NASCAR SPRINT ALL STAR RACE & COCA-COLA 600 PREVIEW

Allmendinger's Sponsor:  No. 47 Kingsford® Chevrolet SS
Track:  Charlotte Motor Speedway
Race:  NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race
Date/Time:  Saturday May 16, 7 PM ET
TV/Radio:  FOX Sports 1/MRN/SIRIUSXM

Allmendinger's Sponsor:  No. 47 SCOTT
® Products Chevrolet SS
Track: Charlotte Motor Speedway
Race:  Coca-Cola 600
Date/Time: Sunday, May 24, 6 PM ET
TV/Radio: FOX/PRN/SIRIUSXM


TEAM QUOTES:

NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race:  “First off, I’m just glad I don’t have to beg for votes this year,” Allmendinger said. “Fans are always great and The Sprint Fan Vote for the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race is cool because it allows fans to have a say in who they want to take that spot in the race. I’ve had to race my way in and this year I’m definitely not going to miss being in the Sprint Showdown and the pressure to advance. I’m going to love watching the Sprint Showdown for once in my life. Really for us, we are going to use the All-Star Race as one big test to make some gains on our mile-and-a-half program. I felt like Atlanta Motor Speedway and Las Vegas Motor Speedway were pretty good races for us, but at Texas Motor Speedway and Kansas Speedway we were a little bit off. We have got to figure out our mile-and-a-half program a little bit more. We learned some things this past weekend at Kansas Speedway with some new stuff that we tried, which at least changed the platform of the car. We’re going to be working in that same direction. We’ll try a lot of stuff for the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race and see if we can learn some things for the Coca-Cola 600. If we try the stuff and it happens to be really fast, of course, we’ll have a shot to go and win the race. We’ll just try to have the best program and hone in on what we need for the 600. We're looking forward to it and having Kingsford on board for the All-Star Race and SCOTT Products for the 600. Get out and grill these next couple of weeks and enjoy your time with friends and family. That's what it is all about."

Coca-Cola 600: "
The length makes it a tough race,” Allmendinger said. “It’s tough just because it’s usually hot and the track has set in the hot sun all day and it makes it really slick when you start. It’s hard to gauge what the track is going to do from practice to race and you’re not sure if you are going to have trouble with the front or the back of the car. The track goes through so many changes throughout the course of the 600-mile race and it is difficult to keep up with the track. It’s probably the most heat sensitive track we race on. It sits there in the sun and goes into the night when it is cooler and it picks up speed. It’s one of the most challenging tracks. It’s makes for a long night. One of the big positive things about racing at Charlotte Motor Speedway is that it’s nice that the crew guys are able to be home for a couple weeks and sleep in their own beds and be with their families. As drivers, we are fortunate to be able to bring our families on the road. So, it’s nice for the guys to be able to see their families and do normal activities like grilling out. They are the ones that give up the most.”

Crew chief honors friend: "During the Coca-Cola 600, NASCAR is honoring men and women who have died fighting for this country by displaying the name of a fallen U.S. service member in place of the driver’s last name on the windshield header decal," crew chief Brian Burns said. "I suggested that we honor Army Cpl. Darrell L. Smith. Nobody in our company really knew anybody that had lost their life in war, and I kind of started thinking about it. I just thought it was a pretty cool opportunity to put somebody from my past that was a close personal friend of mine that served beside me in the Indiana National Guard. Our unit was activated to active duty six months after my enlistment ended. Unfortunately, he lost his life over there in Baghdad during Operation Iraqi Freedom. I thought it’d be a pretty cool way to show respect for him.”

A weekend to remember: “Memorial Day is a day to remember military personnel that have made sacrifices for each and every one of us, fighting for our freedom," Allmendinger said. "I think of our freedom and how fortunate we are. Thanks to all the heroes fighting for us now and in the future. We are fortunate to do what we love because of them. On Memorial Day weekend, we have the biggest race in the world and to know that we are doing that because of everybody that has sacrificed for our country to have our freedom is humbling. I give thanks every day and I am very thankful for having our freedom, thanks to our military men and women and to their families.”

