Allmendinger and Dodge team speak about Martinsville race

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SRT Motorsports press release

A.J. Allmendinger, Penske Racing Dodge
A.J. Allmendinger, Penske Racing Dodge

Photo by: Action Sports Photography

A.J. Allmendinger (No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Dodge Charger R/T) Finished 2nd HOW DID YOU FINISH SECOND? “The medical nurses to begin with, because I felt horrible this morning, just been sick. Just a hard fight. Todd Gordon (crew chief) is doing a good job trying to learn these places and learn them together. I just kept fighting. I don’t know if I had a second-place Charger, but you’ve got to put yourself in position to do that. Everybody on the Shell/Pennzoil Dodge is working hard. They’re behind me. I’m trying really hard and I’d like to have got it (win), but it was a good day.”

ON THE LAST RESTART WITH RYAN NEWMAN, WERE YOU A VICTIM OF STARTING ON THE OUTSIDE? “We were just tight. We were good on the long run; we were just tight in the beginning and especially being on the outside. If I had him on the outside, I might have been able to get him, but being on the outside and being as tight as we were, it was going to be tough.”

WHAT DOES THIS FINISH MEAN FOR THE TEAM? “We’re just getting better together. I mean it’s frustrating at times. I want to be up there every weekend, just like these guys do. They deserve to be up there every weekend. Hopefully this will give us an idea and we can keep working on it.”

HOW MUCH IMPROVEMENT DID YOU MAKE TO YOUR CAR FROM FRIDAY? “We got it better. It still wasn’t perfect. It was really good on long runs. We had really good forward drive off; we just couldn’t get it to turn. We’ll keep working on it, but it was way better than what we had.”

YOU WERE UNDER THE WEATHER TODAY BUT YOU MUST FEEL GOOD ABOUT THE RESULT. “Yeah, I think maybe I need to go to the nurse’s office every week and take a shot (smiles). I didn’t feel very good this morning, but you know these guys work hard, everybody on the Shell/Pennzoil Dodge, they deserve to run up front, they’re used to running up front. I’m trying my butt off, trying everything I can to get these guys up front. Todd Gordon and all these guys, the Penske organization, they’re behind me. It feels good to have an organization behind you even when you feel like you’re struggling a little bit. This is a great race. I don’t know if we had a second-place car, but with the way these races play out, you know, I feel like you’ve got to put yourself in position. We weren’t very good all weekend and Todd Gordon kept working hard and all the guys on the team and ultimately got the car better. It was definitely a top-10 car. We were actually better in a really long run. We had good forward drive off and we’d struggle on new tires getting it to turn. Ryan (Newman), I knew it was going to be tough to get around him on the outside, but he ran me clean. He didn’t run me up the racetrack. He ran me as clean as could be. I thank him for that and congratulate him on that. Hopefully, this gives us some confidence going into the off-weekend.”

“I’m obviously excited about the second-place finish, but happy the way we ran all day. We had a solid top-10 car all day. We had a really good car on the long run. In the short run, we were just too tight. Once we got going and everybody’s rear tires started going off, we were actually pretty good. I knew on that restart to hang on the outside of Ryan but he ran me really clean and I thank him for that. Congrats on the win for him. These guys deserve to run up front. They’re used to it and I’m going to do everything I can to get us there.”

HOW DOES THE WEEKEND OFF HELP WITH THE LEARNING CURVE WITH TODD GORDON? “I think we all need a rest. I need to get healthy. I’ve been traveling so much doing a lot of fun things for Shell/Pennzoil and for AAA, but I’ve been worn out. I think this is the right time to get a weekend off, take some notes that we learned from this weekend and go to Texas and be ready to go. We were fast at Vegas, so I’m excited about Texas.”

