And now, for A.J. Allmendinger’s next trick …

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Fresh off his first career NASCAR win (in any series) Saturday in the Nationwide Series at Road America, A.J. Allmendinger will be back behind the wheel of the No. 47 JTG Daugherty Toyota next Sunday (June 30) in the Sprint Cup race at Kentucky, part of a fill-in deal designed to get a different perspective and input from another driver to improve the performance and consistency of the car in addition to that from regular JTG driver Bobby Labonte.

In essence, call it JTG getting a second opinion from Allmendinger.

The Kentucky race will be the second of five races with JTG for Allmendinger. He finished 19th last week at Michigan in his first stint with JTG, the team’s best finish since a 19th-place showing at Richmond in April. Allmendinger will also sub for Labonte at Watkins Glen in August, with the other two race venues to be announced.

Allmendinger  will also race in the Nationwide Series for Penske Racing at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on August 17.

“We’re going to try and get another one,” Allmendinger said after Saturday’s win.

Labonte qualified 20th for Sunday’s Toyota/SaveMart 350 at Sonoma Raceway while Allmendinger is still reveling in the afterglow of his breakthrough win. He will drive all three Cup races in July: Daytona, New Hampshire and Indianapolis.


Position of F1 start lights altered to compensate for safety halo

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MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — The position of start lights will be altered on Formula One tracks this season, in a bid to ensure the drivers’ line of vision is not impeded by the controversial halo protection device.

The halo is a titanium structure introduced this year in a bid to ramp up driver safety, forming a ring around the cockpit top. It is designed to protect the drivers’ head from loose debris and offer better safety during eventual collisions.

Although drivers largely understand the need for it, very few like it. They are worried it impedes visibility, it looks ugly and also that fans will no longer be able to identify a driver properly from his race helmet. Drivers also take longer to climb in and out of their cars.

Formula One’s governing body has addressed concerns and asked every circuit “to make the lights at a standard height above the track,” FIA race director Charlie Whiting said.

“Pole position seems to be the worst case scenario with the halo,” Whiting added at the season-opening Australian GP. “Maybe the driver can’t quite see the lights, or see only half of them, and he might have to move his head too much.”

The new start lights were positioned lower for Friday’s first two practice sessions at Albert Park. Drivers were also allowed the rare chance to rehearse grid starts at the end of both sessions.

“We haven’t normally allowed practice starts on the grid here because it’s quite a tight timetable,” Whiting said. “What I thought would be a good idea was to give the driver sight of those lights, rather than for the first time on Sunday evening.”

A repeat set of lights has been moved from its usual position halfway up the grid to a more convenient position to the left.

“Those repeat lights were normally halfway up the grid, and they were fitted round about 2009, when the rear wings became higher on the cars,” Whiting said. “But now the wings have been lowered, there’s no need for those halfway up the grid.”