AJ Allmendinger is still upset about missing a gear at Sonoma; Wants to see the boot run at Watkins Glen
AJ Allmendinger will be a threat for the win in two races this weekend at Watkins Glen
AJ Allmendinger has an average finish of 9th in his Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series career at Watkins Glen International. In 2014, he picked up the win and transferred into the playoffs.
Allmendinger is also driving in the NASCAR Xfinity Series event for GMS Racing this weekend. He going to be a threat for the win Saturday afternoon.
It’s his first NXS race since 2013. It’s his first double-duty race in 10 years. Aftershock, will be featured on the machine. They’re a sponsor that’s never been a NASCAR sponsor in the past.
This weekend comes after recent disappointment at Sonoma Raceway. Allmendinger won a stage. However, upon shifting to 3rd, he threw it into 1st and cooked a few parts. He ended his day with a DNF.
What happened and are you over it?
“I’m not over it yet. It was pretty simple… I missed a shift, that was it,” AJ Allmendinger stated from the media center at Watkins Glen.
“Bad mistake. Something I’ve never really done before. It’s still on my mind for sure.”
“That was all me. Actually, we have new transmissions this year. The guys have done a great job. They’re actually the easiest transmissions I’ve ever shifted in my life.”
“It was something where for the thousandth time that I’ve shifted like that, it was nothing that I ever really thought of. I probably was a little lackadaisical shifting from 2nd to 3rd.”
“Our other transmissions because they were harder to shift it would actually reject. If it went back into 1st it would just pop it into neutral. That [new] one was smooth and it went into 1st.”
“It’s something I think about still. Something that still annoys me. It’s kinda like a bad golf swing. You hit 100 great swings and all the sudden you hosel one. That one sticks in your mind. How did that happen?”
Why is that still on your mind?
“Because I’m a perfectionist. It’s not going to bother me here [at Watkins Glen] but I am who I am. It’s still in the back of my mind. It still just annoys me.”
“Just because I was disappointed for the race team. I don’t think we were going to win that race. I don’t think it cost us a playoff spot. I thought we were going to at least have a top 3, top 4 finish.”
Saturday will be a very rare appearance for AJ Allmendinger in the NASCAR Xfinity Series. His last race came at Road America and the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course with Team Penske.
In both of those 2013 event, Allmendinger drove the car to victory lane.
Why are you in the Xfinity race?
“Because GMS asked me to be in it. And it’s a race, at Watkins Glen! I mean, why not?”
“I haven’t done an Xfinity race since the two races I did with Team Penske at Road America and Mid-Ohio.”
“I felt fortunate. They came to me and asked me if I wanted to do this race with them. I said, ‘For sure.’ I love this place. Any type of race car that you get to be in around here is an awesome thing. It’s enjoyable.”
“It’s a great team. They’ve already got a win this year. For a second year Xfinity team, I think they got a lot of speed in the car. More importantly, I thought it was a competitive car that I could go out there and run up front in.”
“Anytime a race team wants you to drive a race car, it means a lot.”
The NASCAR Xfinity Series hosted two sessions on Friday at Watkins Glen International. Both sessions remained green but the track suffered heavy rain. Mostly, just the rookie drivers turned a lap with rain tires, per NASCAR requirement.
“We’ll start cold turkey tomorrow and get after it.”
Why haven’t you run many Xfinity races?
“I never sought after it. For the most part, the best cars are taken by the full-time drivers or the Cup drivers that are driving for their race team.”
“I’ve always wanted to be in a competitive car. I’m not just going to go out there just to be out there.”
Will this help AJ Allmendinger come Sunday?
“I don’t think it makes a huge deal. But, there are stuff that we can possibly try on setup that may help on the Cup side of it. It never hurts to run more laps around a race track.”
AJ Allmendinger on crowds at Watkins Glen
Watkins Glen International was just voted the best track in NASCAR, again. So, what are they doing? A big part of that is the camping atmosphere.
The track recently positioned their parent company to add more grandstands. ISC was hesitant to do that, so instead they just built a few more campgrounds.
“It’s one of the best natural road courses that we have in North America. I wish we ran all of it. I wish we ran the boot and everything. That would make it really exciting. And I think it would separate the field a little bit more.”
“The crowd that we’ve got in the last several years. Really, every year. But, in the last couple of years it really seems like it stood out the last 4-5 years. It’s a packed house!”
“There’s not an empty seat. There’s not an empty campground. And you feel that atmosphere on Sunday. There’s people everywhere.”
“It pumps me up when you see that big of crowd show up to a race track. It just makes it fun to be here.”
Related: Glamping at The Glen