A.J. Allmendinger: "I’ve got no job. I’m going out to win"
Sunday’s Bank of America 400 on the Roval course at Charlotte Motor Speedway couldn’t come at a better time for A.J. Allmendinger.
He’s struggled through some difficult seasons recently in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and earlier this week JTG Daugherty Racing announced he would not return to their No. 47 Chevrolet next season.
Out of job and his future in NASCAR unclear, Allmendinger entered the uncertainty of this weekend’s first race on the 2.28-mile, 17-turn Roval course with, as he said, “nothing to lose.”
“Nobody likes losing their ride,” Allmendinger said Friday at CMS. “But the more time I sit and think about it and talk about it with my family, literally a year and a half, it hasn’t been fun. We’ve struggled. It’s hard on everybody.
“This year I’ve probably been a different person at the race track and at home. The possibility of not having a paycheck coming can be scary, but change can also be a very good thing, and I think it will be.”
Having the pace to win at the Roval
So far this weekend, Allmendinger is showing he still has plenty to gain.
Allmendinger was fast in Friday’s lone Cup practice session and then qualified second for Sunday’s race, his best starting position since he started second at Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway in the 2016 season.
“Change can be scary sometimes, but it’s not always a bad thing and I think it can be a good thing on both ends,” he said. “You know what, we go out there and win Sunday, we are still going in enjoy it as much as whether I had a full-time job with them or not.
“My strategy is to go out there and try to win it. I’ve got no job, it doesn’t matter. I’m going out to win. Laying back, you are not going to win the race. Track position is going to be critical. Strategy is going to be critical to stay up front. For certain people – teams and drivers – that is probably the right decision.
“But for me, I’ve got nothing to lose.”
What the future holds
Regardless of Sunday’s result or the remainder of this season, Allmendinger will leave JTG Daugherty as the driver to earn the organization its first Cup series win.
Allmendinger, 36, first joined JTG Daugherty midway through the 2013 Cup season. He is now in the midst of his fifth fulltime season with the organization. His lone win came at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International in 2014.
In 363 career Cup starts, Allmendinger has 11 top-five and 55 top-10 finishes and has won four poles. The native of Los Gatos, Calif., is a five-time race winner in the former CART series and won the 2012 24 Hours at Daytona race with Michael Shank Racing. He also is a two-winner in the Xfinity Series.
As for his future prospects in NASCAR or racing in general, Allmendinger said he is going to take some time to examine his options.
“It’s been a tough couple of years, so (I’m going to) take my time and figure it out and you know if there is a plan that God has for me to be in the sport next year, I will be here,” he said.
“If not, I will figure something else out.”
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