Sunday, September 30, 2007

Stats from AJ's Seat Time

Sure, today’s LifeLock 400 at Kansas Speedway goes on without rookie AJ Allmendinger — and his teammate at Red Bull Racing, Brian Vickers — but you must look inside the numbers to see the benefits of AJ running here and there in the Busch and Craftsman Truck series.

Consider these digits:

— All totaled, AJ has run 2,303 extra miles in the No. 00 truck (Darrell Waltrip Motorsports) and No. 42 Busch car (Chip Ganassi Racing). That’s roughly the equivalent of five Nextel Cup races.

— AJ’s two best finishes in Red Bull Racing’s No. 84 have come the day after he drove the Busch car. His best finish of 18th at California came 24 hours after his first Busch start. The next week, he finished 23rd at Richmond — the site of Busch start No. 2.

— The best qualifying effort of AJ’s brief career was 11th earlier this month at Dover, and that came after AJ registered a goose egg in the practice laps column because of a faulty motor. No doubt the truck and Busch experience on the Monster Mile helped in that desperate situation. Too bad another motor couldn’t last.

AJ finished 25th Saturday at Kansas (BV was ninth), and next on AJ’s seat-time list is the Busch Series race Oct. 12 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Top 10 Reasons...

...why Red Bull Racing is gung-ho for Kansas:

10. Our first top five came at a 1.5-mile track.
9. There’s nothing quite like a Kansas City strip steak.
8. More time to work out the kinks in our COTs.
7. One week closer to Scott Speed’s ARCA debut.
6. We’re off to the see the wizard, the wonderful Wizard of Oz.
5. Kansas City has the cleanest tap water in the United States.
4. Britney Spears is not making a comeback appearance.
3. It’s not tornado season.
2. We’ll arrive just in time to catch “The Office” premier.
1. We want ringside seats for Petty-Hamlin II.

Busch Update:
Where there’s purple, there’s AJ Allmendinger. He’ll drive Chip Ganassi Racing’s No. 42 Memorex Dodge (you can’t miss it) in Saturday’s Busch Series race at Kansas Speedway. Brian Vickers, the 2003 Busch champion, returns to Braun Racing’s No. 10 Toyota for the Yellow Transportation 300.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The Speed Report

Scott Speed got his first taste of stock car racing in an ARCA test at Talladega yesterday. Here’s what the newest addition to our stock car stable had to say…

Describe your first day of testing.
“The banking here is pretty incredible and intimidating. Having never sat in a stock car and to just go out there and run the first lap flat against the wall – I’d be lying if I said that was easy! That took a bit of bravery. The banking here is just super.”

What surprised you the most from today’s test?
“The most surprising thing is that I just don’t dress like these people yet (sarcastic). I got harassed by some of the ARCA officials for my shorts – which I wasn’t supposed to be wearing in the garage – and for my hat because it’s what Europe would call high fashion, but I guess it’s not considered that here.” *Check out Scott’s hat in this photo!

What’s the biggest challenge you’ll face in your first ARCA race next week?
“It will be so intense to race here. You’re just hauling ass because it’s so fast. It’s not going to be easy to throw that thing into a corner at 170 mph. I have to learn how to draft and how to race these cars too. Learning how to run so close together with so many guys will be wild!”

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

What Is That Thing?

Red Bull Racing knows all too well about NASCAR’s zero-tolerance policy when it comes to inspecting the Car of Tomorrow. So the first-year team, like all others at this elite level, inspects every detail on its two Toyota Camrys before they ever leave the shop.

The team puts the cars through the inspection ringer just like NASCAR officials would during initial tech with the help of something that looks like a giant mutated silver spider on steroids. Others have called it a claw-looking monster. Here at the shop in Mooresville, N.C., there’s usually one hanging high above the main floor’s staging area and another lurking out back. A third sighting is unconfirmed.

This master template, along with one each for the nose and tail, encompasses the COT’s entire body. The car and template, which is good for all four makes, must match at more than a dozen points.

When the COT goes fulltime in 2008, the three new body templates will replace the 32 now used on the current car. Templates have been placed on the car one at a time. Now many of those templates are in one, big interlocking template.

