Fontana: AJ Allmendinger preview

STATESVILLE, N.C. -- AJ Allmendinger's third-place finish in his first Daytona 500 on Sunday-- his third restrictor plate race--was a career-best and continues the 27-year-old California native's string of good performances since joining Richard...

STATESVILLE, N.C. -- AJ Allmendinger's third-place finish in his first Daytona 500 on Sunday-- his third restrictor plate race--was a career-best and continues the 27-year-old California native's string of good performances since joining Richard Petty Motorsports.

This weekend Allmendinger and the rest of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers travel to Fontana, Calif. for the 500-mile race on the two-mile, D-shaped oval.

* Allmendinger has scored the 11th most points of any Sprint Cup driver in the six races since joining the Petty team.

* Allmendinger hopes to run a full season 2009 but is scheduled for only eight races. The team is searching for additional funding to race Allmendinger the entire season in the No. 44 Dodge.

Allmendinger on Daytona --"I've been asked a lot this week whether I wanted the race to re start at the end. You know, for the fan's sake I wish it could have restarted. I wish we could have given them 500 miles and I think everyone knows it would have been a pretty wild ending. For our team's sake, we would have loved to have had a chance to win the Daytona 500, but leaving there with a third-place finish isn't all that bad. I'm not going to complain."

Allmendinger on California --"I want to do well at any track. But winning at California Speed way would be extra special. I have a lot of friends and family and I'd like to perform well in front of them. This is where the season really begins. We only run four restrictor plate races but we race a lot on the two-mile and mile-and-a-half tracks. The teams that do well on tracks like this are the teams that are going to be fighting for a place in the "Chase."

Robbie Loomis -- Team Competition Director-- On Testing Ban Impact at California: "It'll be a lot different. We usually have the luxury of testing California and Vegas in January. Every year I think it seems like California gets rougher and rougher under the California sun. It seems like every time we go out there the bumps get bigger and the grip level seems to be less. We are looking forward to getting out there and getting a down-force track under our belts."

Chassis Info
Primary: 270--new chassis
Backup: 258-- Served as Kasey Kahne's Dover car in 2008.

* The lead dog in the movie Marley and Me was partly played by Misty the dog owned by AJ and Lynne Allmendinger.

* Allmendinger is a five-time winner in the Champ Car World Series.

* Allmendinger finished fifth in the Budweiser Shootout in Daytona and third in the Daytona 500.

* Allmendinger qualified second and finished 14th at this race last year.

-credit: rpm

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Richard Petty , Kasey Kahne , Robbie Loomis