Chase Capsules: AJ Allmendinger

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47-AJ Allmendinger
Team: JTG Daugherty Racing
Crew Chief: Brian Burns
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Best Finish: 15th (2011)
Inaugural Chase Appearance
 
Regular Season Recap: Allmendinger started the year respectably with three top-10s and no finish worse than 26th in the first 10 races, and ranked 15th in the points. Then for the next 11 races, the No. 47 team didn’t finish better than 18th. Still, Allmendinger knew he had a Chase opportunity if he won at Watkins Glen and seized the moment in a thrilling bout with Marcos Ambrose. Allmendinger’s win is the payoff for seven years of trying, and back-to-back top-15 results following the win are proof they could possibly play spoiler in the early Chase races.

Chris’ Take: To advance from the Challenger Round would be a feather in the cap for ‘Dinger and JTG Daugherty, but that may be too tall a task against this field. Getting a good start at Chicagoland will be critical, but like Almirola, he’s not been strong on the intermediate ovals this season. Nonetheless, you can bet that everyone in the 47 squad will be enjoying their time in the spotlight this fall as Chase contenders.

Jerry’s Take: Much like Aric Almirola, AJ Allmendinger has the chance to be this year’s Chase Cinderella. His emotional win at Watkins Glen – and the determination he displayed in that last-lap duel with Marcos Ambrose – showed Allmendinger has the talent and the moxie to go head-to-head with every driver in the Chase. And while most of his competitors will be focusing on the biggest names in the Chase, Allmendinger (like Almirola) has a chance to sneak past the first couple of rounds. Unfortunately, the buck will stop for him by the third round and, as much as we’d love to see the Cinderella story continue all the way to Homestead, it’s going to be very difficult for a one-car team to go that far, no matter who the driver is.

Tony’s Take: Like Aric Almirola (same initials), Allmendinger isn’t going to be a threat to win the Chase barring an unlikely sequence of events. However, he’s had his moments at Martinsville, Charlotte and Talladega in the past to where if he advances through the Challenger Round to the Contender Round, he could upset the apple cart results-wise in those races. Like Kurt Busch a year ago, Allmendinger’s done well to make the Chase in a single-car team, and anything he achieves from here will be a bonus.

AJ Allmendinger’s Career Statistics at Chase Tracks
Chicagoland (1.5 mile) – No wins, no Top-5s, no Top-10s in 5 starts
New Hampshire (1 mile) – No wins, no Top-5s, 1 Top-10 in 11 starts
Dover (1 mile) – No wins, no Top-5s, 3 Top-10 in 13 starts
Kansas (1.5 mile) – No wins, no Top-5s, 2 Top-10s in 9 starts
Charlotte (1.5 mile) – No wins, 1 Top-5, 2 Top-10s in 13 starts
Talladega (2.66 mile) – No wins, 1 Top-5, 1 Top-10 in 9 starts
Martinsville (half-mile) – No wins, 1 Top-5, 2 Top-10s in 12 starts
Texas (1.5-mile) – No wins, no Top-5s, 2 Top-10s in 11 starts
Phoenix (1 mile) – No wins, no Top-5s, 2 Top-10s in 10 starts
Homestead-Miami (1.5 mile) – No wins, 1 Top-5, 2 Top-10s in 5 starts