Allmendinger talks Texas

AJ Allmendinger is hoping for a successful run at Texas.

Week-to-week: “Ultimately, I try to focus on each weekend leading up to that race. Especially with the new race packages, every weekend is different, but at the same time I’m excited to go to Texas," Allmendinger said. "That’s because of the success we’ve already had and the speed we have shown at the mile-and-a-halfs and the things that the guys are doing at the shop right now makes us feel like we have learned over the last couple of weeks how to make our Texas car quicker just with some of the updates we have done. Some of the ideas we have come up with on our own and with the RCR (Richard Childress Racing) alliance and everything combined, I’m looking forward to it."

Fruits of labor: “We spent so much effort with planning to make a big transition like we did over the winter and you certainly hope it comes together quickly,” JTG Daugherty Racing co-owner Tad Geschickter said. “To see it come together in the first five to six races and start to get the finishes we deserve has been huge for us and definitely gives us more confidence in all the decisions we made. Watching the race at Auto Club Speedway a couple weeks ago, I think I walked 12 miles in a small circle behind the pits and paced holes in my shoes during that race. We have had really good speed this year. We have just had circumstances the first four races where we did not get the finishes we deserved. I think a part of becoming a great team is that you learn how to win.”

A.J. Allmendinger, JTG Daugherty Racing Chevrolet
A.J. Allmendinger, JTG Daugherty Racing Chevrolet

Photo by: Action Sports Photography

Desired results: “We are way more competitive than what our results have showed,” Allmendinger said. “Something bit us or something happened out of the ordinary or bad luck or misfortune the first few races. Auto Club Speedway was the first race where we feel like that didn’t happen and then we had a solid run at Martinsville Speedway. So, we finally are getting to show everybody what we knew already. We are a small team, but we are given all these resources now and we are just as capable as a lot of bigger teams. That top-10 at California did help us with our confidence and reassuring us that we can do it. At Daytona International Speedway, it was a brake failure in a parts flaw and we had to change a caliper during the race. At Phoenix International Raceway, we had a clutch issue with the setting being off just a little bit and the car jumped off the jack during a pit stop and that bit us. Bad luck at Bristol Motor Speedway pitting a lap before the caution comes out and put us a few laps down and we were never able to recover from it. A lot of little things like that hurt us.”

Tire management: “The teams are pushing so hard right now to find every little advantage that is possible out there and any amount of grip you can find over the next competitor makes a huge difference,” Allmendinger said. “At California (Auto Club Speedway) a couple weeks ago, I feel like our race team did a good job to avoid those tires deals. It’s hard to say about Texas Motor Speedway, but I don’t think we will have any problems there. We go to Texas twice a year and at Fontana (Calif.) you go there only once in March. You don’t see the track again for a whole year and then you come back again with obviously the rules changes with the ride heights. I don’t think we will see tire problems at Texas, but all the teams are trying to find every advantage they can get.”

The season thus far: “That’s what’s been really great about the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season so far. The first six races, there have been six different winners. You really don’t know whose going to be quick. The field is so tight this year. I feel like the depth of the field – at least over the last four of five years that I’ve been in NASCAR – it’s probably the best it has ever been. You can have anywhere from 20 to 25 cars that have a legitimate shot at winning the race. It really plays out with strategy and what you can do to get track position. Texas is going to be a great race."

Alliance continues to be beneficial: “The biggest thing is that with the new rules package without the alliance (with Richard Childress Racing), I think we would be really behind right now because there are so many different spring and shock combinations that you can do and I don’t think anybody has really nailed it yet,” Allmendinger said. “The alliance has really helped us to get settled into that and have more cars to bounce notes off of and so we can figure out which direction to go. I think that has been huge in helping us. Having more horsepower and better race cars always helps, but also I think us learning each other myself, Brian (Burns) and the engineering staff is crucial. It’s important to go in a direction I’m comfortable with each race weekend and using what we get from RCR, but also saying we know this is what works for us is a big deal. I really feel and I hope as each race goes on that we are going to keep getting better. California (Auto Club Speedway) was good because in a way it got a little bit of a monkey off our back saying, ‘Okay, we got that number now. We finally got that top-10 finish.' To say, 'Hey, if we do the right things we can run up front.’ It’s just the same thing every weekend trying to work on being better. The Fridays are really important for us right now because that is where we unload and we struggle at times and it puts us so far behind. Then during qualifying, we are trying to figure out what we need to do and it sets the tone for the weekend. If we get better on Fridays, our weekends as a whole are going to be a lot better.”

Latin flair: “Over the past few weeks, we have had some fun with the fans as we sampled and promoted some contests featuring BUSH'S® Grillin' Beans®,” Allmendinger said. "But this week, we are switching gears and adding a little spice to our menu. My crew and I will be conducting a little taste test to determine which flavor of BUSH'S® Cocina Latina beans we like best. Since we are racing in Texas, the same weekend that the Final Four will be taking place right down the road, and everything is big in Texas, we decided to make a Texas sized platter of nachos and put one can of each of the four Cocina Latina beans on each corner of the platter and conduct our own little Final Four tournament of flavors. I like lots of spice, so I can already tell that I will lean towards the Pintos a la Diabla but you can always tone down the spice with cheese and sour cream if you want. My mouth is already watering just thinking about it."

JTG Daugherty Racing

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers A.J. Allmendinger
Teams Richard Childress Racing , JTG Daugherty Racing
Article type Preview
Tags aj allmendinger, chevrolet, jtg dauherty racing, latin, motor speedway, texas