Track: Bristol Motor Speedway
Event: Irwin Tools Night Race
Race Date / Time: Saturday, August 23rd / 7:30 PM ET
TV / Radio: ABC / PRN / SiriusXM
Bristol Motor Speedway: “I think Bristol Motor Speedway is such a unique track," Allmendinger said. "I love the Bristol night race so much because there is such great energy. It is summer night racing at its finest. It is what the sport was based off of. You get so many people coming out for that race and it is really cool to look up and see everyone. There are flash bulbs going off and just all sorts of stuff going on. It is just a cool race, but it is a grueling night. You are in for a long night and you know it whether the car is good or bad. You are in for a fight all night long. It makes it tough. You have got to be physically and mentally strong for that race. I have had some success there. I thought this year we were really fast when we went there earlier this season. We were running around the top 10. When I hit pit road because I thought I had a tire problem, the yellow came out right after that. It was some bad luck there. Hopefully, we can go there, learn and have a good run. It’s such a cool place especially at night. Even the pre-race, they play Proud to be an American and that’s really cool. It is just a fun night where there are fireworks on and off the track.”
Keeping your cool: “You just know at some point you are going to run into somebody or they are going to run into you,” Allmendinger said. “You are going to bounce off the fence. It is hard to keep your cool because that race seems like it takes forever even though it is a fairly quick race. It is hard to look at the board and you feel like you have been in a dog fight for many hours when you are only a hundred laps into it and it is a 500-lap race. It goes back to that quote, “At some point you are going to have a great opportunity to be angry and at some point you are going to have a great point to have self-discipline. So, just try to have that self-discipline."
Make some noise: “We will not change anything we have been doing because we are in the Chase,” Allmendinger said. “We are just trying to get better every week, which is what we have been trying to do all along. We have got to get to Chicago (Chicagoland Speedway) and be running better especially on the mile-and-a-half and two-mile race tracks just to be competitive. We want to go into the Chase and make some noise. We do not want to be like alright ‘We have won a race and we are happy to be here.’ We are happy to be here, but we want to go out there and compete and at least have a shot and if we make it to the next group, there is no reason we can’t make it to the next group. So, it is nothing different, but I think it will help if we are just more relaxed at the race track.”
The biggest thing: “The coolest thing about all this is walking into the hauler or the shop and feeling like I gave the guys something they deserve,” Allmendinger said. “I have put so much pressure on myself this year and there are so many times that I felt like I let them down or I felt like they were looking at me like, ‘What’s AJ doing.’ And, I think, just to be able to walk in there and just see their faces after we won is pretty cool - whether for some of the guys maybe it is their first time winning or maybe they have won a hundred races. It is just great for them to come up and say, ‘This is the coolest race to win because we know how hard everybody works.’ I think that is the biggest thing. The energy at the track and around the shop is special right now.”
A relief: “I have definitely been more relaxed after winning a race,” Allmendinger said. “I went golfing recently and I did not throw a club. So, I’m definitely more relaxed. It is hard because I took it personal and there were definitely times I thought maybe I am never going to win a race. Maybe, it’s just not meant to happen. Yeah, it is definitely a relief and I would love to have a lot more and hopefully we get it. To get it the way we got it, to feel like I had to drive the best race I've ever driven - and I did drive the best race I've ever driven - to me is the most satisfying.”
Being a part of it: “To be able to say we are in the Chase is something else,” Allmendinger said. “Honestly, to start looking at the names that have never been in the Chase or may not be in the Chase this year to know we have accomplished something that is really cool. Especially, I think you look at a team like Jimmie’s (Johnson) that take it for granted or maybe they don’t, but you get so used to, ‘Jimmie’s going to win the Chase this year.’ To be able to be one of those teams and hopefully go there and at least just run well and not be one of the teams that is at the bottom of the Chase. I’d love to go there and run well and whether it’s not having a shot at the championship or it’s just being a part of the championship every week on TV saying we are in the Chase right now and running well. No matter what, just to say that we are a part of it is just an awesome feeling.”
Taking it all in: “I have been just trying to take it all in and really enjoy it,” Allmendinger said. “It is just so big for our race team. We know when it comes to the Chase as a championship contender obviously our team is not going to be one of the first ones brought up and we know that.”
Ultimate goal this season: “It is not about the ultimate goal of winning the race and that is what we would love to do, but it is all about trying to get better,” Allmendinger said. “That is the next three weeks and that is the next 10 weeks after that. I have said since day one, if we can get to Homestead-Miami Speedway and run the last lap and say we are far better than where we started the year – whether that’s the championship, 16th, 10th in points whatever it is - that’s a successful year. So, we are not changing anything. We are just trying to get better. The only thing I will say is that we had not planned on using our last test. We have already used three of them. Now, maybe with the win and with more money we might use that for a test before the Chase starts probably at a mile-and-a-half somewhere. That’s something we have to have a meeting about this week."
Spring recap: “When we were at Bristol in the spring, we had a good car and ran well until we had some bad luck,” crew chief Brian Burns said. “We thought we had a tire issue and AJ had to pit under green because he thought something was wrong. We were running around the top 10. We knew some other teams had some tire issues in the race and we thought we had one of them. When we came out of the pits, the caution came out and put us two laps down and derailed our chances for a good finish.”
Relaxed and motivated: “Just like AJ said, being in the Chase is still sinking in,” Burns said. “The magnitude of what our little team has done is a huge deal and being in the Chase has a big impact on our future. We feel like we can breathe a little easier knowing we are in the Chase. Everyone seems more relaxed and motivated. We have a positive outlook on the season. We feel like we are playing with house money. Teams didn’t expect us to be in the Chase and those same teams don’t expect us to run well in the Chase and we are going to surprise them twice.”
Career Starts: 214
Pole Awards: 2
First Start: 3/25/2007 Bristol
First Pole: 4/10/2010 Phoenix
Last Pole: 4/22/2012 Kansas
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: Brian Burns
CHASE GRID OUTLOOK:
1.Jeff Gordon 816 (3 wins)
2.Dale Earnhardt Jr. 813 (3)
3.Brad Keselowski 733 (3)
4.Jimmie Johnson 686 (3)
5.Joey Logano 714 (2)
6.Kevin Harvick 687 (2)
7.Carl Edwards 679 (2)
8.Kyle Busch 620 (1)
9.Denny Hamlin 589 (1)
10.Aric Almirola 556 (1)
11.AJ Allmendinger 556 (1)
12.Kurt Busch 543 (1)
13.Matt Kenseth 709 (0)
14.Ryan Newman 679 (0)
15.Clint Bowyer 672 (0)
16.Greg Biffle 660 (0)
ROLL YOUR BEAUTIFUL BEAN FOOTAGE:
In addition to sponsoring AJ Allmendinger's #47 car this weekend, BUSH'S Beans is also sponsoring the BUSH'S Beans 150 Whelen Modified Series Race at Bristol Motor Speedway! They will have trackside Cafés around the track as well as signage everywhere!
We want you to post your pictures of the BUSH’S Trackside Cafés, you posing with the BUSH’S Beans logo on the track wall, you eating BUSH’S Beans at the track, ticket stubs from the BUSH’S Beans 150, shots of the #47 BUSH’S Beans car on the track...
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AJ'S WHEREABOUTS:Friday, August 22nd
9 AM NASCAR Media Availability in Bristol Motor Speedway media center
Saturday, August 23rd
4:40 to 4:55 PM Bristol Motor Speedway Hospitality Appearance
5 PM JTG Daugherty Racing Meet & Greets at Hauler