A.J. Allmendinger is having a remarkable rookie season. He sits second in the Formula Dodge National Championship points tally on the strength of consistent and error-free drives, the kind that make him a fixture on the podium. After securing his...
A.J. Allmendinger is having a remarkable rookie season. He sits second in the Formula Dodge National Championship points tally on the strength of consistent and error-free drives, the kind that make him a fixture on the podium. After securing his first podium in the season opener at Sebring, he went into a mid-season tear that saw him collect five consecutive podiums, a streak that was only recently interrupted. He even leapt up to contest three Barber Dodge Pro Series races during the season. So it was easy to overlook the Californian's latest accomplishment in Skip Barber Race Series play. Friday's victory from pole was the karting champion's first ever in a racecar.
The Barber-CART Karting Scholarship winner was one of several Formula Dodge National Championship regulars that came to Lime Rock Park early, to contest the Eastern Regional Series finale and, of course, get insight into next week's Round 9 action. Also from the National Championship camp were fellow Barber-CART Karting Scholarship winner Ben Moore, Robbie Montinola, Burt Frisselle, Grant Maiman and series points leader Julio Campos. Each talented racer saw winning as a possibility but intelligence gathering as mandatory.
In the first of two races, Allmendinger squandered his pole position advantage early, but overcame his poor start to work his way up to second by lap 10. The former karting champion then put his head down to run down Floridian Scott Poirier from five seconds back, take the point and capture the win.
"Friday's win was great. I think Scott's a terrific driver and being able to track him down does a lot for my confidence. I felt very strong after that race."
The second race was more eventful. Rain threatened and fell early, resulting in multiple spins, off-track excursions but remarkably no crash damage. Racers who had just gotten familiar with one race line had to learn a new one as wet and slippery Lime Rock Park took on a whole new perspective.
"Saturday's race was fantastic," said Allmendinger. "I was actually hoping for rain. To get a split of weather over the weekend; one sunny day and one rainy day, provides me with invaluable information since I've never raced a car in the rain."
Allmendinger led most of the race but, as many did, went four-off with 2 laps to go and had to pit. He went on to finish fourth, narrowly missing a second podium at Lime Rock.
"I learned a lot and that's what most important. Going into next weekend, I'm very confident of how I'm going to do. I'm comfortable with the track and confident no matter what the weather is. Hopefully, I'll get my first National Championship win and close down the points gap on Julio [Campos]. That's my goal; to win the race. That's what I'm going there for."