All-Star Showdown: AJ Allmendinger preview

STATESVILLE, N.C.-- Saturday night AJ Allmendinger finds out if all of his hard work over the last few weeks pays off in earning the fan vote into the All-Star Race--but he hopes it doesn't come to that. The 27-year-old driver of the Hunt...

STATESVILLE, N.C.-- Saturday night AJ Allmendinger finds out if all of his hard work over the last few weeks pays off in earning the fan vote into the All-Star Race--but he hopes it doesn't come to that. The 27-year-old driver of the Hunt Brothers Pizza Dodge won the All-Star Showdown last year so he is obviously one of the favorites to finish first or second and transfer into the All-Star Challenge Race on Saturday night. The fan vote is the backup plan.

His Richard Petty Motorsports teammate Kasey Kahne earned the fan vote last year and went on to win the All-Star Challenge. Allmendinger has given away Hunt Brothers Pizza to fans in Talladega, handed out "Vote for AJ" t-shirts to fans, outfitted his wife Lynne and Labrador Misty in a special shirt, plus he's written guest columns in the Richmond newspaper, and gone on national television to appeal for fan votes.

Allmendinger even has his friend David Reutimann sporting a "Vote for AJ" shirt while revealing a secret about the Michael Waltrip Racing driver.

COOLEST THING SO FAR-- "Giving away the shirts and Hunt Brothers pizzas have been a lot of fun but the best moment so far is giving David Reutimann one of my "Vote for AJ" shirts. There's a secret a lot of you don't know. Reutimann has a lot of my merchandise in his motorhome closet. I'm serious, he has a real man crush on me. He wears me out for hats all the time. I'm not trying to stir anything up, but I think his wife and kids are going to vote for me! Can't wait til he sees this quote in the paper."

VOTER PITCH- "The fans just have to vote for me. I know there are guys who are going to do funny stuff or donate money to a great cause. But I have a wife and dog to support and I desperately need to get voted into the race. Elliott is using a dunking tank, Reed is donating his prize money, Logano has a big corporate sponsor behind him. I'm kind of a charity case. If you vote for me you will be helping out mankind. Yes, I'm begging."

ALL-STAR RACE-- "We plan to win the race on Saturday, but our backup plan is to get in through the fan vote. We are racers and if you have a chance to compete you do it to the best of your ability whether its on the track or in the fan vote. Sprint has created something really cool here and we've worked hard to get as many votes as we can. We'll keep campaigning right up until they tell us the vote is over."

* Allmendinger will drive chassis 281 at Darlington. This chassis finished 16th at Bristol.

* Allmendinger will sign autographs at the Richard Petty Motorsports merchandise hauler at 4 p.m. on Saturday.

* Allmendinger will participate in the King's Cup Karting for a Cause" to benefit the Paralyzed Veterans of America on May 19 in Mooresville, N.C. For more information on the King's Cup visit www.pva.org/gokart

-credit: rpm

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Michael Waltrip , Richard Petty , Kasey Kahne , David Reutimann
Teams Richard Petty Motorsports