Home race for the NASCAR Sprint Cup driver
A.J. Allmendinger knows the Toyota/Save Mart 350 road course race at Sonoma, California is a genuine opportunity for him to score a victory.
Stiil, “We can’t put every egg in one basket and say we have to win this race because if we do then it’s just disappointing if we don’t,” Allmendinger said. “If we go there and have a solid day and just have a chance to win the race, that’s all we can do. I hope we can do that. We had two days of testing there and we had really good speed in the Kingsford Chevrolet. It’s our sponsors home race – you know with Clorox and Kingsford – it’s also my home race,” Allmendinger said. “There is a lot going on there. I think we have a shot there to win it. I don’t want to say it’s all about this one race though.”
With Sonoma, "It all comes down to rear grip,” Allmendinger said. “ECR Engines have a lot of horsepower and you want to put it down to the racetrack. That place especially if it gets hot out there, it’s so easy to burn off the rear tires in five or six laps. Then it’s a long stint when you do that. You have to just ease the rear tires. If you can make your rear tires last longer than most people, then you have a shot to win the race. With these cars, there’s not a lot of grip anyway,” Allmendinger said. “Sonoma is narrow and slick and it is so easy to make a mistake. I think it’s about not locking up the tire because if you lock up a tire in the brake zone, it just kills the tire when you do that. Other than that, if you have a fast car, you have a shot to win it. That’s all you can really ask for during your day at Sonoma.”
The team tested Sonoma earlier this month. “The test went great at Sonoma Raceway with AJ during the first week of June,” crew chief Brian Burns said. “It’s just with the new rules package change this season, we wanted to go out there. Obviously, this is one of the races that you put on your list or on your refrigerator that we feel like you can go run and potentially win the race. We showed up there and were very grateful that we got to test at Sonoma Raceway because when we did unload, we were pretty far off. We felt like last year’s stuff that made us good definitely was not the answer for this year. After two days of testing, we walked away really happy and excited about going back.”
"AJ is really good at Sonoma Raceway," JTG Daugherty Racing co-owner Brad Daugherty said. "We feel like it’s one of the racetracks – and there’s several, not just the road courses - - that AJ and our team can win. We’re going to go out and be as prepared as we can possibly be. We built him a car specific to Watkins Glen (International) last year and we had a great run there. We feel if we do the same for Sonoma, it gives him a great opportunity. We will need to qualify well, run up front all day and have great pit stops. All we need is a chance on that last green-white-checker to have an opportunity to race to the checkered flag."