Ups and downs: “Just like any NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season, you have your ups and downs,” Allmendinger said. “I feel like this year the guys have worked hard to keep making our cars better. At the end of last year, I thought we made some good progress and we made The Chase. At the end, we looked at the season and we were about a 20th or 22nd-place team. It is kind of where we would have ended up in points, but making The Chase we finished 13th. At the end of this year, we want to be consistently inside the top-20 and top-15. I feel like for the most part we have done that.  I looked at Texas (Motor Speedway) being the only race where we really missed the setup. We struggled and finished 21st. Other than that we’ve been inside the top-20 and have a lot of top-15 finishes. There were motor failures and a DNF from that and then running top 10 at Bristol (Motor Speedway) with eight to go, we were crashed. Bad luck like that happens, but it’s been a solid start otherwise. There are areas we definitely have to keep working on and keep making it better.”

Blood, sweat and tears: “I really enjoy this race team,” Allmendinger said. “Tad (Geschickter), Jodi (Geschickter) Brad (Daugherty) and everybody down the line have worked so hard. Especially, when it comes to Tad, he is so good and is the hardest working guy I have ever seen in my life about trying to put together sponsors and trying to do everything he can to give us the resources to go out there and run better. Tad and Jodi take no money from the team. They put everything, their whole life back into the team.”

Brands staying and growing: “Two weeks ago to announce a big Fortune 500 company like Kroger stepping up and really believing in this race team, believing in me, believing in Tad and believing in everybody at the team was pretty special to me personally,” Allmendinger said. “It’s exciting that they want to put their name and all their companies with our racing organization for multiple years. We have such amazing brands in place and we’re glad to add Kroger into the mix. ”

Five years is a mighty long time: “It meant so much to me to sign on for five years with JTG Daugherty Racing,” Allmendinger said. “It was a no-brainer for me because of what Tad, Jodi and Brad have done for me on and off the racetrack, that has meant so much. This race team is my home and I truly enjoy it and love the people that surround this team starting with my crew chief Brian Burns, engineer Tony Palmer all down the line it’s a great team to be a part of. I love the sponsors that are with us and I love where we are at. I want to be a part of it for a long time.”

Trust: “People thought I was kidding, but when Tad handed me the contract, I literally flipped straight to the back page and signed it and handed it back to him,” Allmendinger said. "That’s how much I trust him. I know how much he is committed to this sport and making this team as good as it can be. But, I didn’t know in the contract it was written that I have to call Tad ‘The Man’ and I have to give him unlimited mulligans on the golf course, which that isn't a big deal because I can still beat him pretty consistently. However, calling him 'The Man' is getting old."

Clear vision: “JTG Daugherty Racing is where I belong,” Allmendinger said. “Last year and even this year when people would say to me, ‘AJ when you get that opportunity to be back with that big race team, you are going to do great things.’ I would say, ‘No, I’ve been there and I’ve done that. I don’t want to go back to that big race team. I want to make JTG Daugherty Racing a big race team. I want to be out there taking that No. 47 car to the front.’ So, people look at this team and say, ‘That is a big race team. It doesn’t matter that it is a one-car team. It’s a big team and we have to contend with them.’ That’s the direction we are headed.”

Do great things: “We have what we need in place,” Allmendinger said. “We just have to keep making progress and making the team as good as it can be. I know that we can do great things.”

Tad's The Man: “I get to see all sides of this race team thanks to Tad and that’s what has been fun about this team,” Allmendinger said. “He’s allowed me to see the sponsor-marketing side. In this day and age, you have to work hard to keep sponsors and bring new sponsors to the series. Tad doesn’t get enough credit for what he does because he does bring in new sponsors and the sponsors that he has have been with him for 10 to 15 years. He does a great job of tying all of the sponsors together. It’s not like he says, ‘Hey, thank you for the money and you get your name on the side of the race car and that’s what we do.’ He does so much more. It’s intriguing how he is able to market and show the data, spreadsheets and everything that he does for every race weekend that we go to and all the products on our car in stores and show the numbers because there was a Sprint Cup race and because you were associated with the No. 47 team this weekend this is how much product you sold near the racetrack in all the stores you were in. It’s pretty amazing. He is the hardest working guy I have ever been around and he inspires me to want to keep working hard and try to get better. He’s also let me experience the TV and radio side of the business. I get to do a lot with FOX Sports 1 and Race Hub and call some races on MRN Radio. It’s been fun.”

RCR alliance going stronger than ever:  “With the RCR (Richard Childress Racing) side of it, most of the credit goes to Richard Childress himself,” Allmendinger said. “He opened his race shop including the engineering side of it, the data side of it, ECR Engines and everything to where we don’t feel like we are getting secondary stuff. It is equal opportunity. Especially, on our side of it we are getting equal opportunity to go out there to beat the No. 31 (Ryan Newman), the No. 27 (Paul Menard), the No. 3 (Austin Dillon). They are not hiding anything. It’s all right there. I feel like we are all stronger than we were last year. Obviously, the No. 78 (Martin Truex Jr.) car is really stepping up their game. All the race teams from our team, Casey Mears, Martin Truex Jr. and all the RCR cars, I feel like we have stepped up and gotten better as a whole. There is nothing we can’t get from RCR. It’s up to us to go out there and continue to make ourselves better.”

