elevation changes and the off-cambered corners, you have to be very careful not to over-attack or drive too hard.”

“Hopefully we find the right balance with speed this weekend.”

Jeff Gordon's character in the new movie Cars 2.

But before Gordon battles the NASCAR Sprint Cup regulars in northern California on Sunday, Gorvette will race into theaters beginning Friday.

“My role is fairly small,” said Gorvette. “Lightning McQueen and Mater and some of his buddies are in the movie, and I’m one of their new buddies. It’s an international spy thriller, so they go all over the world.

“It was a blast.”

A blast — like every race weekend at Infineon for Gordon.