Chicagoland: AJ Allmendinger preview

STATESVILLE, N.C-- AJ Allmendinger makes his second career appearance at Chicagoland Speedway Saturday night. His lone start at the Joliet, Ill. track produced a 13th-place finish in 2008. At the season's halfway mark, Allmendinger is 29th in ...

STATESVILLE, N.C-- AJ Allmendinger makes his second career appearance at Chicagoland Speedway Saturday night. His lone start at the Joliet, Ill. track produced a 13th-place finish in 2008. At the season's halfway mark, Allmendinger is 29th in points-- 11 spots higher than at this point in 2008. He thinks his Richard Petty Motorsports Dodge will climb higher in the standings in the coming weeks.

DAYTONA-- "It was typical restrictor plate racing. I didn't think we would get a top five, but there at the end another car put us in the wall. We fixed the car but fell back in the pack. We climbed back pretty decent in the final four laps but got caught up in that mess at the finish line. It was a pretty hard hit, but I'm fine."

CHICAGOLAND-- "We're due a good run and I'm pretty optimistic about Saturday night. I like this track. Our engines are getting better, our cars are getting lighter and the results with all the Petty cars are starting to show that more and more."

SEASON- "We think we are a better team than 29th. We've run better than a lot of our finishes. Something has happened that's hurt our finishes whether its getting caught in someone else's wreck like Saturday night or something just goes wrong. We have made big gains throughout this season and we think the second half of this season is going to be a lot better than the first half."

* This race marks Allmendinger's 63rd start in Sprint Cup.

* For in-race twitter updates on Allmendinger and the Petty team follow: rpmotorsports, drewbrownrpm or rbarry1024.

* Allmendinger is a weekly columnist at www.racer.com

* Allmendinger is twittering for his fan club members at: www.ajallmendinger.com

* "Tweet of the Week" Allmendinger's best tweet came after former teammate Justin Wilson won Sunday's Indy Racing League race at Watkins Glen. He wrote: "Jwil is the man. Happy for him. Owned Penske and Ganassi with by far a worse team. He is a pimp and the best indy car driver out there."

* Allmendinger will sign autographs at his merchandise hauler at 2:10 p.m. on Saturday at Chicagoland.

-credit: rpm

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Series NASCAR-CUP