AJ Seventh at DoverOctober 2, 2011
2 October, 2011-There was a lot of optimism for AJ Allmendinger and the Best Buy Ford ahead of the second visit to Dover Speedway. And with good reason, AJ has long shown tremendous speed at the track, which very well should have been the site of his first ever race win last year as he led 143 laps after starting from the front row, only to fall victim to a cut tire.
Fast forward to this year and AJ, along with crew chief Greg Erwin, hit their stride early in the weekend, which saw the No 43 line up seventh on the "Monster" grid. With the race opening up with some cautious laps, and a competition caution, it was just about time to settle in and start moving forward when the No. 11 spun AJ. Or rather, almost spun him.
Keeping the No. 43 off the wall and making for what was pretty much universally declared the "best save of the year" AJ not only didn't hit the wall, but he also kept the car pointed straight after a long and impressive smokey spin-stall.
But, now, he was 43rd.
No matter, a fast car is a fast car and AJ just put his head down and cranked out the laps. Moving up with both on-track speed and a lot of clever calls from Erwin, AJ worked his way back up to take 7th at the finish. It wasn't what he wanted, but it was still an outstanding result considering that for a lot of guys, it would have just been a mess of sheet metal from that spin…
The day was a strong one for Richard Petty Motorsports, as teammate Marcos Ambrose also came home in the top ten with a run to 9th.
Given the strong day, and that there are some very big races coming up Down Under…there was a special request made in the post race interviews, as AJ's race quotes were presented by none other than…Marcos Ambrose!
(In an Australian accent)
"I'm really proud of our effort today. The Best Buy team was strong all day. We did a great job recovering from that Lap 4 spin. It's a great top-10 finish for RPM and the 43 Ford...And my teammate was awesome today."
While Marcos might have gotten a little carried away with what he thought AJ would say, AJ jumped in to make sure the record was straight!
(Done in a laughing NorCal short-guy accent)
"Yea, yea. Marcos did help RPM have a really good day with both cars in the top-10. I really want win at this track. The Best Buy Ford has run great here these last the times for sure. We have had the car to beat here the last two times, but today, I think we were just a little shy on speed. We took four tires on that last stop, but even if we had taken two, I think we would have only probably gained two more spots really. I AM really proud of my guys. It shows you that we continue to get better and better when we can get spun out and work our way right back into a position to win. That's been my goal all year and we're definitely moving in the right direction. So, no, I'm not shall we say 'bitter' like I was in the Spring because I don't think we had anything for those top three."
What is up next? AJ will be back to work at Kansas, the site of his first-ever top ten finish...stay tuned!