AJ Allmendinger and the No. 41 Imation Dodge Team Facts: * AJ is Back: A.J. Allmendinger is returning to the Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates (CGRFS) lineup this weekend at Phoenix International Raceway (PIR) to pilot the No.41 ...
AJ Allmendinger and the No. 41 Imation Dodge
* AJ is Back: A.J. Allmendinger is returning to the Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates (CGRFS) lineup this weekend at Phoenix International Raceway (PIR) to pilot the No.41 Imation Dodge in the Arizona Travel 200. Allmendinger first raced for CGRFS earlier this year at California Speedway in the No.42 Memorex Dodge. He went on to compete in four more races, totaling five NASCAR Busch Series starts altogether for CGRFS. Allmendinger is the full-time driver of the No.84 Red Bull Toyota in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series. Team Red Bull and CGRFS reached an agreement earlier this season that allowed Allmendinger to drive the No.42 car. The two teams extended the agreement earlier this week to put Allmendinger in the No.41 Dodge for the final two races of the 2007 season. Allmendinger is originally from Los Gatos, Calif. He started racing in open-wheel, in which just last year he collected five CHAMP car victories.
* Coming Home to Tucson: Todd Drakulich, the No.41 Imation front tire carrier, is originally from Tucson, Ariz. Drakulich has been working in NASCAR for the last three years, starting in 2004 at Ultra Motorsports carrying tires for the No.1 NASCAR Craftsman Truck of Ted Musgrave. Since then, he has also carried for the No.99 and No.21 Busch teams before joining CGRFS earlier this year to work on both the No.41 and No.42 Busch teams. Drakulich has been involved in racing for more than seven years. He started his motorsports career, helping out at Tucson Raceway Park on the weekends. He is a 1998 graduate of Amphitheatre High School.
* Standings Update: The No.41 CGRFS Busch team is 18th in the overall NASCAR Busch Series (NBS) owner ranks. With a current tally of 3,374 points, the team is just 88 away from the top 15.
* Chassis: Allmendinger will make his sixth NBS start this weekend in chassis #754. This is the same car that carried Reed Sorenson and the No.41 Wrigley's Juicy Fruit team to their first victory of the 2007 season this past July, which marked Sorenson's second win at Gateway International Raceway. The same car also helped Sorenson and team score a top-15 start and top-10 finish at New Hampshire International Speedway in late June.
Dario Franchitti and the No. 42 Target Dodge Team Facts:
* Franchitti To Race this Weekend and Next: Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates (CGRFS) announced today driver Dario Franchitti will make his third and fourth appearances in the NASCAR Busch Series (NBS) on November 10 at Phoenix International Raceway (PIR) and November 17 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. This weekend's run will mark the next step in Franchitti's stock car learning curve, as he races again under the guidance of CGRFS crew chief Brian Pattie. Last month, CGRFS announced Franchitti had signed a multi-year agreement with the organization to compete in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) beginning in 2008. Franchitti will become the first European driver in the 59-year history of NASCAR to join the series full-time when he assumes the driving duties of No. 40 Dodge Avenger next season.
* Looking Back: Dario Franchitti's most recent stock car effort was this past Saturday's NBS race at Texas Motor Speedway, where he scored an 18th-place start and 25th-place finish. Before that, he raced at the Memphis Motorsports Park in late October, during which he qualified an impressive third on the grid in the third race of his stock car development schedule, and ran in the top 15 for over 75% of the race. His brake pedal failed on lap 192 resulting in unavoidable contact with the rear of the No.77 car. He finished the race running in the 32nd position. Prior to Memphis, Franchitti competed in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at Martinsville Speedway and the ARCA race at Talladega Superspeedway.
* He's got talent: Franchitti joins CGRFS with impressive open-wheel credentials. The 34-year-old recently captured the 2007 Indianapolis 500 title, becoming only the second Scottish-born driver to win the race (Jim Clark in 1965), before going on to win the 2007 IndyCar Series Championship over Ganassi driver Scott Dixon in the final turn of the season. With over 180 starts under his belt between the CART and IndyCar Series resulting in 18 wins, 17 poles, 63 top-five and 95 top-10 finishes (1997-2007), Franchitti is the winningest driver in U.S. open-wheel history from Great Britain. He also captured the prestigious 12 Hours of Sebring in the LMP2 Class earlier this season in his first ever American Le Mans Series start -- much like Montoya did in February at the Rolex 24 At Daytona for CGRFS in his first sports car start.
* Chassis: Crew chief Brian Pattie and his Target crew are pulling out chassis #753 to race this Saturday at Phoenix International Raceway (PIR). The car helped the No.42 team and CGRFS development driver Kevin Hamlin score their second-straight top-10 finish in late July. The team came home with a seventh-place finish from Gateway International Raceway on July 21 and then the following weekend they pulled out chassis #753 to turn a 30th-place starting position into an eighth-place finish with Hamlin at the O'Reilly Raceway Park in Indianapolis, Ind.