Race: Coke Zero 400 Powered by Coca-Cola
Date/Time: Sunday, July 5th, 7:45 PM ET
TV/Radio: NBC / MRN / SIRIUSXM
Daytona International Speedway: "It's anyone's race - - it's definitely a crap shoot," Allmendinger said. "We have a shot at it just like everyone else does. We just have to be smart, try to avoid the wrecks around us and be there at the end. Just finishing a race at a superspeedway is sometimes a tall order. You can get wrecked in the front, middle or back of the pack. Nowhere is really safe."
Sunday night racing: "We've usually raced on Saturday night, but this year we are racing Sunday night on NBC," Allmendinger said. "We’re looking forward to the big holiday weekend on track as our partners are in stores selling cases. Check out your local Kroger store for all your needs this weekend and pick up some Better Than Bouillon, Shore Lunch, Kingsford Charcoal, BUSH’S Grillin' Beans, SCOTT Products, Clorox wipes, House-Autry and anything else you need to make your family gathering a success and don’t forget Hungry Jack pancakes and syrup for breakfast. You'll need that.”
Fourth of July: “Growing up, my parents and I, we were always at a racetrack somewhere on the Fourth of July,” Allmendinger said. “My biggest memories are always being at a Go-Kart track on a Saturday night and having fireworks shoot off. We would kind of have a big barbecue with all the parents and us kids would be running around and playing. Fast forward to today, and it's really no different. It’s still racing, you know? Days like Fourth of July and just like Memorial Day remind us how fortunate we are to do what we love and why we get to do this and what the sacrifices are that people make for us to live in a free country. So, I’m always trying to keep that in mind and remembering that it’s just racing we're doing here and we’re there to have fun."
Getting comfortable: “Daytona is slicker in July and it’s starting to regain its character and it is more of a handling track than Talladega (Superspeedway),” crew chief Brian Burns said. “The focus there is to get AJ comfortable in the draft.”
Anyone’s race: “Daytona is another race that anybody can win,” Burns said. “You use most of the race like a test session to prepare you for the last 10 to 15 laps. You have the opportunity to get up in the pack or you may want to lay back. It’s hard to go into those races with a set strategy because you can ride in back to try to stay out of trouble and you still get wrecked. Basically, you can get in a wreck anywhere in the field. If we can stay in the top-10, that will be ideal. The way I look at it is that for every car you are in front of, it is one less car you have to worry about wrecking around you. Also, you try not to make too many risky moves early in the race. It’s more about learning what your car is going to be like during the end of the race.”
Chassis 408: “We raced this one in the Daytona 500 and at Talladega last year,” Burns said. “It has a little more downforce than our Talladega car this year. Our focus is not on qualifying. So, we don’t expect to qualify well because we are setting ourselves up to have a good race car.”
Pack racing: “Superspeedways are more about what the driver feels and whether if he wants to get up there in the pack and test the car out to see what it will be like at the end,” Burns said. “Other times, if you have a good car you will lay back to make sure you have a car at the end.”
Season review: “We started the year off really well and I think everybody else improved and we have to improve more again," Allmendinger said. "That's kind of the nature of a smaller team. You’re always kind of playing catch-up a little bit. After starting the year strong, I think we were fifth in points after five races. We had a couple of DNF’s and we blew some motors a couple of weeks in a row. Then we crashed at Bristol (Motor Speedway) running inside the top 10. And from there, I wouldn’t say panic set in, but we started trying different things. And, we were like, 'Okay, where have we lost it?' In a way, maybe we hadn’t lost it. We just had bad results. And then, we kind of got off track and we came full circle. So, in the end, we know where we have to improve. We have the steps in place and the ideas in place, but it’s not an overnight process, either. So, I think that’s just the biggest thing is that it’s not that we show up at say, Kentucky (Speedway) - really because that’s the next 1.5-mile oval typical racetrack - and we’ll have better cars once we get there, but it’s a process."
Goals: “We’ve just got to get better every weekend," Allmendinger said. "I know that’s kind of cliché, but right now that’s really our goal."
Last weekend: "We had a great run going at Sonoma Raceway and we were hoping to get out of there with a solid finish and build some momentum, but we had a fuel related problem that ruined our day," Allmendinger said. "It was nothing we really did wrong and it's just one of those circumstances - it is what it is. I thought we had a better chance of winning this year than we did last year. It would have been nice to see how it would have played out. We got back out there and used the rest of the race as a test session and the car had speed. It was good enough to contend."
Career Starts: 243
Pole Awards: 3
First Start: 3/25/2007 Bristol
First Pole: 4/10/2010 Phoenix
Last Pole: 6/27/2015 Sonoma
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
BETTER THAN BOUILLON
Visit BetterThanBouillon.com for this and other grilling recipes.
Each week throughout the NASCAR season Racing-Rewards members are given the opportunity to download exclusive AJ Allmendinger cellphone wallpaper. This week's design design features AJ and his Kingsford Charcoal car.
Click HERE to visit the download page.
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Sunday, July 5th
5:10 PM JTG Daugherty Racing Meet & Greets