CHEVROLET NCS AT DAYTONA 500 MEDIA DAY – AJ Allmendinger Media Availability Quotes

AJ ALLMENDINGER, NO. 16 KAULIG RACING CAMARO ZL1 – 2024 Daytona 500 Media Day Quotes

You’ve won at Daytona in the Rolex 24 numerous times. As big as that is, can you imagine would it be like to have a Daytona 500 victory?

“For sure. It’s the reason I’m doing this race, not being in Cup full-time. You want to be part of the biggest race in the sport… the prestige of it, the history. It’s such a tough race to win. There is so much luck that is involved with this type of racing and putting yourself in the right position. Heck, last year we led with nine to go and took the lead. We’ve had opportunities to be up front. I’d be lying to you if I said that during the offseason, you’re working out and stuff like that and you’re kind of letting your mind wander. My mind carries off to what it would be like to win this race. But you know there’s a lot that goes into it. You’re part of a legacy once you win this race, no matter what you’ve done.”

It’s kind of the same thing when you won at Indianapolis on the road course. It wasn’t the Indianapolis 500 or the Brickyard 400, but it was at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Reflecting on that, how big a deal was that?

“Indy was my dream. I had always thought about drinking the milk but never thought I’d be in a Cup car to begin with and on the road course. But you’re still part of what that racetrack means to the motorsports world. I drive in there and at Turn One and Turn Two, my banner was hanging there. It gives me chills every time I drive by it. Daytona is the same thing.”

What’s your mindset going into this year chasing the Xfinity championship this year. Does it feel any different when that’s your full-time goal?

“My mentality going into every season is just trying to prove that I can drive a racecar to myself, first and foremost. You spend the offseason and you think maybe it’s disappeared or maybe I wake up and I get in the racecar and I can’t drive the racecar anymore. It’s probably not the most healthy way living in the offseason every year, but it’s what I do in that way and how I push myself. No matter if I’m full-time Xfinity, full-time Cup, part-time driving racecars, it’s still about trying to prove to myself that I’m at an elite level. If I’m not, then I have to make decisions in my own self. It doesn’t change anything.”

You are still at an elite level, how frustrating does it get knowing you’re not full-time (in Cup)?

“At the end of the day, my preference was to stay in Cup if we were going in the right direction. At the end of the day, what Matt Kaulig and Chris Rice and all the men and women of this race team have done for my life over the last six years and hopefully more years down the road of believing in me to drive their racecars – whether it’s Xfinity or Cup of if we ever go Truck racing… whatever it is that they believe in me to drive their racecars, that means the world to me. There’s no frustration at all. I’m still so fortunate in my life that they still want me to drive their racecars. They’re paying me to drive their racecars. At the end of the day, I told them ‘This is my preference but I’m going to live off what you want me to do.’ I keep hoping they want me to drive their racecars because they have really saved my happiness of my racing career with what we’ve been able to do over the last six years.”

What can Kyle Larson expect doing The Double. What do you think the challenges will be for him at both?

“How you celebrate both wins during that day in that amount of time! Seriously, Kyle Larson to me is the pinnacle of what we have as a racecar driver in the world – not just in NASCAR, not in IndyCar, not in North America… in the world. I haven’t experienced doing both in the same day, but I’m sure in the mental aspect of it. Physically, I think racing 340-something races during the year somehow in 365 days, he isn’t going to have to worry about stamina in that way. But the mental side of it of griding away for two to three weeks in that process and that timeline is going to probably be the most challenging part of it.”

What about acclimating to the traffic and the aero portion of that?

“You don’t really experience it until they drop the green and you’re three-wide on the start, you roll down in the corner and all of a sudden all that turbulent air becomes something completely different than what you knew in practice. But I keep going back to him being the most talented guy we have in motorsports when it comes to driving. He’ll figure it out real quick.”