Fifth in points: “You always keep an eye on it (the points),” Allmendinger said. “It’s so early in the season. I try not to get overly pumped up that we are fifth in points, but at the same point, I would rather be fifth than where we were last year at this point and that was 26th I think. You want to be as high as possible after each weekend, but you know especially early in the season, one bad race can knock you down in points. It’s more of a constant look at the weekend for us. How did we run in our No. 47 Kingsford Chevrolet SS? Were we a contending car as the weekend went on? Sometimes in NASCAR because the races are so long, you have to be careful not to let your finish dictate how your weekend went. You can have a 15th-place finish, but have a top five car all weekend. I really look at the process of the weekend and how we ran throughout the course of the weekend and then how we finished because of that.”
Phoenix: “It’s gotten a bit slicker,” Allmendinger said. “It’s widened out for sure especially last year from what we saw of the races. You could run on the apron of Turns 3 and 4 or you could start running almost middle to the top - - you started moving the line out. The track has definitely gotten a little bit wider. As we say, it has gotten more character in it. It’s still a place where you show up the first few laps and it feels like you are driving on ice. You have got to get that sand and dirt off the racetrack. It’s a fun place. I have always enjoyed Phoenix. I’ve had good success there.”
Good start to the season: “We’ve had two top-10 finishes out of the first three races," Allmendinger said. "It’s good to be this high (fifth) in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series points this early."
Settling in: “Last year, at both Phoenix International Raceway races, I felt our car was pretty decent,” Allmendinger said. “I always look forward to going there. Hopefully, we can go back and have a good run. For a team like ours, especially during the West Coast swing, it’s really critical to have a good West Coast swing and come back and kind of be energized. If you struggle out here, you can easily find yourself 25th, 30th in points and it is hard to climb back out of that. Fortunately, we have a good start with our top-10 finishes at Vegas and Atlanta Motor Speedway. We hope to carry that momentum to Phoenix and Fontana (Calif.). When you get back from the West Coast travel then everybody starts settling in. There are some Southern races, Northern races and travel is not that far. That is when you can get settled in and really get going. So, for a team like ours we need to be strong for the West Coast swing.”
Proud of his team: “My guys have worked really hard and I’m really proud of everyone on this JTG Daugherty Racing team,” Allmendinger said. “We’ve got a lot of good race cars built. The beginning of the season has been solid. It really has been a great start.”
Richard Childress Racing alliance: “I look at Las Vegas and there were two cars - the Martin Truex Jr. car (No. 78) and Ryan Newman in the No. 31 – that were fast all weekend. Obviously, Ryan is at RCR and then Furniture Row is a part of that alliance. We were okay and then Saturday we switched to their setup and the next thing you know our car was really good. That is part of having an alliance especially when you are a single car team like we are. If you don’t have those alliances, you don’t have that data. You don’t have those drivers to talk to. You don’t have the engineering help. So, it makes our team so much better having that RCR alliance. The great thing about Richard Childress himself, he opens the doors to his race team to give us everything. There are some alliances where you get parts of stuff and may not get the best stuff, but Richard Childress is not like that. He makes sure we have the best opportunity just like his race teams do.”
Ahead of the curve: “As a group - the RCR alliance - we are just better as a whole,” Allmendinger said. “You have seen the way the car has been running at the beginning of the year. For us, it’s something we kind of hit on at the end of last year. With the rule package change, we didn’t know how much of a difference it would be. Kind of last weekend, we went back to some of the stuff we ran right at the end of last year. As a whole, the team is just putting out better race cars. Last year, we just were always behind trying to build race cars. We did the alliance so late. More than anything, we are way more prepared and ahead of where we were last year with building race cars, getting bodies right and getting all the little details you need to really go from that 20th-place car and start racking in top-10s. For us, that is why we are ahead right now.”
Starting off on the right foot: “We just have to keep working harder,” Allmendinger said. “This is the best start I have ever had and this is the best start by far the race team has ever had at the beginning of the season. We have just got to keep going out there and doing our thing. You just have to be on your ‘A’ game. It really comes down to if you are really having a great day you have to maximize it just the same way if you are having a bad. It’s a 36-race season in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and you have got to be at your ‘A’ game every weekend, every time you are in the car.”
Strong out of the gate: "The hard work and effort our guys put in this winter have shown strong early on," JTG Daugherty Racing team owner Brad Daugherty said. "All we wanted as a single car team was reliable equipment and we have that now."
Continue improving: “The start of the season validates the work that was done over the winter,” JTG Daugherty Racing team owner Tad Geschickter said. “Our job is to continue to improve. We have improved our results at least at the first few tracks. As long as we can keep doing that we are going to have a good year."
Career Starts: 230
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
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Friday, March 13th
11 AM FOX SPORTS 1 taped interview with Kim Novak
Sunday, March 15th
9:55 AM FOX SPORTS 1 interview
10 AM JTG Daugherty Racing sponsor meet & greets
10:15 AM Interview with Jim Tretow for Sprint Vision