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

Three-time W Series champ Jamie Chadwick joining Andretti in Indy NXT Series for 2023

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Jamie Chadwick, the three-time W Series champion, will drive for Andretti Autosport in the Indy NXT Series next season.

Chadwick will make her debut in an American racing series in March, driving the No. 28 for Andretti Autosport with sponsorship from DHL. The 24-year-old will become the first female driver in 13 years to compete full time in the Indy NXT championship.

Chadwick joined the female free-to-enter W Series in its inaugural 2019 season, winning two races and the first of three consecutive championships. She has been a reserve driver for the Williams Formula One team and will continue in that role in 2023. She also has driven in the Extreme E Series.

Despite her success, Chadwick hasn’t landed a bigger ride in F3 or F2, and her break didn’t come until Michael Andretti contacted her and offered a test in an Indy NXT car.

The final three races of this year’s W Series schedule were canceled when funding fell through, but Chadwick still believes the all-female series was the right path for her.

“W Series has always been and will continue to be an opportunity to be racing for every female driver, so for my side, I looked at it while perhaps I would have liked to step up maybe earlier, at the same time being able to have that chance to race, get that experience, have that development, seat time… I was constantly learning,” Chadwick told The Associated Press.

“In that sense, I wasn’t frustrated at all. But on the flip side of it, now I’ve had that experience testing in the United States in Indy NXT and this is something I’m really excited about.”

Chadwick also is expected to have an enhanced role as a development driver next season with Williams, which chose American driver Logan Sargeant to fill its open seat on next year’s F1 grid.

“Andretti Autosport is proud to be supporting Jamie alongside DHL,” said Michael Andretti. “Jamie’s successful career speaks for itself, but Indy NXT gives Jamie the opportunity to continue her development in a new type of racing.

“We’ve turned out five Indy NXT champions over the years and look forward to continuing our role in developing new talent.”

Indy NXT is the new name of the rebranded Indy Lights Series, the final step on the ladder system before IndyCar.

Andretti will field two drivers next season in IndyCar that were developed in Indy NXT: Kyle Kirkwood, the 2021 champion, will return to Andretti after one season in IndyCar driving for A.J. Foyt Racing, and Devlin DeFrancesco is back for a second season.

Chadwick will be teammates in Indy NXT with Hunter McElrea and Louis Foster. She becomes Andretti’s second full-time female driver alongside Catie Munnings, who competes for Andretti United in the Extreme E Series.