AJ Allmendinger, JTG Racing Richmond preview
Bobby Labonte will miss Richmond International Raceway race:
2000 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Bobby Labonte will not race the No. 47 BUSH'S Beans Toyota Camry this weekend at Richmond International Raceway after suffering three broken ribs in a cycling accident near his Trinity, N.C. home on the morning of Wednesday, August 28.
“I am feeling a lot better, but I don’t want to put the race team in any compromising position this weekend,” said Labonte. “It just makes more sense to focus on my rehab one more week to ensure that I’m ready to go at Chicago (Chicagoland Speedway) with no issues. I plan to be back with the team then and back behind the wheel.”
AJ Allmendinger is filling in for Labonte during the Federated Auto Parts 400 in Richmond, Va.
"Bobby means a lot to the JTG Daugherty Racing team and to our sport," Allmendinger said. "For me, it's a tough situation. I do not want to get more races with the team because someone is injured. Bobby is a guy that I believe is a Hall of Famer and he is a champion. It's tough to have that type of injury. Hopefully, he gets better as soon as possible to get back into the No. 47 BUSH'S Beans Toyota."
"We are all wishing Bobby a speedy recovery and look forward to having him back," crew chief Brian Burns said.
AJ Allmendinger at RIR:
In 12 starts at RIR, Allmendinger has two top-10 finishes. His best finish is seventh-place (4/30/11). The 31-year-old's average start is 17.500 and his average finish is 21.167.
Building on last weekend: "We are looking forward to Richmond," Allmendinger said. "Last weekend showed we are working together to build relationships between myself and the team. Brian Burns (crew chief) and I are getting past a language barrier and working on developing a connection and learning each other. The whole weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway was good. We had a good qualifying run and a solid race. I think there is still a lot of work to keep us moving forward. At the same time, the guys at the shop build really nice race cars and the cars are getting better. Overall, it was a good weekend. It could have been better finish wise, but we can build and learn from it. I was pleased with everything and hope we have a solid weekend at Richmond."
Goals at Richmond: "Each week my goal is to keeping building and improving," Allmendinger said. "Right now, for the team to finish inside the top 20 is a good weekend. We have Richmond this weekend and it is a fun track for me. It gets slick and it is easy to burn the rear tires off the car. The line widens out during the race. It is all about patience there and you do not want to burn your tires. You have to be careful not to get into the corners too hard and burn your breaks. Rhythm and patience is important at Richmond. The track changes through the night. I'm looking forward to it. I was able to test there with MWR (Michael Waltrip Racing) and learned some things."
Striving to be better all around: "I do not look at it as I have something to prove," Allmendinger said. "As a driver, I want to get better inside and outside the car. It is not about trying to prove that I belong here. It is about being competitive and having all the pieces fall into the right place to keep improving and have chances to win races. It is more about trying to prove to ourselves and not the outside world. This JTG Daugherty Racing team has good energy and works really hard."
Feeling optimistic: "We feel optimistic about this weekend," Burns said. "We have always ran well at Richmond with our JTG Daugherty Racing cars. With AJ recently testing there, it gives us another edge for this weekend."
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