NO. 47 KROGER - CLICKLIST DAYTONA PRE-RACE REPORT

AJ ALLMENDINGER
NO. 47 KROGER - CLICKLIST /CHEVROLET SS
DAYTONA INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY PRE-RACE REPORT

Event: DAYTONA 500 QUALIFYING PRESENTED BY KROGER
Date/Time:  SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 19 / 3 PM ET
TV Network/Radio: FOX / MRN / SIRIUSXM


Event:  THE DUELS
Date/Time: THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 23 / 7:00 PM ET
TV Network/Radio: FOX SPORTS 1 / MRN / SIRIUSXM

Event:  DAYTONA 500
Date/Time: SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 26 / 2:00 PM ET
TV Network/Radio: FOX / MRN / SIRIUSXM

QUOTES:

Kroger ClickList sponsors No. 47 for Daytona 500: “This season our No. 47 is carrying the Kroger ClickList logo,” Allmendinger said. “We’re spreading the word on making life easier for our fans. Sometimes there’s not enough time in the day and ClickList is an easy way to order your groceries online and pick up when ready. I’m always on the run and it’s perfect for someone like me and, of course, moms and dads too!”

Who wants AJ’s Daytona 500 fire suit: “Listen up people, on Friday JTG Daugherty Racing is revealing how you can enter to win my Daytona 500 fire suit,” Allmendinger said. “So, follow the team’s social platforms on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to get all the details. Here’s a hint, be on the lookout for the #WinWithClickList hashtag.”

Qualifying on Sunday: “I think more than anything what stands out to me about Daytona 500 qualifying day is that our sponsor Kroger is sponsoring it,” Allmendinger said. “It’s an important day and week for NASCAR obviously and it’s great to see firsthand what Daytona really means and all the activation Kroger does around it. What they do as a brand in NASCAR is a big deal. To me, qualifying is the kickoff for what Daytona is all about. To have our brand associated with the Daytona 500 shows how committed they are to us and to the sport of NASCAR.”

The Duels: “The Duels are kind of a different feel for me now,” AJ said. “I’ve been on the side of it to where, the Duels made me sick because it meant I had to race my way in the first couple of years when there were so many cars. It was a stressful time. With the Charter system in place, it helps take some of that stress off. But now, with NASCAR scoring points, it’s definitely an important race for all of us. If you can have a solid run in your Duel and get a few points, that’s what kicks your season off. I think you will see a lot better racing in the Duels. Everybody is going to be out there full tilt for every lap. We want to go there and have a good showing. If we finish in the top three or four that’s seven or eight points that you’re able to accumulate and that kicks off Speedweeks. It’s important now because you want to start the season off and get some points. You never know what’s going to come down to the end making the Playoffs.”

Winning the Daytona 500: “What does it mean to win the Daytona 500?,” Allmendinger said. “Well, I think it goes without saying. It’s a special race. If you are able to win it, you put your name among so many greats and icons. You look at the names like Mario Andretti that’s won the 500 - - all the great race car drivers that have won and it’s impressive. If you are able to win a race like the Daytona 500, your name goes into history. It’s remembered as something special forever. Obviously, it would be a big deal for so many reasons.”

Butterflies: “For me leading into the Daytona 500, I’ve just got a lot of butterflies before the race starts,” Allmendinger said. “Once I strap into the No. 47 Kroger ClickList Chevy and start the engine, those butterflies go away and it’s time to focus and get the job done.”

Points on the line: “In the past at Daytona, I’ve tried to see where we start and then as the race goes on, see whether we want to get in the pack early in the race or if we want to take our time,” Allmendinger said. “With the points being on the line now, you definitely want to be up there early on. The problem is that there are going to be 39 drivers trying to do the same thing you are. It’s all about just trying to make the right decisions and put yourself in the best place possible. If the wreck happens, hopefully we are not in it.”

Race format: “It’s something new and it’s not going to really change how I race except maybe the superspeedways,” Allmendinger said. “Every lap I’m 100 percent anyway trying to get the most out of our Kroger ClickList Chevy. It’s something we’ve got to go out there and learn. In general, I wouldn’t say I have 100 percent answers on what exactly is going to happen. It comes down to, you are scoring points throughout the course of the race. In different segments, you are going to be scoring points if you are in the top 10. So, if you are having a good day and you run in the top 10 all day you are going to be rewarded for it. You look at a place like Martinsville Speedway. Say you’ve led all day and get spun out with two laps to go and you finish 25th, it doesn’t completely ruin your day. You’ve had 498 good laps. Yeah, ultimately the finish pays the most points. At least, it allows for more points to be scored and more opportunities. Like I said, the only races to me that would change how we run are the superspeedway races because maybe you don’t ride at the back for half the race. You have to get up there because points are being scored. Everybody just needs to see how it plays out. We’ll get nine or ten races under our belt and then we will see how it is. I know TV will have fun with it especially at the fall Richmond (International Raceway) race because there will be a lot of scenarios going on with points.”

