AJ ALLMENDINGER No. 43 Best Buy Ford Fusion
• Allmendinger enters the race in 16th place in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver point standings
• Allmendinger’s best finish (11th) at the two-mile track came during the spring race in 2010
AJ Allmendinger on Michigan: “We’re excited to be headed to Michigan for the second time. Our Best Buy Ford was decent there when we were there a couple of months ago and I know that Greg Erwin has a lot of really good ideas on how to improve our performance there. It’s a great track to race on. It's big, fast and has a wide racing groove. We’ve got the horsepower we’ll need from our FR9 engine, but we’ll have to work around the fuel mileage part of it some. I’m looking forward to getting back there. Greg has brought a lot to this team in the short time he’s been here and I think we could really have a good weekend in our Best Buy Ford.”
Crew Chief Greg Erwin’s Keys to Getting Around Michigan: “The key to Michigan is not to get too caught up in what you did there a couple of months ago because that track tends to have a little different characteristic later in the summer than it did earlier in the year. You spend a lot of time trying to make the front end turn, while working to keep the rear tires on it. It’s a pretty aggressive, fairly abusive place on tires and you see a lot of tire fall off. We’re looking forward to getting back to a more standardized racetrack. If you exclude Indy and Pocono, this is a place a little more conventional that we run at. Looking at how well AJ was able to run there a couple of months ago, that has certainly helped his confidence some and he knows he can run in the top five or top six there and that’s what we need to shoot for. That track always seems to give you a little different flavor in the fall than it does in the earlier part of the summer.”
Chassis History: The No. 43 RPM team has prepared chassis No. 742 for this weekend’s Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway. This Best Buy Ford Fusion has been run previously this season on several occasions, including the races in Kentucky, Charlotte, N.C. and Fontana, Calif.
Notes: Allmendinger finished 13th in the June race on the two-mile, Brooklyn, Mich. oval.
MARCOS AMBROSE No. 9 Stanley Ford Fusion
• Ambrose has made six career starts at Michigan International Speedway
• Ambrose’s best finish at the two-mile oval (15th) came in both races in 2010
• Ambrose enters the race in 22nd place in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver point standings
Ambrose on Michigan: “I love Michigan. I think it’s a great race track. We just came off of our first Cup Series win and we’ve got great momentum heading into this weekend. We did well there earlier in the year and I feel like we’ve got a chance to run in the top 10 and contend for another win. We’ve got to have a good setup in the Stanley Ford and I’ve got to be aggressive. The track gets really wide and the speed is going to fall off in the corners. I have to use the race track and I can’t be scared to run up on the fence or down on the apron. We’ve got to have car speed and then manage the aerodynamics so that we don’t get stuck out of the draft. I’ve just got to be smart about how I race this weekend so we have a chance at getting the Stanley Ford and RPM in Victory Lane two weekends in a row.”
Ambrose on the Wild Card Spot in the Chase: “The win is what you need, no doubt. We’ve got to try and win two now. I don’t even really know the point system well enough to talk about the wild card. I just know that I have to go win races and finish well in the top 10 from here to the end and that’s what I’m going to try and do. Everybody is just going at it with this new point system. You know the top 10s reward you well for points and top 20s don’t get it done, so I think it’s a combination of all those things. It’s going to get to be a frenzy here before the end, I’m sure.”
Crew Chief Todd Parrott’s Thoughts on Last Week’s Win: “If you’re patient and you keep working hard, sooner or later you’ll be able to celebrate the good things that happen because of it. Marcos has kept his head down and worked hard, just like our whole team has, and it’s just a pleasure to work with a guy like that. We get along great and I think each week the communication gets better and I’m just really looking forward to the end of the season. Hopefully, we can go out and win a couple of races. We’ve been good on the ovals. We’ve had some great runs this year and chances to win at a couple of race tracks, but I think getting this win and getting all the load off of his shoulders is going to help him, I think, mentally, and it’ll help us as a team knowing that we can win, that we can go out here with the Kyle Buschs, and the Juan Pablo Montoyas and the Jimmie Johnsons and all the great drivers that are out here in this sport and we can win in our Stanley Ford.”
Chassis History: The No. 9 RPM team has prepared chassis No. 784 for the 400-mile Pure Michigan 400 at the Brooklyn, Mich. track. This is a brand new Ford Fusion specially prepared for this event.
Australian Word of the Week: Yabber—Talk (A lot)
Ambrose will be pulling double duty this weekend as he competes in the Cup Series event in Michigan as well as the NASCAR Nationwide Series event at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal, Canada on Saturday afternoon. Since Ambrose and Cup Series Crew Chief, Todd Parrott, will be busy racing in Michigan, fellow Tasmanian Owen Kelly will jump in the driver’s seat of the No. 9 Stanley Ford in Montreal on Friday for practice and qualifying and Chad Norris will act as crew chief for the weekend. Kelly is a former V8 Supercar driver who made his NASCAR Nationwide Series debut last year at Road America in Wisconsin, and Norris is a former NASCAR Nationwide Series crew chief with one win, nine Top-five and 21 Top-10 finishes. Ambrose’s Cup Series pit crew will also act as his pit crew for the Nationwide Series race.