Just watch your head if you pay a visit to 136 Knob Hill Road anytime soon.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Benefiting from Busch

Last night's Busch race did not end exactly like AJ would have wanted it to. With 30 laps to go, and running in the 6th position, AJ's right front tire went down. He ran a very solid race up until that point, racing with fellow Cup drivers in the top-10 for most of the day. NASCAR said the No. 42 “intentionally caused a caution," and AJ was penalized a lap. The Ganassi team and race announcers clearly did not agree with this call, but when NASCAR makes a decision, you just have to go with it. AJ rejoined the field in 22nd. He was able to pick up one position before the checkered flag fell and ended the day in 21st.

As disappointed as he was about not finishing in the top-5 last night, AJ has definitely been reaping the benefits of the seat time in the No. 42 Ganassi Busch car. And it has never been more evident than on Friday.

At the beginning of 1st Cup practice the No. 84 car's engine blew on the first lap - on Turn 1 to be exact! He wasn't even able to finish one lap so no time was recorded for the No. 84. By the time Qualifying rolled around in the afternoon, the No. 84 car had the No. 83's set up, and the team hoped for the best. Not only did he make the field, but qualified 11th - his best starting position of the season so far. AJ told the media that he was going for the "biggest pickup from practice." Which he definitely accomplished since he never actually practiced! But he also admitted laps he turned in the three Busch practices earlier in the day did nothing but help his cause.

You can see both Red Bull cars take on the Monster Mile at 1:30 pm today on ABC.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Tunnel Time Across the Pond

Research and development missions never stop. They’re a clandestine bunch, the R&D guys, spending hour after hour on the seven-post shaker rig, at the wind tunnel or on the road at country short tracks like Caraway and Greenville-Pickens in the Carolinas.

Red Bull Racing is going to great lengths — even distances — to make sure its two Toyotas run fast. This month, Red Bull Racing is spending some time in Europe at a “full scale rolling road wind tunnel.”

If it sounds technical, it is.

Full scale means that a regular car is the test specimen — not a scale model. Rolling road means the tunnel’s floor actually moves at wind speed. Our technical director, John Probst, said that’s the key distinction. Most tunnels in the United States today do not have the rolling road feature. They typically have the wheels rotating but not simulation of the car traveling over the road.

Red Bull Racing shipped over one car, along with support equipment. Chief aerodynamicist Nick Ollila is overseeing the project that includes testing of superspeedway and intermediate configurations.

(Listen to Ollila talk about the recent Car of Tomorrow test at Talladega in our audio section at

Thursday, September 20, 2007

ARCA's Need for (Scott) Speed

Team Red Bull and Eddie Sharp Racing are pleased to announce today that former Formula One Scuderia Toro Rosso driver Scott Speed will drive the No. 21 Red Bull Toyota in the ARCA RE/MAX Series at Talladega Superspeedway on Oct. 5, 2007. This will mark Speed's debut in stock car racing.

“I come from a completely different world of racing, so there's no doubt it’s going to be a challenge learning how these cars handle, but I’m ready to get out there and see what I've got!” said Speed.

Speed’s connection with Red Bull dates back to 2002, when he won the Red Bull Driver Search, a program aimed at putting an American talent into Formula One. With Red Bull backing, Speed raced his way through the European ranks and into a full-time seat in 2006 at Red Bull Racing’s sister team, Scuderia Toro Rosso. After parting ways during the 2007 season, Speed turned his attention to landing a Red Bull-backed drive in the States.

In an effort to hone and adapt Speed's skills from F1 to stock car racing, Red Bull tapped what is arguably the best ARCA team in the field, Eddie Sharp Racing. Speed’s inaugural stock car race will have him paired with a well-established ARCA team with high-caliber equipment and the personnel to support his climb through the stock car ranks.

With Red Bull backing and the strong team support of Eddie Sharp Racing, Speed will have the best of both worlds.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Rain, Rain, Don't Go Away

Maybe a little Friday afternoon shower isn’t such a bad thing after all. Rainy days at the race track creep along ridiculously slow, but both Red Bull Racing Toyotas — finally — can breathe easy should Mother Nature pay a visit when it’s go time.

The box score doesn’t show it, but AJ Allmendinger’s 33rd-place finish Sunday at New Hampshire was a significant achievement. His No. 84 leap-frogged the Nos. 49 and 55 in the owner standings, meaning Allmendinger, for now, is guaranteed a spot in the show if it rains.

How, you ask?

