Track: Sonoma Raceway
Event: Toyota/Save Mart 350
Race Date / Time: Sunday, June 22nd, 3 PM ET
TV / Radio: TNT / PRN Radio / SiriusXM
Under pressure “We can’t put every egg in one basket and say we have to win this race because if we do then it’s just disappointing if we don’t,” Allmendinger said. “If we go there and have a solid day and just have a chance to win the race, that’s all we can do. I hope we can do that. We had two days of testing there and we had really good speed in the Kingsford Chevrolet.”
Coming home: “It’s our sponsors home race – you know with Clorox and Kingsford – it’s also my home race,” Allmendinger said. “There is a lot going on there. I think we have a shot there to win it. I don’t want to say it’s all about this one race though.”
Getting a grip on the track: “It all comes down to rear grip at Sonoma Raceway,” Allmendinger said. “ECR Engines have a lot of horsepower and you want to put it down to the racetrack. That place especially if it gets hot out there, it’s so easy to burn off the rear tires in five or six laps. Then it’s a long stint when you do that. You have to just ease the rear tires. If you can make your rear tires last longer than most people, then you have a shot to win the race.”
In it to win it: “With these cars, there’s not a lot of grip anyway,” Allmendinger said. “Sonoma is narrow and slick and it is so easy to make a mistake. I think it’s about not locking up the tire because if you lock up a tire in the brake zone, it just kills the tire when you do that. Other than that, if you have a fast car, you have a shot to win it. That’s all you can really ask for during your day at Sonoma.”
Tested Sonoma earlier this month: “With our race team being as small as we are, we don’t get much test time, so any track time we get helps us focus on the weekend and future,” Allmendinger said. “These tests are good because for me, as a driver, you don’t have to focus on other people, you just focus on your car and what feels good.”
Feels good about chances: “The test went great at Sonoma Raceway with AJ during the first week of June,” crew chief Brian Burns said. “It’s just with the new rules package change this season, we wanted to go out there. Obviously, this is one of the races that you put on your list or on your refrigerator that we feel like you can go run and potentially win the race. We showed up there and were very grateful that we got to test at Sonoma Raceway because when we did unload, we were pretty far off. We felt like last year’s stuff that made us good definitely was not the answer for this year. After two days of testing, we walked away really happy and excited about going back.”
There's a chance: “Road-course racing, I’ve always thought, you can wring a bit more out of the car, whether it’s braking or how you use the curbs or the lines you choose,” said Allmendinger. “So, that’s why I enjoy it and that’s why I feel like we can come here and have a shot to do well. And, if we put ourselves in position to win the race, then that’s great."
“Sonoma Raceway is not far from the home office of one of our largest sponsors - The Clorox Company - and it's a home track for AJ", JTG Daugherty Racing co-owner Tad Geschickter said. "We will have all of them out there cheering for us and we want to do well in front of a group of people that have supported us through thick and thin for nearly two decades. We’ve almost won that race before. We would like to give them something to cheer for again this time with AJ.”
Faith in his driver: "AJ is really good at Sonoma Raceway," JTG Daugherty Racing co-owner Brad Daugherty said. "We feel like it’s one of the racetracks – and there’s several, not just the road courses - - that AJ and our team can win. We’re going to go out and be as prepared as we can possibly be. We built him a car specific to Watkins Glen (International) last year and we had a great run there. We feel if we do the same for Sonoma, it gives him a great opportunity. We will need to qualify well, run up front all day and have great pit stops. All we need is a chance on that last green-white-checker to have an opportunity to race to the checkered flag."
AJ Allmendinger has five starts and two top-10 finishes at Sonoma Raceway. His best finish is seventh-place (6/21/2009). The San Jose, California-native’s average start is 19.000 and his average finish is 15.800.
Career Starts: 206
Pole Awards: 2
First Start: 3/25/2007 Bristol
First Pole: 4/10/2010 Phoenix
Last Pole: 4/22/2012 Kansas
Best Start: 1 - 4/10/2010 Phoenix
Best Finish: 2 - 4/1/2012 Martinsville
Driver DOB: 12/16/1981
Hometown: San Jose, Calif.
Crew Chief: Brian Burns
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Friday, June 20th
10:15 a.m. NASCAR media availability in Sonoma Raceway media center
Sunday, June 22nd
9 to 9:20 a.m. The Clorox Company hospitality visit
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