Phoenix II: Allmendinger post-qualifying interview

AJ ALLMENDINGER - No. 43 Insignia/Best Buy Ford Fusion (Qualified 2nd) "As Kurt said, he put up a great lap, especially as early as he went. Nobody could really get near him until the track cooled down a little bit. I knew it was gonna...

AJ ALLMENDINGER - No. 43 Insignia/Best Buy Ford Fusion (Qualified 2nd)

"As Kurt said, he put up a great lap, especially as early as he went. Nobody could really get near him until the track cooled down a little bit. I knew it was gonna be tight there. In qualifying practice we were really good and I just felt like I wanted to go out there and put a solid lap in. I felt like I got everything I could out of the race car there, and I knew Carl was gonna be tough there at the end. I feel good about what everybody is doing on the race team, it's such a tough time here, so I'm just happy and proud of the guys back at the shop and here at the race track. Having Insignia back on the race car is really cool, so it's a good starting spot and now we've just got to put in a good race on Sunday."

HOW HARD IS IT FOR THIS TEAM RIGHT NOW?

"There's no secret right now with what our race team is going through right now. I think it shows my crew guys here and back at the shop and everybody at RPM that there's really two scenarios that can happen in a situation like this - you can try to band together and be stronger and come to the race track more focused, or you can let things start tearing you apart. It's wearing on everybody. It wears on me, but with that said, everybody inside the race team doesn't let it effect each other. Everybody is working well together. With everything they're still having to go through, to build great race cars, Doug Yates and everybody at Ford is still giving us great horsepower. It's a tough thing, but once we get to the race track our cars are here and it's pretty simple, we focus on the job at hand. That's all you can do. You just put your head down and keep working hard and that makes it a lot easier to go out there and run up front and try to sell the race team than struggling and trying to sell the race team. That's all we can do."

WHAT IS IT ABOUT THIS TRACK YOU SEEM TO LIKE?

"It's more Mike Shiplett and the guys. He's got a good setup here. This is a track initially when I came here in '07 that I hated, I struggled here. It's the same thing, it's kind of like Loudon where once you get a good setup there, it makes it easier. For us to go out there in qualifying trim especially we had a really good setup. It's something that we need to work on in race trim. We struggled a little bit in the race here in the spring. In race trim today we were OK, we weren't great, so we definitely have to keep working on it, but once you have a good setup you can start building off of it, instead of just trying to start from scratch and showing up each weekend with a different setup."

IS THERE ANYTHING YOU'VE HEARD ABOUT NEXT YEAR?

"No, honestly we're taking it day-to-day. It's not something I can really focus on and help do anything with. My job is to get in the race car and run strong. We know Richard and everybody there is doing the best they can to go out there and figure out this situation and that's all we ask, so we just focus on day-to-day - just getting to the race track. These next two weeks are really important. We've got Insignia back on the car for the last two races and they've been a huge supporter of this race team throughout the year, and next week we have a huge Ford promotion with 43 Ford Fiestas and have a chance to go out there and win 43 fans a Ford Fiesta, so those are the things I'm focused on. Next year is something that as we go into the off-season we have to learn more about what's happening with the race team, but, honestly, no matter what, I can't do anything about it. I've just got to go out there and do my job and try to make Best Buy and everybody happy and just focus on that."

-source: ford racing

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Series NASCAR Sprint Cup