KANSAS SPEEDWAY PREVIEW

EVENT:  Go Bowling 400
DATE/TIME:  Saturday, May 7th, 7:30 PM ET
TV/RADIO:  FS1 / MRN / SIRIUSXM
QUOTES:
Sponsors this weekend: "We have Dillons and Glad as primary sponsors this weekend at Kansas Speedway," Allmendinger said. "Both Dillons and Glad are activating this weekend, which is pretty cool. On Thursday, I'm dropping by Dillons (from 5:30 PM to 6:30 PM at 720 Eisenhower Road, Leavenworth, Kansas) to meet fans and Glad is bringing major attention to their 'Glad to Give' program and also giving away my bright yellow Glad to Give racing fire suit. Giving does feel great and Glad is asking for us to come together to donate our gently used items to help people in need. It's a great program. Visit www.gladtogive.com for more info. (Post a gently loved item you're #GladtoGive to Twitter or Instagram and tag it with #sweepstakes for a chance to win a signed Glad to Give fire suit and other race gear from Kyle Larson and AJ Allmendinger! Watch the Twitter feeds of AJ (@AJDinger) and the team (@NASCAR47) this week for details). 

Kansas Speedway: “It just depends on the weather, if it is cool in Kansas you are going to have a lot of grip and the speeds are going to be high,” Allmendinger said. “Last year, it was a little bit warm there and the groove widened out and you were kind of slipping and sliding around. Kansas is a racetrack – obviously, where it is located – that is very temperature sensitive. If it gets cool there, we will have a ton of grip."

Slipping and sliding:  “I would choose slipping and sliding just because it makes the racing better," Allmendinger said. "You know Kansas, since the repave, when it is really fast, the fast line is around the bottom and it’s hard to pass people. With the downforce package and the tire package I think it will be a place no matter what, you will be slipping and sliding a little bit more. It just makes for better racing and better options for the drivers. It will be more racing and more passing for the fans."

Different direction: “We struggled a little bit at Texas Motor Speedway,” crew chief Randall Burnett said. “We thought we made a pretty good jump on our intermediate program this year. We have been a lot more competitive and qualifying well. So, we missed the setup and a couple things that we went back and looked at after Texas. We are going in a little different direction for Kansas. It’s obviously a different racetrack, a different animal. So, I feel really good about our car going there. We worked really hard on it and cleaned up a lot of details. I feel pretty confident going into Kansas. We are going to try a couple different things. If that doesn’t work out for us during the first practice session, we can always go back to what we know that has been working for us at the other intermediate tracks and then go from there.”

Wait and see: “Kansas is a fresher repave,” Burnett said. “Last year, it did change a little bit from the first race to the second race. It got a little bumpier. Kansas winters are a little harder. So, it will be interesting to see with this package and what tire we are going there with, to see if the track widens out. It’s a night race so it will have a little more grip.  So, I would expect it not to be as wide as it would be in the Fall when it’s a day race. We will just look at that and go forward. Kansas is a unique place and I expect Kentucky (Speedway) to be a little more like it now they have repaved it. “

Testing, testing, testing: “June and July is going to be really busy for us," Burnett said. "We have a Kentucky Speedway test we’ve got to go to. We’re going to go test right after the Michigan International Speedway race, which will be good for us. It will be the first chance we get to test on an intermediate track this year. We also have a Watkins Glen (International) and Chicago (Chicagoland Speedway) test coming up. We’ve got a lot on our docket. We’ve got an Indianapolis (Motor Speedway) test coming up as well. We’ve got a lot going on in the summer months. We’re trying to gear up for that. It’s difficult on us having a little bit smaller team to have all our equipment ready for all that. We’ve really got to look further down the line and get geared up for those kinds of tests especially when we have back-to-back weeks.”

New additions: "You know I look at our race team right now with the addition of Ernie Cope (competition director) and Randall Burnett as crew chief and just all the additions," Allmendinger said. "If you would have said after just over a quarter of the season after Talladega Superspeedway, we would be inside the top 16 in points, I would have said 'That’s a perfect start for us.' So, there’s a long way to go, 16 races before the regular season ends and we’ve got a lot of work to do. I’m pleased with where we are at right now. We’ve had some ups and downs and we know we’ve got to work on certain areas. It’s been going well so far and I think our Kansas car could be really good, but you never know until you drop it on the track."

New things to try: “We are looking forward to going to Kansas,” competition director Ernie Cope said. “We’ve been very competitive on mile-and-a-half tracks other than Texas Motor Speedway, which we were not happy with what we did there. We have looked at what we did and we are definitely doing something different. I feel that Kansas is going to be a strong track for us. We are taking the same car we took to California (Auto Club Speedway). We had a really strong run out there and a lot of the same things apply at both tracks. There are a couple new things that we are trying and hopefully it will take us into the summer months and make us better."

Nothing compares: “Nothing really compares to Kansas Speedway,” Cope said. “Michigan (International Speedway) is probably the closest I’d say, but it’s not really. Kansas has flatter corners than Charlotte Motor Speedway and Texas. It’s faster and you know, new pavement. It’s fast like a Michigan. You carry a lot of speed in the banking similar to Michigan.”

