RACE: Duck Commander 500
DATE/TIME: Saturday, April 9th
TV/RADIO: FOX / PRN / SIRIUSXM
Coming off solid weekend: "We're looking forward to carrying some momentum into Texas Motor Speedway with our No. 47 Kroger/BUSH'S Beans Chevrolet SS," Allmendinger said. "We're coming off a solid weekend at Martinsville Speedway. We had a good qualifying effort, a great happy hour, we came home with a second-place finish and had a good points day."
Texas: "Texas hasn't been one of our best racetracks, but I feel like our mile‑and‑a‑half program has definitely improved," Allmendinger said. "It's a racetrack that's tough. It's a place where I've had decent runs, but I've never really had great runs there. I'm always kind of searching to find what I need. The race cars are getting better and I know the guys back at the shop are really pumped up with the Texas car, so we'll unload it and see what kind of speed we have and kind of base the rest of our weekend on it."
Applying knowledge: “I think you can take a few things we’ve learned from the mile-and-half tracks that we have raced this season and apply to Texas Motor Speedway,” Allmendinger said. “There are little things you can look at, but you can’t go there with exactly the same setup you had at Vegas (Las Vegas Motor Speedway). More than anything, we have really stepped up our mile-and-a-half programs this year.”
Mile-and-a-half tracks: “You look at Vegas and Atlanta (Motor Speedway) and our cars were easily top 15 cars if not top 10 cars,” Allmendinger said. “That is what we really look at and the guys have worked really hard this season. Our Texas Motor Speedway car is ready and they have built it as good as they can. We’re just continuing to go through all the little details because on mile-and-a-half to two-mile racetracks, it’s the little details where you really find the speed in it. They’ve seen that the extra work that they have put in does help and gives us a lot of speed whether we unload or run well in the race. Overall, our mile-and-a-half package has really improved over the last couple of years.”
Bumps: “The bumps are pretty bad in Turns 1 and 2, but 3 and 4 have stayed smooth throughout the course of the years,” Allmendinger said. “With the tunnel and the weather that comes through there, it makes Turns 1 and 2 tough to get your car through it. You really have to focus on getting your car through the bumps. That’s something you can take from Vegas because 1 and 2 is really bumpy there. If you can get your car through the bumps at Vegas, I feel like you can get your car through the bumps at Texas as well."
Happy medium: “With the top being bumpy in Turns 1 and 2, it makes it hard to run up there, but the bottom gets really slick,” Allmendinger said. “So, you want to find a happy medium there. You want to get your car good over the bumps where you can move around through Turns 1 and 2 and Turns 3 and 4 at times are slicker, but it’s just smooth so you can choose your lines a little bit easier.”
Tires: “It will be based on what tire Goodyear brings, but it seems these tracks are kind of slick like Atlanta and Fontana (Auto Club Speedway) and you have got to be easy on your tires early in the run and have it to where you save some tires for the end of the run,” Allmendinger said. “It’s all about how much it falls off and whether you can save your tires because we will get long runs there. So, forward drive is always critical, but at the same point you’ve got to get it turning. It’s not like it’s different from any other racetrack. On the long runs, you make sure you are a little easier on the tires than everyone else.”
Its own animal: “Texas is certainly its own animal,” crew chief Randall Burnett said. “We learned some things at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and Auto Club Speedway - on the bumpier tracks - that will apply to Texas Motor Speedway. We feel really good about going to Texas right now. Our intermediate cars have been really fast and we proved that the other week at Fontana (Calif.) when we came through the field twice really. That makes us really look forward to going to Texas.”
Qualifying effort: “We’ve been really focused on our qualifying effort,” Burnett said. “It’s really important for good pit picking and it really just sets the tone for the whole weekend. We’ve worked hard and we’ve got a good grasp on what we need to do with intermediate stuff for qualifying. We’ve worked hard on it this winter to improve and for AJ to improve with that as well.”
First-time crew chief: "Randall Burnett, for 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."
So far, so good: “I feel like the team is gelling really well,” Burnett said. “I feel like we’ve missed a couple opportunities that were self-induced that put us behind say at Atlanta. Then we didn’t perform great at Phoenix (International Raceway) and I feel like, I myself, may have overlooked some things going into that race. We’ve changed quite a bit since then, which makes us excited that Richmond (International Raceway) is around the corner. So, we can try some different things.”
Learning process: “When we do have a bad weekend, it forces us to go back and look even harder than it does if we had a good weekend,” Burnett said. “You go back and you are like, ‘Man, we were off and well maybe it was this or maybe it was that.’ It really forces you to dig in and look at your whole package and get everybody’s ideas out there on the table and say, ‘Well, these are some things that we haven’t tried.’ It makes you be a better race team. It makes you dig in a little harder and take a good look at all aspects of it.”
Chassis 524: “We’ve put a lot of hard work into our Texas car,” Burnett said. “We’ve been bringing fresh stuff to the track each weekend. This weekend at Texas we are running car 524, which was our Atlanta car. We’ve done a couple updates to it. We were good on speed with that car.”
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
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