Richard Petty Motorsports Darlington preview

Darlington Raceway 500

AJ ALLMENDINGER No. 43 Best Buy Ford Fusion

AJ Allmendinger on Darlington: “Darlington is such a tough track, maybe one of the toughest we race on all season. I don’t think anyone walks out of there with their car unscathed. There is definitely truth to why the track is called “Too Tough To Tame.” But I love it. With Richmond last weekend, it’s cool to have back-to-back Saturday night races too. Darlington, like Richmond, has been a part of the sport for a long time, so the history-side of it is pretty cool too.

“Qualifying is going to be important for the Best Buy Ford this weekend. It’d be great to qualify up front and get ahead from the start of the race. Mike Shiplett and this No. 43 team have worked really hard. We’ve made some progress in the point standings but there is still progress to be made. I’m excited and ready to get at it.”

A.J. Allmendinger
A.J. Allmendinger

Photo by: Motorsport.com / ASP Inc.

Crew Chief Mike Shiplett’s Thoughts on Darlington: “You still run the same line that you ran at the old Darlington before they repaved it, but the tire wear doesn't come into play like it used to. They only lose about two tenths over a fuel run. The track is really fast, the tires get really hot and you lose overall grip, but the speed is still there. You need a car that turns really good at Darlington. Qualifying is going to be really important because it’s really hard to pass. We’re looking forward to getting the Best Buy Ford Fusion back on track after our seventh place finish last weekend and improving even more this weekend in the point standings.”

Chassis History: The No. 43 RPM team has prepared chassis No. 729 for this weekend’s event at Darlington Raceway. This Best Buy Ford has been run previously this season at Phoenix and Martinsville.

Notes: Allmendinger has four NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts at Darlington Raceway. Allmendinger’s best starting position (12th) came in 2010 at the 1.366-mile track. He has completed 1,253 of 1,468 laps attempted. After Allmendinger’s seventh-place finish last weekend in Richmond, he enters Darlington in 11th position in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver point standings.

Allmendinger’s No. 43 Ford Fusion will return to its blue and yellow colors as Best Buy will be the primary partner this weekend at Darlington Raceway.

Allmendinger will be signing autographs at the Richard Petty Motorsports merchandise hauler Saturday, May 7 at 4:00 p.m. The first 75 guest in line at the merchandise hauler will receive a ticket that will allow them to take part in the autograph session.

Come join in on the fun! Petty Fest is this Friday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Richard Petty Museum in Randleman, N.C. Get there early because admission is just $5, but the first 92 people get in FREE! Activities include music by Rock 92, wine tasting, a silent auction, racing simulators, games, give-a-ways and much more. Richard Petty will also make an appearance at 11:30 a.m., so don’t miss out on your opportunity to meet “The King”.

Did you vote today? Vote your favorite RPM driver into the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race on May 21, via the Sprint Fan Vote. Cast your vote at www.nascar.com/promos/allstar/ or on your Sprint phone. Voting ends at 5 p.m. ET on May 21. Voting is limited to once per hour.

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MARCOS AMBROSE No. 9 Stanley Ford Fusion

Marcos Ambrose, Petty Motorsport Ford
Marcos Ambrose, Petty Motorsport Ford

Photo by: Ashley Dickerson, ASP Inc.

Ambrose on Darlington Raceway: “Darlington has been tough for me in the past. I haven’t done all that well in both races I have run there in a Sprint Cup Series stockcar. I have struggled to qualify well and struggled to get the car comfortable during the race as the tires wear off, but I’m looking forward to going back there with my new team and a new car. I feel confident that the Stanley Ford Fusion is going to have a solid day. It’s a tough track to get a hold of.

“I have a great group of guys behind me with my Richard Petty Motorsports crew and I know they are working hard to give me a fast car this weekend. We’ve had a bad string of luck lately and I’m hoping to turn that around at Darlington and get some of that momentum back we had going for us early in the season.”

Crew Chief Todd Parrott’s Keys to Getting Around Darlington: “Stay out of the wall. Darlington Raceway is famous for being known as the “Lady in Black.” Darlington is long race and you have to be paying attention every lap and in every corner because it’s very treacherous and she’ll reach out and bite you at any moment. We have to make sure the Stanley car gets into the corner well and rolls through the center well, with good drive off of the corner. You can run better at Darlington if the car is a little tight and you have a little tug on the wheel. The race starts in the daytime and ends at night, so chasing the track will be one of the things we will focus on. It’s just a treacherous old lady.”

Chassis History: The No. 9 RPM team has prepared chassis No. 653 for the 367-lap event at Darlington Raceway. This Stanley Ford Fusion is new this season and has not been previously tested in 2011.

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Notes: Ambrose has two NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts at Darlington Raceway. His best start (seventh) at the 1.366-mile track came in last year’s event. Ambrose has an average starting position of 8.5 at Darlington. Ambrose enters the weekend in 23rd position in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver point standings.

Ambrose’s car will have a different look this weekend as Stanley will return as the primary partner of the No. 9 Ford Fusion.

Ambrose will participate in a 15 minute Q-and-A session in Darlington Raceway’s Fan Zone on Saturday from 3:30-3:45 p.m.

Can get enough of Ambrose? Marcos will visit the Ford Display on Saturday at 3:55 p.m. for a 15 minute Q-and-A session.

Did you vote today? Vote your favorite RPM driver into the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race on May 21, via the Sprint Fan Vote. Cast your vote at www.nascar.com/promos/allstar/ or on your Sprint phone. Voting ends at 5 p.m. ET on May 21. Voting is limited to once per hour.

-source: rpm

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About this article
Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Richard Petty , Marcos Ambrose , A.J. Allmendinger
Teams Richard Petty Motorsports
Tags allmendinger, ford, menard, sprint cup