Race: Bojangles' Southern 500
Date/Time: Sunday, September 6th / 7 PM ET
TV/Radio: NBC / MRN / SIRIUSXM
Tough place to get around: “Darlington Raceway, the track 'Too Tough To Tame,' it’s a tough place,” Allmendinger said. “The nickname really doesn’t even do it justice. It’s even harder than that. You are right against the wall the whole time. There is never really a moment where you can relax a little bit and say, ‘Okay, I can take a little bit of a breath,’ whether it’s in practice or during the race. You are just right on the edge around that place. When you are running well there and you are really fast, as a driver, it feels like you are really accomplishing something. It’s a difficult racetrack to figure out how to get around, but we are really looking forward to the weekend. Kroger is back as primary and we have House-Autry on the hood too. We're fortunate to have them both on board as primary sponsors this weekend.”
A bit of an unknown: “It’s never been one of my best racetracks,” Allmendinger said. “It’s always been a tough place because we only go there once per year. It’s been well over a year since we’ve been there. Just trying to remember it, so you can get used to it, is the biggest thing. There will be a new package there. So, it will be interesting to see how that kind of feels around Darlington. Most of the time you are wanting more grip anyway. Having less downforce will be interesting.”
Adapting: “Since it’s been over a year since we’ve been there and I haven’t tested there, it always takes a little bit to get adapted back to Darlington running right against the fence,” Allmendinger said. “That’s always something you have to get used to. Track position is always critical and making sure your car rolls through the center (keep it turning), but still got to have enough forward drive off. I hope I go out there and keep getting better at it because I need to.”
Finding your limit: “The hardest thing is just finding what that limit is,” Allmendinger said. “You are on that fine line and you can’t really relax even in practice or during the race. You are just up against the fence the whole time. The lane just gets closer and closer to the fence. You have got to figure out kind of when, ‘Okay, it’s too close now and you are going to start losing grip up there and you’ve got to move back down just a little bit or if it’s fast just right against the fence.' It’s difficult to figure out and it changes from lap to lap. Obviously, it’s a long race and it changes throughout the course of the night. It’s one of those places.”
Darlington Stripe: “My first Darlington stripe was my first year (2007),” Allmendinger said. “It was in the Red Bull car and my guys told me, ‘Don’t worry you are going to hit the fence. It happens. You get your Darlington stripe. You’re a rookie this is what happens.’ I said, 'Okay.' Lap 2 I was like, ‘Got it.’ Then Lap 3, ‘Definitely got it now.’ Within three laps I had rubbed the right side so much to where you couldn’t read the number anymore. It was a rude awakening. It was one of those places where I qualified for the race and I couldn’t believe it. It was just a cool place.”
Extra time: "Going into Darlington Raceway, we have some extra practice time and will have the downforce package like we had at Kentucky Speedway," crew chief Brian Burns said. "I thought there was some success with it. There was light at the end of the tunnel with that package. We will have a brand new car with House-Autry and Kroger on the hood and we're looking to put on a good show."
Racing: "It’s a roller-coaster ride throughout the season for these guys from one race to the next especially when you have a bad weekend kind of like our most recent race at Bristol (Motor Speedway) where we were involved in an unfortunate accident," Burns said. "You have to figure out how to pep everybody up and get ready for the next race. If you have a good race at a place like Darlington Raceway, you can turn the momentum around."
Reviewing each race: "We get together every Monday and do a post-race debrief to talk about how the race went, how we can be better and discuss things AJ needs from us that he maybe didn't get or vice versa," Burns said. "It is a building process."
Labor Day weekend: “I like that the race is on Labor Day weekend because it brings back some of the history,” Allmendinger said. “Just as a race fan, I’m really looking forward to seeing all the teams that were able to do throwback schemes and Darlington itself going back to a throwback scheme. So, I think for the fans and everybody, especially the old school fans that have grown up watching all these cars that have been there for many decades, it will be cool for them to see.”
Career Starts: 251
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: Brian Burns
Each week throughout the NASCAR season Racing-Rewards members are given the opportunity to download exclusive AJ Allmendinger cellphone wallpaper. This week's design features AJ and his House-Autry Racing car.
Click HERE to visit the download page.
- GET SOCIAL -
- EARN POINTS -
- COMPETE WITH FRIENDS -
- WIN PRIZES! -
Wednesday, September 2nd
AJ visits Burlington, VT for New Hampshire Motor Speedway media day
Sunday, September 6th
4:15 PM JTG Daugherty Racing Meet & Greets