THE STATE OF THE RED BULLS Top-10 finish No. 1 is in the bag, and AJ Allmendinger has no reason to think No. 2 -- or better -- can't come at Pocono Raceway. He finished a career-best 10th in Sunday's Allstate 400 at Indianapolis, a difficult...
THE STATE OF THE RED BULLS
Top-10 finish No. 1 is in the bag, and AJ Allmendinger has no reason to think No. 2 -- or better -- can't come at Pocono Raceway.
He finished a career-best 10th in Sunday's Allstate 400 at Indianapolis, a difficult race where tire wear and competition cautions determined the outcome. But crew chief Jimmy Elledge played the strategy game to near perfection, and the No. 84 team, as AJ said, has "got it goin' on."
The 10th-place showing followed a 13th-place run at Chicago, and now Tthe No. 84 Red Bull oyota sits a mere 63 points out of the top 35.
"There's no reason we should run worse, and probably much better," AJ said of Pocono, where he finished 12th in June. "I'm looking forward to it. I hated Pocono last year with a passion. This year, it was a lot of fun. We're on a roll, and what makes these other teams good is they do it every weekend. You have to run consistent every week. If we can have four or five good races in a row, we'll easily be in the top 35."
A faulty valve spring was the root of Brian Vickers' 42nd-place finish at Indianapolis. He dropped a spot in the driver standings to 15th -- 132 points from the Chase's 12th and final berth.
But if there's any place for Brian to rebound it's Pocono. He earned Red Bull Racing Team's best finish of second in June, lowering his average start there to 8.8 and average finish to 13.0. Only twice in nine Pocono starts has Brian failed to finish inside the top 15. Brian Vickers, driver, No. 83: "We have to worry about this Sunday. Indy is a tough one to swallow, especially when you're battling for the Chase. It (the Indy engine) seemed to be down on power early, and just got worse and worse and worse. We're not out of this thing yet, but we can't have this happen again. You're worried about going into the next race, and if it happens again, I don't know if we can overcome that."
AJ Allmendinger, driver, No. 84: "When you've finished well at a track, it gives you confidence that you can do it again. We're also riding a wave of momentum right now, having our career-best finish at Indy (10th), and another really good finish in Chicago (13th), so it's been a positive couple weeks for my 84 crew. Last time in Pocono, we ran in the top five to top 10 the whole race, but strategy didn't play in our favor. We ended up taking home a 12th-place finish, when I think we could have finished in the top 10. Strategy is where Jimmy Elledge shines though. He's just good at knowing the right strategy at the right times, good at knowing how to get your car up front, and once you get up front, its a lot easier to stay there."
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