AJ Allmendinger will make his third appearance in the all-star race this week, but it will be the first time that two of these came in back-to-back seasons. He earned his 2015 berth by winning last year’s race at Watkins Glen International after having to drive into the big show through the Showdown three times.
It was announced on Saturday before the SpongeBob 400 that AJ Allmendinger signed a five-year contract extension in the No. 47 JTG-Daugherty Racing Chevrolet.
AJ Allmendinger earned top-10s in his first two similarly-configured, 1.5-mile track races this season with a seventh at Atlanta Motor Speedway and a sixth at Las Vegas Motor Speedway; he slipped to 21st at Texas Motor Speedway and needs to correct his course to be a good value again.
AJ Allmendinger practiced for about three-fourths of the first session at Talladega SuperSpeedway and then headed for the golf course.
AJ Allmendinger was notably strong in the final practice session for the Toyota Owners 400. He posted the third-quickest speed among 32 drivers in final practice at 122.139 mph from laps two through 11.
AJ Allmendinger swept the top 20 in his first four starts of the season and earned back-to-back top-10s at Atlanta and Vegas. His last two efforts have been hampered by engine problems, however, and he finished outside the top 30 at Auto Club and Martinsville.
AJ Allmendinger has finished on the lead lap and in the top 20 in his last five attempts at Auto Club Speedway after starting as far forward as 18th and as deep in the pack as 30th. He qualified 18th for Sunday’s Auto Club 400.
AJ Allmendinger finished sixth in the Kobalt 400 at Vegas, which was his second consecutive top-10. The last time he posted back-to-back top-10s was at the end of April and beginning of May last year.
AJ Allmendinger has shown promise in recent attempts at Las Vegas. Last year he finished 18th after starting 18th with his current team. He finished 19th in 2011 with Richard Petty Motorsports after starting seventh.
AJ Allmendinger scored his second top-10 since winning the Cheez-it 355 at the Glen. He finished ninth at Martinsville last fall before crossing under the checkers seventh this week.
AJ Allmendinger hopes to pick up where he left off last year. His last three attempts on similarly-configured, 1.5-mile tracks ended in a sweep of the top 15 and lead lap finishes.
AJ Allmendinger has finished worse than he started in his last nine consecutive plate races. Occasionally it is as little as from third to fifth in last year’s Aaron’s 499 at Talladega, but an early accident at Daytona in July sent him home last after qualifying 24th.
AJ Allmendinger, who earned his first career victory and berth in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup in 2014, will not compete in the (Feb. 14) Sprint Unlimited at Daytona International Speedway.
With NASCAR’s new knockout style qualification procedure, starting position has become increasingly important. For the seventh time this year, no driver who started 25th or worse finished among the top 10.