Teammate: “There’s a lot that Chris Buescher brings to the race team,” Allmendinger said. “He’s a champion and has wins on the ovals. Watching him at the shorts tracks, he was fast and the Bristol (Motor Speedway) fall race really stands out to me. It’s going to help me a lot to be able to bounce ideas off a teammate under the same roof and get an understanding of what he feels in our race cars. There’s no negatives to it. There’s all positives and I’m looking forward to this season and working with Chris.”

Crew chief: “This is my second year working with Randall Burnett and his second year as a crew chief,” Allmendinger said. “Last year, we had some good and we had some bad. We had to figure each other out. I love Randall. I don’t know if it’s good or bad, but we are a lot alike. We are passionate about wanting to be at our best. We’re a little high strung. When it’s going well, it’s going well and when it’s not, we both get frustrated. Those are the type of things you learn over a period of a year. You really learn each other.”

On top of your game: “Going into this year with Randall, our communication is going to be a lot better,” Allmendinger said. “We know what we have to work on and we’ve made our team stronger. That’s critical. All these weekends, the practices are going to be shorter - - not as many practices. During the race, we will have multiple races within the race. So, just being on top of your game from the start is going to be important. The communication really starts on Friday morning and that’s what carries us into the race on Sunday. With Randall and I knowing each other for a year now, we will be able to talk about all the stuff that was good and all the stuff we struggled with and address it.”

Second year: 
“We all worked really hard in the off season and we’re looking forward to kicking off the year with our No. 47 Kroger ClickList Chevy at Daytona,” Burnett said. “I’m personally looking forward to my second year as crew chief at JTG Daugherty Racing. Last season, AJ and I were learning each other and near the end of the year we sort of hit our stride. So, that’s exciting going into this year. We’re hoping to pick up where we left off. Also, I’m excited we have a second team under our roof to share notes and ideas. It’s nice to have Chris Buescher, Trent Owens and the No. 37 Cottonelle Chevy team working alongside us.”

Growth: “The team has worked so hard,” Allmendinger said. “The organization has grown into two cars with Chris Buescher, which is only going to benefit us.  At the same time, it was a lot of work that we took on late in the off-season. I feel like we have really found our way at the end of last year. Early in the year we started well, the middle of the summer we really struggled, but at the end of the year we got our cars better. Our focus in the off season was to build on that and improve. With a new rules package, less downforce, it is always kind of nerve-racking to start fresh. In general, we will just keep building on the stuff that we were better at, find the stuff that we are weak at, and fine tune those things.  You never really know until after five or six races where you stand.”

This year compared to last: “Last year, we had less downforce and this year we have even less downforce,” Allmendinger said. “That’s what stands out. I don’t have a great feel for it yet. We will figure it out as we go on. The first four or five races we go to different tracks and we will really see how the car feels. We’ll find out where our strengths and weaknesses are. We’ll get a better feel as the season goes on.”

Come a long way: “When we started in NASCAR, we were on dirt floors and had five employees,” team owner Tad Geschickter said. “We’ve come a long way and we’ve been very blessed. We’ve reached another milestone expanding to a two-car team in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and are grateful to have the opportunity. We’re also fortunate to have so many great brands. Cottonelle and Kroger ClickList will kick off our season in the Daytona 500 as hood sponsors for the No. 37 (Chris Buescher) and 47 (AJ Allmendinger) cars respectively. We’re passionate about our brands and their brand messages. I’ve found out for myself that Kroger’s ClickList is great and easy for me and Jodi to use. You can buy your groceries online and then pick them up whenever you’re ready. It’s perfect for being on the go every week. And, who doesn’t need Cottonelle. They are promoting their Mega Roll, which essentially is four rolls of bath tissue in one. We’re all looking forward to working together and getting the season started.”

Welcome Monster Energy to NASCAR: “I love having Monster in our sport,” Allmendinger said. “I’m a huge supercross fan and I love what they do with the supercross races and how they put on a good show. I think there is a lot they can bring to NASCAR and will bring to NASCAR. It’s always a fine line because you don’t want to alienate the fans we’ve had for years, but you definitely also want to bring in a younger crowd - - a different demographic to see what we can do to keep building this sport. With everything they do, it’s going to be good for NASCAR.”

 



FAST FACTS:
Career Starts:  299
Wins:  1
Top-fives:  9
Top-10s:  47
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

 



AJ MEDIA/SPONSOR APPEARANCES: 
Wednesday, February 22nd - 8 AM to 12 PM (approx.) Daytona 500 Media Day
Friday, February 24th - 6 PM Daytona 500 Partner Dinner at Hammock Beach Resort
Sunday, February 26th - 9:30 AM Kroger Brunch in Midway Suites 224 & 225