WAS THE HARD RACING TODAY FUN FOR YOU AS A DRIVER? “It was fun. We had a good car all day. The Shell/Pennzoil Dodge struggled at the beginning of the weekend. It wasn’t a good feeling around here. I was kind of lost. I’m working so hard, I’m putting a lot of pressure on myself because these guys are used to running up front and deserve to run up front. I’m trying to learn as quickly as I can just like Todd Gordon is. We’re trying to learn together. I’m really thrilled with the finish, but I’m happy with how we ran all day. We had a good long run car. The short run, we just didn’t turn very well so that restart I knew it was going to take a miracle to get around Ryan. But he ran me really clean and he gave me a chance to get around him. I’m happy overall. It’s a solid finish. Right time for an off weekend and see if we can kind of build all these notes up and be ready for Texas.”

HOW SMALL DOES THIS TRACK GET AT THE END OF THE RACE? “When the caution came out, I was happy to finish eighth. I was like ‘Okay, eighth is going to be good.’ I’d like to say that was all skill getting through Turns 1 and 2. I’ll take some credit, but ultimately it was just a lot of luck, guys bouncing off of me and got clear. Obviously, starting second there we had a chance to get around Ryan but it’s tight. It’s a battle. I knew the racing went too smooth. There were not a lot of yellows. I knew that green-white-checkered was going to get ugly.”

Todd Gordon (Crew Chief, No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Dodge Charger R/T) “I think we preserved all day, had a decent race car and put him in a position. A.J. did a really good job there with the last two restarts, to take advantage of the situation. We just worked real hard on the Shell/Pennzoil Dodge all weekend and came out with something today.”

DID YOU GET YOUR CHARGER BETTER WITH EVERY STOP TODAY? “I think overnight we made some pretty big changes because we didn’t like our race car. I think we really fired off with something that was close and we just kind of worked on air pressure to try to make sure that we don’t do too much.”

HOW BIG IS A GOOD DAY FOR YOUR TEAM? “It’s big. It’s big for both A.J. and myself. I mean obviously this 22 car is known for winning races. This kind of gives us a step in the right direction to having the success that we both know we can have.”

WHAT DID YOU LEARN THIS WEEKEND THAT WILL HELP YOU AT OTHER FLAT TRACKS AND WHEN YOU COME BACK HERE IN THE FALL? “Stability for him. He’s different than Brad (Keselowski) obviously. They can both go fast. It’s the two of us getting on the same page of what he needs in a race car, giving enough stability so we can hustle the race car.”

Brad Keselowski (No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger R/T) Finished 9th “First off, go back to the yellow with the 10 car (David Reutimann) stopped on the track. That was really, really uncalled for and ruined the day for a lot of people, Jeff (Gordon), Jimmie (Johnson) and myself, from having a lot better finishes. I think we’re all really, really frustrated with that guy. We came in and got tires and definitely had a shot at the race (win), at least a top four or five finish for sure. Then the question comes, what’s the lineup for that last restart? That’s hard to tell. I don’t have all the info, whether they went by a loop, where the yellow came out or whether it was video review. My gut says we should have been a lot further ahead of where we were allowed to restart. I don’t have all the info, so it was one of those deals. I’m proud of my team. We had a really fast Miller Lite Dodge. We’ve got a lot of good momentum. That stuff is going to go good or bad. You’ll get the good ones and you’ll get the bad ones. Today, we got the bad side of it. If we keep having runs like that, we’ll get more wins.”

Travis Geisler (Director of Competition, Penske Racing) “To come out of here with two top 10s is really good. It’s disappointing what happened with the 2 car there; we felt like they could contend for the win today. We had the issue with the pit road speeding penalty, recovered from that, but couldn’t recover from the lack of judgment I guess on that restart. It ruined the day for a lot of teams that ran up front all race. That’s the way it goes. Two top 10s. A great finish for A.J. (Allmendinger) and the 22 team, a career best finish for him. We’re really happy to be a part of that. We think there’s a lot more to come from that team.”

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Series NASCAR-CUP
Tags allmendinger, dodge, penske, srt motorsports