RACE: Auto Club 400
DATE/TIME: March 20th / 3:30 PM ET
Working the seams: “We're looking forward to racing our No. 47 Food4Less/SCOTT Products Chevrolet SS at Auto Club Speedway," Allmendinger said. "It's a fun place and I enjoy going there, but the seams are really tough. It’s always been tough, but over the last couple of years the track has gotten old and you have got to be careful about how your car gets across the seams. It’s something you have to work on. If your car is good over the seams, you can dictate where you want to run. It’s a place where you kind of have to pick a lane once you get into the corner and if your car is good you stay in that lane. If it’s not, you slide across the seam and usually get hooked on it. Most of the time, you get tight across it. Also, the place is pretty hard on tires. It gets fairly slick fairly quick. I’m thinking with the new downforce package that’s probably going to be worse."
Momentum: “With the tapered spacers that we have, being good on the bottom for a certain amount of laps and then being able to move up and keep that momentum going that’s what is tough around there," Allmendinger said. "Once the pace really slows down, you start running the bottom and it’s hard to have any momentum off the corners. You get somebody that runs the middle or the top of the track, they carry a ton of momentum. So, I think having your car good enough where you can move around and keep that momentum going around that big track and that will help conserve tires and help the lap times. As long as you can keep moving around, you can kind of keep the lap times pretty stable.”
Searching around: “It’s about how much the tires get worn out and how slick the track is," Allmendinger said. "You’ve got so many lanes to choose from. It’s bumpy in general. You always have to search and that’s the biggest thing at that track. You can find a lane that works for 20 laps and 20 laps later it goes away completely and you’ve got to find another place that works for you. I think that is why the racing is so good there because cars are always moving around. We always hear how aero-sensitive our cars are and the only way you can fix that is not be behind another car. Because that place has so many lanes, you are able to move around and not get stuck behind another car.”
Not much of a comparison: “I’d say Atlanta (Motor Speedway) and California (Auto Club Speedway) are similar because of how old and slick they are both getting, but the tracks are so different," Allmendinger said. "Atlanta is a mile-and-a-half and a little bit more wavy. I wouldn’t say Atlanta is bumpy. It has a lot of waves in it and you are not bouncing the car off the track. California has more harsh bumps that you’ve got to get your car to where it doesn’t crash the splitter, but you are always trying to get your car as low as possible. That’s one of those things. I think it lends itself to the same type of racing, but what we’ve learned at Atlanta doesn’t help us at all at California.”
Good racing and big crowd: “Over the past couple of years the races have been so good there,” Allmendinger said. “It’s always nice to see that place packed with fans. The last two years the races have been sold out and that makes it awesome and the finishes have been exciting. There’s been some great racing and I see that being the same case this weekend.”
Shorter race: “Shortening the race is a big deal for the fans and drivers,” Allmendinger said. “That was a race that seemed like it took so long to complete and the middle of the race we kind of got stretched out. It didn’t make it a lot of fun for fans because as drivers at that point you’ve just got to settle in and you don’t want to use your stuff up too much. Taking a hundred miles away, I’d say puts a little more pressure on us to make sure the cars are right early on because you don’t get as many pit stops. If you get down a lap, you don’t have that time to make it back up. Shortening the race, I think was a huge help for all of us. We’ll be more aggressive throughout the course of the race, which makes for really good racing.”
Hard work payoff: “We know where we lacked a little throughout the course of the weekend at Phoenix International Raceway last weekend,” Allmendinger said. “The guys have worked hard and spent even more time on the Fontana car and hopefully that pays off for us this weekend.”
Managing bumps: “We’re looking forward to going to Fontana (Calif.),” crew chief Randall Burnett said. “It’s a tricky place and it’s bumpy. There are lots of different lines drivers can run, but the seams are a struggle there. You don’t want to get the car upset going across them. You have to pay attention to managing the bumps and being able to run multiple lanes and having overall speed in the car.”
Off week: “After racing at California, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series has an off weekend," Burnett said. "I’m going to spend time with the girls at home. The guys will have Thursday and Friday of that week off to recharge. It just helps us to get back to the East Coast and get all our stuff in line and caught back up. The West Coast swing is hard in general. It’s moving parts and pieces across the country. So, it gets all of our stuff back in house so we can go through everything and look at everything really good and start focusing on the East Coast swing of the schedule."
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Career Starts: 267
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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