Deep in the protocol for determining a starting lineup lies a statistic called “qualifying attempts.” The No. 84 has 27 of those, as do most cars, but the No. 84 is 46th in owner points — one spot ahead of the No. 55 and two better than the No. 49.

Three times weather has dissed Allmendinger, but no more, not as long as the No. 84 maintains or improves its status (the car is 65 points from 44th). And we all know Brian Vickers’ No. 83 is the first non-top 35 car locked in based on BV’s victory last fall at Talladega.

This is much easier than sweating out another go-or-go-home situation, and it’s good for the first five races of 2008, too.

For the record, Friday’s forecast in Dover calls for plenty of sun and a meager 20-percent chance of precipitation. So both Red Bulls must show up stout, something they don’t mind doing. BV’s made seven of the past eight races; AJ the past four.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007


A few weeks ago at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, AJ filmed a segment for Toyota featuring the Red Bull Energy Station. In true "MTV Cribs" fashion, AJ gave a complete tour of the structure, including the DJ stand, bars, flat screen tv's and balcony overlooking the IMS garage (and the #84 car!).

Along with IMS, Energy Stations have appeared at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Infineon Raceway and Lowe's Motor Speedway this season - with it's next appearance coming at the October Charlotte race. The Energy Station serves as a place for guests of Red Bull to hang out during a race weekend to get the full VIP treatment.

Check out the video at then click on the Driver Q&A section to see AJ in action.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

AJ's Fantasy World

AJ Allmendinger hails from Los Gatos, Calif., not far from the old Candlestick Park in San Francisco. He grew up in the backyard of NFL legends Joe Montana and Steve Young — both Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks with the San Francisco 49ers — yet AJ bleeds green and gold and cheers his heart out for No. 4.

Not the Morgan-McClure entry in Nextel Cup, but Brett Favre, quarterback of the Green Bay Packers. AJ is, in fact, a Cheesehead and is so passionate about football that he “owns” a fantasy football team. (For those of you that live under a rock, fantasy football is a game where participants draft and manage a team using real-life NFL players. Statistics mean everything.)

The morning of his Busch Series debut Sept. 1 at California Speedway, AJ hung out with a member of Red Bull Racing’s marketing department in the hotel lobby, providing his expert analysis on the NFL. One thing became clear — you better not bad mouth Favre while AJ’s around. Or any of the Packers, for that matter.

But AJ doesn’t have Favre at his disposal. Instead, he has Cincinnati’s Carson Palmer and the New England Patriots defense. Donald Driver, a Packers wide receiver, is part of Team Allmendinger, however.

And in case you’re wondering, we’ve never heard AJ asking for a Packers score on the radio during a race.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

It is raining... AGAIN!

Well, in keeping with the theme of the season so far, it is raining at the racetrack... yet again!! And it doesn't seem to be clearing up anytime soon. In the picture above you can see the view looking out of the #84 hauler into turn 4 at NHIS.

The original schedule for today was Cup practice from 9:00-9:50am, Truck qualifying at 10:05 am, Cup final practice from 11:30 am-12:30 pm, and the Truck race at 3:00 pm. Right now NASCAR hopes to be able to get in an hour of Cup practice, then run the Truck race, which would line up by owner points due to qualifying being rained out. That may be wishful thinking though as the radar shows rain for as far as you can see - the whole state of New Hampshire actually appears in green.

The good news is the forecast is clear for tomorrow's Cup race. We will keep you posted on the lastest developments in today's schedule. NASCAR will do all they can to get the Truck race in - and we hope to see AJ in action in the 00 Red Bull Tundra at some point today!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Chase Within the Chase

There’s THE Chase, the top 12 racing for a championship. And then there’s OUR Chase, the final 12 racing for their 2008 lives. NASCAR rules say any car in the top 35 in owner standings is guaranteed a spot in the upcoming race, regardless of qualifying effort. For 2008, the top 35 after this season’s 36 races — slow as they might be come Daytona in February — are automatically handed a grid position for the first five events. That gives Red Bull Racing 10 tries to get there. Brian Vickers’ No. 83 sits 38th in the owner standings — 233 points behind the No. 21 in 35th. Red Bull Racing is a mere 32 points from 37th but 214 from 36th. No one has any room for error, as only 549 points separate positions 32 through 40. A good place for Vickers to start is in Friday’s qualifying at New Hampshire, where he owns two top-three starts including a pole in July 2005. Rookie AJ Allmendinger moved from 47th to 45th in driver points when he finished 23rd at Richmond, six days after a career-best effort of 18th at California. The quest for more seat time takes Allmendinger back to the Craftsman Truck Series, where he’ll drive the Darrell Waltrip-owned and Red Bull-sponsored No. 00 Toyota at New Hampshire.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Tally Testing

70 cars - including the No. 83 and No. 84 of Red Bull Racing - took to the track at Talladega Superspeedway Monday and Tuesday taking advantage of the sixth of seven NASCAR-approved tests.

