Event: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 400
Date/Time: Sunday, September 18th / 2:30 PM ET
TV Network/Radio: NBCSN / MRN Radio / SIRIUSXM
Activation: "We're thankful to have the best brands on our No. 47 Chevy throughout the season and they do a great job activating their racing program," Allmendinger said. "Our team does a great job of promoting and engaging with our brands. This Thursday, I'm dropping by Tyson in downtown Chicago to spend some time with employees before heading over to Chicagoland Speedway. It will be nice to visit Tyson for the first time and meet everyone. Also, we've got Kroger on the hood this weekend, as well as, DiGiorno Pizza and we'd like to welcome Hot Pockets to the team as they share the hood for the first time. Thanks to our partnership with Kroger, you will be seeing new brands on our Kroger Chevy in addition to our longstanding partners. It's a pretty exciting time for us on the marketing side of things."
More activating with BUSH'S Beans Chili Cook-off Kickoff: "We've got a huge BUSH'S Beans Chili Cook-off competition starting in Harrisburg, N.C. on September 24th," Allmendinger said. "People in the area will have a chance to share their best chili recipe and of course, you have to use BUSH'S Chili Beans. There will be five local cook-offs with the five finalists competing for the big prize at Martinsville Speedway, which is a trip for two to the final Chase race that determines the champion at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Keep your eye on @NASCAR47 on Twitter as we unveil all the details early next week."
Unique in a way: “I would say Chicagoland Speedway is a little more unique compared to the other mile-and-a-half racetracks,” Allmendinger said. “It’s a little bit like Kansas (Speedway). The corners in Turn 1 and Turn 2 have that feel that they are kind of a little more open than Turn 3 and Turn 4 that have a lot tighter feeling than 1 and 2. Kansas has a feel kind of like that."
Multiple grooves: "The pavement is a lot older at Chicago," Allmendinger said. "If it gets a little bit warm, it definitely gets slicker and harder on tires. The grooves move around there a lot. As the race plays out, you can run top, middle or bottom. You definitely have choices in different ways you can work the race car to get speed around there."
Mile-and-a-half program: "It’s a tough place for sure," Allmendinger said. "I think our mile-and-a-half program’s gotten better. I’m encouraged to go to Chicago and keep trying to improve. I think we can go there, get our car right and have a solid run. It’s definitely a tough place and we look forward to getting better there.”
Staying the course: “This week we’ve got Chicago and we’ve been working diligently on our intermediate program,” crew chief Randall Burnett said. "We think we’ve been gaining on it a little bit. We had a rough week at Darlington (Raceway) a couple weeks ago where we got behind on some track position stuff, but we thought our car was okay. At Michigan (International Speedway), we had a pretty fast car. I’m looking forward to it. Our intermediate program has been coming around for sure. We’ve got some new things we are looking at going into Chicago. So, we are spending the rest of the season trying different things and learning to get prepared going forward. Chicago is a fun place. We get to go there once a year. It’s a cool track and a great area. To go up there to the Midwest, it’s kind of close to home for me. Oh, and I’m a Cardinals fan, not a Cubs fan."
Getting into the groove: “Last year at Chicagoland Speedway, we felt like we had some speed going into the race after a respectable qualifying run,” spotter Coleman Pressley said. “Early in the race, we got into a little mishap with Denny Hamlin going into Turn 3 and lost our track position. Unfortunately, at mile-and-a-half’s once they get strung out, track position plays such a key role and we could never get back to where we started. I’m looking forward to Chicago because it’s one of the few mile-a-half tracks that is worn out and provides multiple-groove racing. It’s the first time we will go there with a low downforce package. As a worn out track, it’s probably going to escalate that even more to produce a lot better racing. The key all weekend will just be seeing how the groove moves through practice, happy hour and the start of the race. Hopefully, we can qualify good there again, keep our track position and put him in the right lane to go to the front at the end of the race.”
Making gains: "We’ve been working hard all year," Burnett said. "We kind of got down in July and had a couple races that hurt us in the points Chase. We really didn’t need those because it put us behind. We turned things around late July, early August. We got a top-five and a couple top-10s finishes in there. The car is showing speed every week. We’ve been qualifying better. We’re definitely gaining on it. We still have a long way to go to get up there and compete against some of the bigger teams. For what we are doing right now, I really like the gains we are seeing on our team and how things are going at the shop and how things are going on the road with everybody. I feel like we are making a lot of good progress that will carry into next season."
Career Starts: 289
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
Live Updates From the #47 Team:
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Sunday, September 18
10 AM to 10:20 AM AJ will participate in a Q&A session and sign autographs for fans at the SCOTT Products display in Chicagoland Speedway's Midway