Michigan II: Red Bull Racing preview

For the first time in 53 races, AJ Allmendinger enters a weekend with a certain sense of comfort. His No. 84 Red Bull Toyota is in the top 35, and that status guarantees him a starting spot at Michigan. "For me," AJ said, "it won't be the...

For the first time in 53 races, AJ Allmendinger enters a weekend with a certain sense of comfort. His No. 84 Red Bull Toyota is in the top 35, and that status guarantees him a starting spot at Michigan.

"For me," AJ said, "it won't be the anxiety of, ‘Oh my God, we have to make this race.'"

AJ has reeled off four consecutive finishes inside the top 20 since the addition of crew chief Jimmy Elledge, with three of those being 13th or better. After an 11th-place showing Sunday at Watkins Glen, the No. 84 jumped from 37th to the coveted 35th position in car owner points. He's in the show — regardless of what disaster strikes in the Irish Hills.

"It's a big deal for at least one week," AJ said. "But we're only in (the top 35) by eight points, and I don't want to say we're good. All it takes is one little mistake, mechanical or driver error, and we're right back out. Friday will definitely be a much better day this week, but we want to keep building on the momentum. I don't want to just be in the top 35. I want to keep looking forward."

Teammate Brian Vickers finished 18th at Watkins Glen and dropped one spot in points to 17th. Four races, five rivals and 210 points separate Brian from the top 12, but Michigan is the track to begin a late dash to the Chase.

In Brian's last visit to Michigan in June, he led 44 laps before finishing fourth. He owns one top five and four top 10s at the wide, 2-mile track.

-credit: rbr

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Brian Vickers
Teams Red Bull Racing