Atlanta: AJ Allmendinger preview

AJ Allmendinger The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series travels to Atlanta Motor Speedway this weekend for the 100th Sprint Cup race in the track's history. AJ Allmendinger goes to Atlanta hoping to repeat his third-place finish in the Daytona 500. Since...

AJ Allmendinger

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series travels to Atlanta Motor Speedway this weekend for the 100th Sprint Cup race in the track's history. AJ Allmendinger goes to Atlanta hoping to repeat his third-place finish in the Daytona 500. Since then the No. 44 Dodge battled handling issues at California Speedway and Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Allmendinger and his teammates, at Richard Petty Motorsports, Kasey Kahne, Elliott Sadler and Reed Sorenson comprise four of the seven Dodge drivers in the field. Each of the Petty drivers will race the R5 Dodge engine for the foreseeable future say team officials.

Mark McArdle, vice president and director of competition for Richard Petty Motorsports:

USE OF THE NEW R6 ENGINE: "We are using the R5P7 right now while the R6P8 engine is still in development with us. We look at it as a risk/reward issue and right now, we think it is a little bit risky considering the situation we are in with our teams. We like what we have right now. We are making decent performance numbers with the new engine and trying to develop a level of reliability in to it that we have in the R5. It's our position that in the first third of this racing season we can't afford the risk of giving away any points so we are going to be very conservative in what we do."

DIFFERENCES BETWEEN NEW AND OLD ENGINE: "Fundamentally the architecture of the engine changes by dimensions it becomes a much tighter box of dimensional conformance per NASCAR. They have given all of the manufacturers a set of parameters to design an engine around. It's going to make all of the engines very close in their ultimate performance potential. Strictly speaking, in our case, we probably have the least amount of change between the two (new and old engine packages.) Our rules package we designed to back in 1999 and 2000 allowed at that time for us to take advantage of some things that are now considered standard."

PLANS TO RACE NEW ENGINE IN 2009: "We are keeping our options open with regard to our utilization of the R6P8. When we deem it wise to race it, we will. It's likely you will see us compete with it at some point this season, but to what level of commitment we haven't decided."

ALLMENDINGER: "We've struggled the last two weeks with getting our cars to turn in the center. That's something we just have to figure out and I'm confident we will. Atlanta is a very fast track and its pretty tough on equipment. Our mission is to get qualified and then go out there and show everyone we are better than what we have shown in the last two weeks. We finished 14th there last year and I think we can do even better this race."

Chassis Info

Allmendinger will drive a new chassis this weekend at Atlanta.

His backup is chassis 258 which Kasey Kahne raced at Pocono and New Hampshire in 2008.

Allmendinger finished 14th at Atlanta in the fall driving the No. 10 Dodge fielded by Gillett Evernham Motorsports and 16th the year before with Red Bull Racing

The No. 44 Dodge will carry the Charter Communications paint scheme this weekend.

Allmendinger will have to qualify on speed Friday night at Atlanta. NASCAR will guarantee the top 35 starting spots beginning at Martinsville on 3/28.

-credit: rpm

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Richard Petty , Kasey Kahne , Elliott Sadler , Reed Sorenson
Teams Red Bull Racing , Richard Petty Motorsports