NO. 47 KROGER CLICKLIST CHEVY ATLANTA MOTOR SPEEDWAY PRE-RACE REPORT

AJ ALLMENDINGER
NO. 47 KROGER CLICKLIST CHEVROLET SS
ATLANTA MOTOR SPEEDWAY PREVIEW

Date/Time: Sunday, March 5th 2:30 PM ET
TV Network/Radio: FOX / PRN Radio / SiriusXM

QUOTES:
 
Autograph session at Kroger in Griffin: “I’m looking forward to visiting the Kroger store in Griffin (Kroger, 1524 Hwy 16 West, Griffin, Ga. 30223) and spending time with our fans,” Allmendinger said. “Before heading over to Kroger, I’m ordering my groceries online with Kroger’s ClickList and picking them up at the store. I figured since I needed to make a grocery store run, let’s add on an autograph session. We’ll be doing some personal shopping with a few fans too. Also, if you order your groceries with ClickList regularly, you never know, I might help you load your groceries in your car. It’s going to be a fun event. Come out and see us!”

1.5-mile program: “We definitely made our 1.5-mile program a lot better,” Allmendinger said. “The last couple of years, that was by far the biggest weakness.  We weren’t even close on the 1.5-mile tracks.  Last year, I felt like early in the year we were pretty good. Then we struggled mid-summer, but at the end of the year we really pushed forward and worked on getting downforce.  That is what is tough about the 1.5-miles, is the fact that a lot of it is car based.  All the speed comes from the shop, building the race cars, getting all those edges fine-tuned just trying to get max downforce into the cars.  I felt like last year at the end of the year we really hit on something that made our cars better and we worked on those areas going into Charlotte Motor Speedway, going into Texas Motor Speedway and Kansas Speedway to make it better.”

Aero-package: “I’m not sure how it (aero-package) will affect us," Allmendinger said. "You don’t really know until you get out there.  It’s hard even if you go test it. You kind of feel it, but you don’t really know until you get to a race weekend and you get all the rubber built up on the track, more importantly you get 39 other cars around you.  It’s definitely going to be less downforce. You are going to be sliding around more, but how that is going to affect the cars or the racing, we are not going to really know until we get on the track.”

Picking up where they left off: “We’re trying to make it better and pick up where we left off,” crew chief Randall Burnett said. “We had some pretty good momentum on our 1.5-mile program. I’m looking forward to getting down there and seeing how the new rules are going to play out for us and getting to do some normal racing. This will be the last race on the old surface at Atlanta. It will be a new challenge next year. We’re going to work really hard this year on our 1.5-mile program since that’s the majority of the races obviously. I’m ready to get there. We had a fast car there last year and had a couple things knock us out of contention, but overall AJ really enjoys Atlanta.”

Repave around the corner for Atlanta: “It's tough because the problem is the repaves are done too well now," Allmendinger said. "The track is so smooth and the pavement lasts for so long now.  Part of the fun at Atlanta is the fact that when we go out there, we slide around, tires get chewed up and you are always kind of up on the wheel trying to hold onto the car.  It makes for great passing because the tires wear out so quick. It’s tough. You get to a certain point, you have to repave these things because, say at a place like Texas, (Motor Speedway) it doesn’t dry in an eight-hour span.  Atlanta, I’m sure some of the road is starting to kind of break apart a little bit, but I’m going to miss it for sure.”

Growth: “Well, the team has worked hard," Allmendinger said. "It’s really grown. JTG Daugherty Racing has grown into two cars with Chris Buescher, which is only going to benefit us.  At the same time, it’s a lot of work that we took on late in the off-season. We're hoping to see the hard work pay off early on." 
 
Finding the way: "I feel like we found our way at the end of last year," Allmendinger said. "Early in the year we started well, the middle of the summer we really struggled and at the end of the year we got our cars better.  It’s something that we have used the off season to try to make it better.  With the new rules package and less downforce, it is always kind of nerve racking to start fresh. In general, we will just keep building on the stuff that we were better at, find the stuff that we are weak at and fine tune those.  It's my second year working with Randall Burnett as a crew chief, so we will see.  You never really know until after five or six races where you stand.”

Reflecting Daytona: “Daytona 500 was a crazy race for sure,” Allmendinger said. “We all saw that. I got to experience it and thankfully had a solid finish (third-place). I just went out there and tried to make the right moves at the right time. The way the race played out on fuel strategy, I just tried to be smart and save as much fuel as possible those last 10 or 12 laps and get the best finish possible and it all worked out. We were very fortunate.”

Getting used to two-car team: “I had to get used to hearing two different drivers, two different spotters and two different crew chiefs in my ear last weekend,” team owner Tad Geschickter said. “That made me a little crazy for the first half of the race. It was a new experience for me. Just the whole week was physically and emotionally exhausting and obviously your adrenaline is so high during the race itself with everyone in a pack racing hard all day. You have to be so aggressive now. My knees were a little weak at the end, but it was a lot of fun to watch.”

Sponsorship: “I think it’s a blessing and sponsorships are a miracle,” Geschickter said.  “It’s important to listen closely to your partners and what their business objectives are and then measure and prove you are moving the needle so they have a good reason to stick around.”

Keeping the eye on the prize: “It’s (the season) emotional and it’s tiring,” Geschickter said. “You have to stay focused on the goal to get these guys into the Playoffs. Staying laser focused and put time in. I feel like we are getting ready to have a great year."

Feels good about it: Over the last couple of years being at JTG Daugherty Racing, it’s been fun to watch where we’ve come from since 2013 to where we are now and adding Chris Buescher and the No. 37 BUSH’S Beans Chevrolet," Allmendinger said. "You just look at all the hard work that everybody has put into this team. It feels special.”

West Coast: “That West Coast trip is looming,” Geschickter said. “We’ve basically got to have eight cars screwed together and ready to go in the next two weeks to keep the momentum up.”



FAST FACTS:
Career Starts:  300
Wins:  1
Top-fives:  10
Top-10s:  48
Pole Awards:  4
First Start:  3/25/2007  Bristol  
First Pole:  4/10/2010  Phoenix
Last Pole:  8/8/15 Watkins Glen
Best Start:  1 - 4/10/2010 Phoenix
Best Finish:  1 - 8/10/2014  Watkins Glen
Driver DOB:  12/16/1981        
Hometown:  San Jose, Calif.
Crew Chief:  Randall Burnett