Allmendinger fights for solid finish

Reid Spencer - NASCAR Wire Service Monday, Sep 22 1776

Race day at New Hampshire started miserably for AJ Allmendinger.

His No. 47 JTG/Daugherty was handling like a snow plow. Allmendinger went a lap down to Kevin Harvick, the race leader at the time, on Lap 102.

But Allmendinger capitalized on two free passes as the highest-scored lapped car and some adjustments to his Chevy that finally started to bear fruit. Avoiding the chaos that consumed many of his Chase rivals, he finished 13th and ended the day 10th in the standings with a legitimate shot at avoiding elimination at Dover.

“We really struggled,” Allmendinger said. “I was driving my butt off to keep us on the lead lap. We got lucky twice with the Lucky Dog (free pass). Then from there, we started making a couple of adjustments that were pretty good. I was just bad on the restarts; really struggled on restarts. Then with about 100 to go, we got a little bit of track position. I got a good restart there. I could start on the outside and the car was pretty good there.

“I got clear of everybody and thought at that point, if we stayed green, we were going to be pretty good, but we had all those cautions (15 total, five in the last 46 laps). Every caution, I was on the inside (lane) and that just killed me. So to come home 13th is pretty good because at about 150, I thought we were going to be 25th, but also had a point where I thought we would be seventh.”

The calamities that befell other drivers, however, made 13th an excellent result for the underdog team.

“There were a lot of mistakes around us,” Allmendinger said. “I did everything I could. The guys fought hard. Proud of everybody on this Bush’s Beans Chevy. We’re all digging hard. We’re trying to be the little team that could.”