Security: “It’s the same at a lot of these tracks and that’s to keep the car secure enough for the driver to carry the speeds he wants to carry in the corner,” Cope said. “They all want the cars to turn as good as you can get it to turn in the center without feeling the back is going to come around on entry. It’s just tying the corner together and we’ve worked on that since Texas. We’ve been trying to come up with the right combination and if that doesn’t work we have kind of what we ran at California and Vegas (Las Vegas Motor Speedway) where we were competitive and respectable there. We can kind of go back to what we were doing there if we need to.”

Highlighting positives and eliminating issues: “How I do it, whether the weekend is good or bad, you’ve got to take what you took out of the weekend and put it all behind you and don’t let it drag you down or don’t get too pumped up like you’ve got things figured out either,” Cope said. “We struggled at Texas. So, you find out why you did it. Just don’t think ‘We weren’t good at Texas.’ You don’t want a repeat of that performance. So, you’ve got to figure out why and just eliminate those issues. As far as having early success at Vegas and California, if we don’t improve we are going to get behind and we know that. The average at those places, we were a sixth to 12th place car for the most part and if we do nothing we will be probably a 20th place car.”  

Happy with team: “I was happy the way we came out of the box,” Cope said. “Before Talladega, we’ve been on a slippery slope the last three weeks as far as the finishes we’ve gotten. We need to correct that and get back to getting top-15 finishes. We just don’t want to get in a rut where we are running 20th. We just need to stop it. As far as the team goes and working together, I’m really happy with the team. They are a bunch of good guys and they all get along. They work hard. You are going to have your moments where you have a bad weekend, but we’ve just got to minimize them. I’d like to see a bad day be a 17th or 18th-place finish, not 25th.”

Charged up: “I’ve been a road guy my whole career,” Cope said. “The biggest thing is to make sure the guys in the shop are preparing the cars so the guys that travel can get their time off during the week. I want the guys to keep their batteries charged. I don’t want the guys working seven days a week. I really think that kills you come June, July and August. I’m trying to make sure the guys are getting at least one full day and a travel day time off. I know sometimes they will say they want to come in tomorrow, but I don’t want them to come in.  I don’t want them to get burned out.  I want them to feel good when they get to the track. I’ve seen it many times where you walk through the garage in July and you get guys from good race teams asking you for jobs because they are burned out. They are just frustrated because they are so tired and that’s a big part of it. We are just trying to keep our guys charged up to be fresh come summer time.”

Reflecting Talladega: “We got caught up in two big wrecks at Talladega Superspeedway,” Allmendinger said. “Luckily, the second one was right before the start-finish line so I stayed in the throttle until we passed it and got a 14th-place finish out of it and gained three spots in points. You know at Talladega and Daytona – those restrictor plate races - it’s all about surviving. We were able to survive it and get a decent finish out of it. It was impressive by my whole team. I tried to do my best to explain to them that the wheel was still straight and the wheel was in line. I didn’t know what else was around the car, which I found out later there wasn’t much left of it. They worked hard. We were just trying to stay on the lead lap at that point because there were 25 laps to go. There was obviously a huge wreck and we were just trying to get as many points as we could. We got fortunate with that wreck with eight to go because I had lost the draft. I kind of had to check up one corner and it was game over. We came back in and they actually put a whole new nose back on the car just so it would draft a little bit better. And, heck, honestly, if it wasn’t for the wreck coming to the checkered with Kevin (Harvick) getting turned up in front of me, I think we might have had a top-10. I had the outside and I had a big run and I thought I might get a top-10 finish out of this and it all kind of went away when they all started wrecking. All the credit goes to my guys to not give up and do everything they could to make sure we kept the car on the track.”

Doing fine after Talladega wrecks: “It was a combo of the wind got knocked out of me and I got violated by my seat belts,” Allmendinger said. “It was hot and humid and not having any wind. I needed to get out and lay down to just get my breath back. Once I got my breath back, I was fine out after that. The breath was the bigger problem just because it was so hot and I couldn’t breathe at all.”

FAST FACTS:

Career Starts: 273
Wins:            1
Top-fives:     8
Top-10s:      40
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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Giving feels really great, and when we all come together to pass on our gently used items to someone in need, great things can happen. To make giving easier, and celebrate everyone and anyone who donates, Glad has created the Glad to Give program. People have been using Glad® trash bags to package up and transport their donations for ages, but with the Glad To Give program, and an iconic, specially-designed yellow bag, Glad’s role in the giving process is official.

Glad to Give was started by Glad in 2015 in an effort to connect people to charities and spread the joy of giving. In addition to providing information on hundreds of charities, Glad has provided free donation pick-ups and hundreds of thousands of complimentary yellow bags for people to give with.

Using celebrity, sports and media partnerships Glad has helped encourage millions of Americans to pack up the gently used items they no longer need and send them off to people and families who do. We’re Glad to Give, and judging by the smiles we see on the faces of those who have given all over this country, we’re guessing we’re not the only ones.

Learn More HERE.

 


AJ Allmendinger Appearance:

Thursday, May 5th

5:30pm-6:30 pm AJ Allmendinger signs autographs and interacts with fans at Dillons, 720 Eisenhower Road, Leavenworth, Kansas

Friday, May 6th

9:15 AM AJ Allmendinger and special guest media availability at Kansas Speedway media center