AJ ALLMENDINGER - No. 43 Insignia/Best Buy Ford Fusion (Qualified 2nd) "For us it was just another solid day. Over the last month I've felt like everybody at Richard Petty Motorsports, but especially the 43, my team has been really strong. We...
AJ ALLMENDINGER - No. 43 Insignia/Best Buy Ford Fusion (Qualified 2nd)
"For us it was just another solid day. Over the last month I've felt like everybody at Richard Petty Motorsports, but especially the 43, my team has been really strong. We unload strong. We have good Fridays and good Saturdays and the races have been going really well, so today was just another portion of that. We went out there and were really fast in race trim, I felt. We did a couple of runs there and went right into qualifying trim and went really fast. I would have liked to have had the pole. When you've got the 48 behind you it's tough to hold on, but, more importantly, the confidence that my race team and I are building together is the most important thing. I'm excited about tomorrow with getting some practice in. The track is gonna change a lot and that's what we've got to focus on, but I'm really excited about my car on Sunday."
YOU GUYS ARE COMING AROUND NOW. DO YOU FEEL MORE COMFORTABLE IN THE CAR?
"For me, it's my first full year working with all the 43 guys and this is Richard Petty Motorsports' first year working with Ford. We have the alliance with Roush Fenway and the beginning of the year was tough. We were trying to learn a lot of new things. Everybody was trying to find their place inside the company and where that belonged. I felt like we kind of got on a good path in the middle of the season. We were having a lot of solid top-10, top-15 runs and then the last six weeks or so we kind of got off track and were struggling. We had a good run at Watkins Glen, but that was about it. And then over the last month, just inside the team we made a couple of changes engineering-wise helping all of us out and I feel like that's really got us back on path. Over the last three weeks, and counting today now, we've just been getting better. We've had good races. We need to minimize our mistakes during the races, but, overall, I feel like our cars are really strong. We're really fast and they're really consistent, which is the biggest deal. For the chasers, to me, you never want to be the guy that goes out there and gets into the side of one of them and possibly cost them a championship or anything like that, but, to be honest with you, I could really care less about if they're out there racing for a championship. They've got a lot more to lose than I do. I'm not gonna go and intentionally get in anybody's way, but I'm out there to win. I'm out there to get Insignia/Best Buy a victory and the way I look at it, they've got a lot more to lose than I do, so they've got to be more cautious than me."
COMING FROM OPEN WHEEL, WHAT DO YOU LIKE AT DOVER NOW THAT YOU'VE HAD A CHANCE TO GET USED TO COMING HERE?
"I think ultimately, Mark said it the best, it's a cool place. It's fast, there's a lot of banking in it. To me, the corners narrow up so much on the exit and you're going so fast that you're almost on edge every lap. You don't ever feel like you can relax because when you do relax it'll jump out and bite you, so, as a race car driver and me especially, I think it puts you on your A-game every lap that you run. It's a really fun place. I can't really say much more than Mark said. It's just an awesome place. I've really enjoyed it. Even the first year I came here. I remember I showed up and I was running the truck race and the Cup race. We had a truck practice on Thursday and my crew chief wouldn't let me out for the first 20 minutes. He wanted me to just watch. He said, 'Kind of watch the straightaways, but watch off of turn four.' I'm like, 'What do you mean, and watch off of turn four? I have to. That's what I'm supposed to do. I'm supposed to learn.' And I think Hornaday came off of four the first lap and the wheels didn't look like they were touching the ground and I was like, 'I retire. Screw that (laughter). I'm not doing that. That's unfair. I'm not doing that.' It's an amazing place when you get on it. You feel like the bottom drops out from under you when you get in the corners and then come back and they try to bite you on the exit. It's just an awesome place to race and just drive in general."
-source: ford racing