Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Allmendinger Will Return At Phoenix

A.J. Allmendinger will return to the Phoenix Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team in the Subway Fresh Fit 500k at Phoenix International Raceway.  

Allmendinger will drive the No. 51 Guy Roofing Chevrolet in his fifth Sprint Cup Series start with team, one week after Regan Smith steered the car to a seventh-place finish in the season-opening Daytona 500. 

Allmendinger is no stranger to Phoenix International Raceway. He has eight previous Sprint Cup Series starts at the one-mile oval and has driven to four Top-15 finishes and two Top-10s. He has three career front-row starts there, including a pole in 2010. Phoenix Racing has made 16 Cup Series starts at Phoenix with a best finish of ninth in 2005 with driver Johnny Sauter. 

"This will be good,” said Allmendinger. “It's been a few months since I've been in a stock car. I haven't been in one of the Gen-6 cars yet, so it will take a little time to get acclimated. Phoenix International Raceway is a great place for me to get back behind the wheel. I've always enjoyed the race track. It will definitely feel different, but I'll be ready to go.  

"It definitely helps to go to a track that I enjoy already,” he said. “It's a tough race track, especially with the repave. It starts off slick when we make our first few laps, then it gains grip. It picks up a ton of grip pretty quickly, then goes back to being slick for the race. It's definitely a challenging race track.  

“I know the guys will have a good race car ready for the weekend,” said Allmendinger. “I was really impressed with their run last week at Daytona. It showed that they're putting together solid equipment and have a good feel for the new car. I think I'll have to ease into it for the first 30-45 minutes and get used to the new car. But after that, I'll be up to speed and ready to go.” 

The California native said PIR is one of the most technical and challenging tracks in NASCAR. 

“It takes finesse and you have to hit your marks perfect every time,” he said. “There's barely any banking, which means it's easy to slip and slide if you come into the corners too hot. You also have to be mindful of your brakes. It's easy to use them up in the early stages of the race and not have any left for the end.  

“I think that's what I enjoy so much about the track,” he said. “You have to be on top of your game to have a good day there. I'm really looking forward to hopping in the Guy Roofing Chevy this weekend."

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