Dover testing: “I feel like I’ve struggled a little bit,” Allmendinger said. “Dover International Speedway was always a great place for me, but once we got these new cars and the new package really from 2013 and 2014 especially and obviously going into this year it has been tough. Just getting around Dover I’m trying to figure out what the feel is now. It’s not the same as the old car. The old cars with not having the ride height rule and they had more of a kind of a roll feel to them, you are off throttle a little bit more. I used to have a really good feel around Dover of how to drive it and get around it fast with that type of car. With the new car, I haven’t quite figured it out yet. We’ve got to keep working on the platform of the race car and get a good feel for what we need over a long run and how the rubber is going to build up and things like that. The biggest deal during the race weekend at all of these places, especially Dover, you look at it when you show up and it’s really gray. There’s really no rubber on the racetrack and by Sunday afternoon it’s just dark and black. There’s so much rubber built up. So, the track changes a lot over the course of the weekend. It’s hard to simulate that in a test. But, at the same point I think if we can just leave with a good platform, kind of like what we did at Richmond International  Raceway. We tested Richmond and felt like we really narrowed down the box of the things that what we needed to try when we went back for the race. We qualified fourth, had a decent car in the race and finished 13th. It’s kind of the same thing I want to do at Dover and that’s to get a good platform. We need to narrow down that box of stuff to try on Friday and Saturday so we can go in there and say, 'Okay, these are little things for if it’s loose or tight' and hopefully when we do that we unload fast. That makes the weekend so much easier when you do that."  

First win this season: “Well, hopefully it’s Charlotte Motor Speedway and I’ll take the All-Star race too because that’s a million dollars,” Allmendinger said. “The short tracks I feel like as a whole we’ve been stronger at with the 47 team. If I had to pick a type of racetrack I’d say the short tracks would probably be the best opportunity. I feel like every weekend we have that opportunity to go out there and if we are at our best we have a shot to win it. There are weekends where we miss it and there are some weekends where we are right on it. Every weekend, I try to show up with that attitude that, 'Hey, this can be the weekend that we go out there and win the race.' Somebody is going to win this race and it might as well be us. Hopefully, it is soon at any racetrack. Beggars can’t be choosers. I’ll take anyone of them.”

Indianapolis 500: “I’ve learned in racing to never say no,” Allmendinger said. “I don’t know. It would have to be the right opportunity. I tell people getting to do it with Roger Penske in 2013 was just a dream come true. We had a shot to win the race. I was leading it when my seat belts came off. We still finished seventh. Those memories are something I’ll never forget. To lead at Indy in front of that packed house it’s so hard to describe. It was almost surreal like it wasn’t even happening. Those are memories I’ll have for the rest of my life. So, the only way I would do the double is if it was the right opportunity to have a shot to win the Indy 500. Obviously, if Roger Penske called me right now and said, 'Let’s do it,' I wouldn’t have a second thought and I’d be there in a heartbeat. But, I also don’t want to mess up those memories either. If it was the right opportunity for sure, I’d do it.  I would really have to make sure it was the exact right opportunity otherwise there is no point in doing it.”

 


FAST FACTS:

Career Starts: 238
Wins:            1
Top-fives:     7
Top-10s:      37
Pole Awards: 2
First Start:  3/25/2007  Bristol  
First Pole:   4/10/2010  Phoenix
Last Pole:    4/22/2012  Kansas
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:   Brian Burns
 


GET OUT AND GRILL:

FLAME. MEAT. GRILL. ANY QUESTIONS?


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RACING-REWARDS: 


Each week throughout the NASCAR season Racing-Rewards members are given the opportunity to download exclusive AJ Allmendinger cellphone wallpaper. This week's design design features AJ and his Kingsford Charcoal car.

Click HERE to visit the download page.

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 AJ'S WHEREABOUTS: 

Saturday, May 16th

4:25 to 4:40 PM Freightliner Appearance

4:50 Troops to the Track Meet & Greets

5 PM JTG Daugherty Racing Sponsor Meet & Greets

Sunday, May 24th

3:30 PM JTG Daugherty Racing Sponsor Meet & Greets