RACE: STP 500
DATE/TIME: Sunday, April 3 / 1 PM ET
A mere 0.663 seconds separated AJ Allmendinger from victory as he finished second to Kyle Busch behind the wheel of the No. 47 Kroger/Butterfinger/Coffee-mate Chevrolet SS during the STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway Sunday afternoon. It catapulted Allmendinger seven spots to 12th in the driver points standings, only 25 points out of the top 10.
“Well, I was hoping for one more spot, but man that was a lot of fun,” said Allmendinger, who has finished second twice (also 4/1/2012) at Martinsville Speedway. “I passed Jimmie Johnson like five times at Martinsville. That is pretty freaking cool. I just can’t thank everybody on this team enough. Randall Burnett (crew chief), Ernie Cope (competition director), Brain Burns (engineer), Tony Palmer (engineer) for embracing their new roles and everybody really stepping up together, especially Tad and Jodi Geschickter and Brad Daugherty (team owners) for putting all this effort into this team. I can’t thank Kroger, Butterfinger, Coffee-mate enough. Tad is putting so many stickers on this car it’s hard. Thanks Scott Products, Kingsford, Clorox, BUSH'S Beans, The Original Louisiana Hot Sauce, Hungry Jack, Glad, Hidden Valley, Crisco, we’ve got so many sponsors it’s pretty cool to be on this race team right now. Man, I hope the fans enjoyed that and thanks for coming out.”
“I thought we might really have a shot at them”, said Allmendinger. “Randall and all the guys, and the pit crew, I can’t thank them enough. They really stepped it up the last two weeks and gave us a shot to win that race. I had to get aggressive. I thought with 12 (laps) to go we might have a new (Grandfather) clock in the shop, but came up a little bit short with the No. 47 Kroger/Butterfinger/Coffee-mate Chevy today.”
“We just had a really solid weekend as a whole,” Allmendinger said “We had good qualifying, a great happy hour, and early in the race we weren't quite where we wanted to be, and we got our car really, really good on the long runs. That's kind of where I thought we shined. We didn't have great short‑run speed, but after about 30, 40 laps we could really get rolling there. I was kind of hoping we'd stay green the last 120 laps. I figured that wasn't going to happen, but I was praying we had a shot at that because I felt like if that happened we had a great chance to win the race.”
“Overall, it was just a solid weekend from start to finish,” Allmendinger said. “You know, Randall, it’s his first year as crew chief and we had Ernie Cope (competition director) come aboard. They've made a huge difference. My crew chief last year, Brian Burns, who went back to his engineering role, and Tony Palmer, that was the engineer last year, embraced their roles. Everybody is just really working hard and it shows. It's made this team a lot of fun to be around. The team owners really put that extra effort into the race team this year to get the personnel we’ve needed. Anybody that saw our car, we have obviously got the sponsors to perform, as well, and the pit crew has really stepped up and done a good job. The last two weeks they've been awesome. It was just a solid race weekend for us.”
“I was kind of hoping that we'd stay green there at the end because our long‑run car was really good,” Allmendinger said. “I had gotten a little bit more aggressive early in the run to try to stay closer to everybody, and I could see Kyle. I think I had come off Turn 4, and I could see Kyle, I think, going into Turn 1 in a lot of traffic. At that time I was hoping we'd stay green, but I figured we wouldn't. And at that point, our short‑run car wasn't great, so Randall made a great adjustment there to try to be a little bit better on the short run, and it was pretty good on those restarts.”
“For Randall, to be a first‑year crew chief, you wouldn't really know it,” Allmendinger said. “He's great on the box. He calms me, which shockingly I don't know if you guys know that, I probably need that sometimes.”
“It was a great weekend all around for the No. 47 Kroger/Butterfinger/Coffee-mate Chevy team,” Burnett said. “The guys built us a strong car at the shop. The engineers did a nice job coming up with a setup for it. We just executed all weekend. We really had a solid weekend with all the guys here at the track. The pit crew guys today did a great job. AJ did a great job. I told him to take care of his stuff and he did all day long. He stayed on top of it and it showed every run at the end of a run we were the best car on the track. We were really proud of him for taking care of the car all day long.”
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Career Starts: 269
Pole Awards: 4
First Start: 3/25/2007 Bristol
First Pole: 4/10/2010 Phoenix
Last Pole: 8/8/15 Watkins Glen
Best Start: 1 - 4/10/2010 Phoenix
Best Finish: 1 - 8/10/2014 Watkins Glen
Driver DOB: 12/16/1981
Hometown: San Jose, Calif.
Crew Chief: Randall Burnett
Sunday, April 3rd
JTG Daugherty Racing Sponsor Meet & Greets