Impromptu truck race yields top-20February 23, 2008
Late last night AJ got the call that he was going to do some racing after all this weekend at the California Speedway-just in a Craftsman Series Truck race. AJ hopped behind the wheel of the No. 47 Chevy Silverado of Morgan Dollar Racing for today’s San Bernadino County 200. Joining AJ was his Red Bull Racing Sprint Cup crew chief Rick Viers and his No. 84 pit crew.
Having only turned two laps on Thursday, then put away as a back-up truck, the No. 47 joined the impound line. AJ and Rick had no notes and were up for a challenge to see what they might have for the 100 lap race.
The No. 47 started second-to-last in 34th. With just a few laps into the race, AJ’s radio started breaking up, making it even more difficult to try to improve on the unknown of the Silverado set-up. Between Viers and spotter Tim Fedewa, they were able to make out that the truck was tight on entry and tight in the center.
Under the first caution, the 47 pitted for fuel only. By Lap 25, AJ had climbed up to 25th. On the second yellow on Lap 15, Allmendinger pitted for tires, fuel, and took out one rubber. They went back to green in 28th on Lap 17. AJ worked his way up to 20th and settled into a pace, hovering around that position.
At the halfway point, Viers had to rely on his spotter’s view to assess how the truck was handling and decide what changes to make since the radio communication to AJ was still touch and go. They would go on to make two more stops on Laps 46 and 81. The 84 race crew would go on to finish in 17th and on the lead lap.
“We didn’t really have any expectations coming into this today,” said AJ. “We had a great time and I think it shows how great Ricky, the guys, and myself can run if we get the chance to qualify! It was awesome that everybody worked together so quickly to just get us this chance to race.”