Track: Sonoma Raceway
Race: Toyota/SaveMart 350
Date/Time: Sunday, June 28th / 3 PM ET
TV/Radio: FOX Sports 1 / PRN / SIRIUSXM
Sonoma Raceway: “I really love Sonoma Raceway,” Allmendinger said. “It’s just such a beautiful racetrack. It’s such a cool trophy. Hopefully, it’s ours this year.”
Finesse track: “Sonoma is definitely a finesse racetrack,” Allmendinger said. “You hear it from the first lap you make on the racetrack to the last lap when the checkered flag falls. Everybody talks about forward drive and not burning the rear tires off. It’s all about finesse. There have been times late in the run there where you don’t even get hardly wide open. You are just trying to finesse the race car around the track. At Watkins Glen International, you are just aggressive and fenders mean a lot more there so you don’t want to really get into anybody, but at Sonoma you have got to bounce off each other when you get to Turn 11 and 7a. It is more like a short track there, but in the end, track position is so critical and making sure you put tires on at the right point. I would say strategy is almost more important at Sonoma than Watkins Glen because at Watkins Glen the race kind of just plays out and you know if you are going to do two or three stops. Your strategy in a certain way, everybody is kind of close to each other. At Sonoma, tires means so much, look at a guy like Dale Jr. last year, I think he said he pitted five times. He said forget it we are not staying out we are pitting every time and it worked out for him. Strategy is important and track position is really important there.”
Proud of team: “I’m proud of my guys back at the shop that worked hard and put a lot of effort into our road course car,” Allmendinger said. “We’re ready for Sonoma. We all know it’s going to be one of our best opportunities to win. Last year, it was heartbreaking, but in the end I don’t think we had a car good enough to win the race with the way the race played out. So, we’ve got some good ideas this time around that will help us."
Home base: "This is a really important race for us especially being a home race for our sponsors Clorox and Kingsford and a home race for me because I grew up (San Jose, Calif.) not too far from the track," Allmendinger said. There’s a lot of pressure on us to perform and I add a lot more pressure to myself when I get there.”
In the long run: “Sonoma is awesome,” crew chief Brian Burns said. “Last year, I would say we had a very strong car on short runs. Our focus is to put a little more into the car for long runs without sacrificing front speed. At Sonoma, you don’t want to fall off as much and struggle with rear grip. Also, qualifying is important because it dictates your race strategy. We will focus on qualifying toward the front to make race strategy easier.”
Remain focused: “We will treat this weekend like any another race, but everybody in our race shop knows this is a place we can go to and win,” Burns said. “We want to stay calm, focus on a solid weekend and doing the easy stuff right.”
Under pressure: “AJ is from California and he’s good at road courses and one of our major sponsors – The Clorox Company – is based near Sonoma Raceway, so he puts more pressure on himself knowing he has potential to win there,” Burns said. “There are a lot of great drivers and teams capable of winning there, but I would say there’s five you can put on the board that legitimately can win the race and we feel like we are one of the five."
Winning car: “Our road course car is a house car, a JTG Daugherty Racing built car,” Burns said. “We take a little extra pride knowing that we built it. This same car is the Watkins Glen race winner.”
Out of the box: “As a crew chief, Sonoma for me is more of a challenge because of tire degradation,” Burns said. “We have got to keep the grip level from falling off and lap times from falling off. We have to put a setup together where we are fast out of the box and not fall off. It gets hot and slick at Sonoma. Sonoma has a lot more character and obstacles than say a Watkins Glen International that has more grip and higher speed and not as much braking.”
Things to do: “We love racing at Sonoma,” Burns said. “There are so many great cities surrounding the track and so many different things you can do within an hour or two from the track. You can take in a baseball game at the Oakland A’s or go visit Napa Valley to see the vineyards. We enjoy going into San Francisco to Fisherman’s Wharf and walking around. There’s something for everyone and there's the big race on Sunday”
Career Starts: 242
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
FLAME. MEAT. GRILL.
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.
- GET SOCIAL -
- EARN POINTS -
- COMPETE WITH FRIENDS -
- WIN PRIZES! -
Friday, June 26th
10:15 AM to 10:30 AM AJ Allmendinger media availability at Sonoma Raceway Media Center
Sunday, June 28th
JTG Daugherty Racing Sponsor Meet & Greets