Luck runs out for Allmendinger at Phoenix

Engine issues, inspection delays and an injured jackman delay progress for No. 47 team at PIR

FONTANA, Calif. – There’s a reason why AJ Allmendinger was cautiously optimistic prior to qualifying at Phoenix International Raceway on Friday.

The 33-year-old racer, who has competed in IndyCar, IMSA and NASCAR has experienced just about everything that can happen inside of a race car.

Off to his best start of any season to since transitioning to stock cars in 2007, Allmendinger was quick to remind, “It’s still early”.

As luck would have it, the No. 47 JTG Daugherty Racing team’s engine overheated during first practice on Saturday. Due to the engine change, Allmendinger was forced to start at the rear of the field for Sunday’s 500. But not before his crew would make four attempts to pass pre-race inspection.

Allmendinger rallied into the top 15 midway through the race but not long after, his Jackman Mike Klein tore his calf muscle and had to be replaced for the remainder of the race. Klein, who is also the team’s pit coach, told he expects to be out of commission for six to eight weeks.

After salvaging a 17th-place finish at Phoenix, Allmendinger was able to maintain a fifth-place finish in the point standings

On Tuesday, the No. 47 team was holding tryouts for a replacement in Klein’s absence. Klein said Zach Young, who has been the jackman for BK Racing, will fill in that role for now.

As for the inspection violation,NASCAR told crew chiefs prior to PIR that “any vehicle that fails Qualifying Inspection more than twice will be subject to a 15 minute practice penalty”. However, prior to the race a sanctioning body spokeswoman said the No. 47 team’s inspection procedure was under review.

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Event Phoenix
Track Phoenix International Raceway
Drivers A.J. Allmendinger
Teams JTG Daugherty Racing
Article type Analysis