The Car of Tomorrow (COT) will make it's restrictor plate debut at the Talladega race on October 7th, which also marks the 4th race in the Race to the Chase. NASCAR experimented with several restrictor-plate packages and wicker setups throughout the 2-day COT test.

The weather was super hot, but both Red Bull teams made the most of their testing sessions by choosing to work mostly on single car runs. Because as we all know, qualifying days are the most important days of a race weekend until a team becomes locked in the top-35 in points. The crews spent the bulk of each day trying to find speed and figure out what was going to work best for the race in a few weeks. Crew Chief Doug Richert was optimistic and thinks we should be in good shape come race time in October.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

The Color Purple

Last weekend in Richmond, AJ debuted his new Memorex Busch firesuit for Chip Ganassi Racing. The suit did not actually arrive at the track until Friday afternoon - just a few hours before the Busch race. Having not been able to wash (or fade) it yet, let's just say it was bright purple. His crew guys from the No. 42 had their fun with AJ saying he looked like a superhero, a power ranger, Barney, etc - he definately heard it all! As you can see from the photo, Brian made a point to come "admire" AJ's new suit first-hand during driver intros. AJ finished the Richmond Busch race in the 14th spot, having ran most of the race in the top 10 before being spun by the No. 03 at the very end. We think purple is starting to agree with you AJ!

Monday, September 10, 2007

New Team Member

Well...she can’t quite work on the cars yet, but with two parents working in the industry, it’s just a matter of time before this little one is running around the NASCAR garage! No. 83 Car Chief Craig Smokstad and wife Lisa recently welcome their first child – daughter RaElla – into the world. The 7 lb, 11 oz bundle was delivered on August 30th at 2:56 PM. Fun fact - Lisa Smokstad is a tire specialist on the No. 25 car of Casey Mears! (Don’t worry - it’s all friendly rivalry between the two teams.) It’s been quite the baby boom around Red Bull Racing the past few months. We’ll keep you clued in on our extended families arrivals…

Saturday, September 08, 2007


Momentum is just what Red Bull Racing needs to finish off the year strong. And it is also just what the #83 and #84 teams seems to be getting at the right time.

Tonight marks the 2nd week in a row that the two Red Bull cars will race together, and also the 2nd week in a row they will start side by side. Tonight AJ rolls off the grid in the 27th spot, and Brian in the 28th spot.

The goals each team has for the end of the season are straight forward. The #83 is trying to get into the top 35 in owner's points so they can have a guaranteed spot in the race each week. They must overtake the #10 and #22.

For the #84 team, they are trying to move up into the top 43 in owner's points so they can be guaranteed a spot in the field in case of a rain-out. Right now the #84 must overtake the #49 and #55 to reach their goal. Tonight's race should be a good points night - the #55 did not qualify for the race and #49 will roll off the grid in the 43rd spot.

Tune into ABC tonight at 7:30 pm to see the Red Bull cars in action at RIR!

Friday, September 07, 2007

Off to the Impound

Ever heard of the phrase “run what ya brung?”

Never does that hold more true than in the next 24 hours at Richmond International Raceway, where AJ and BV qualified their Red Bull Toyotas in 27th and 28th, respectively. Should you want to see two really cool-looking cars take the green flag side by side, check out row 14 in Saturday night’s Chevy Rock & Roll 400 (7:30 p.m. ET on ABC).

Now back to that silly saying. Richmond is one of the so-called impound races. After teams qualify, their cars are quarantined and closely watched by guard dogs — really it’s just overnight security personnel — in the chained-up Nextel Cup garage.

The Bull Crews can’t touch the Nos. 83 and 84. Crew chiefs Doug Richert and Rick Viers can’t work their magic overnight to squeeze out an extra ounce of speed. What the two Red Bulls qualified with is what they’ll race with. Not a tweak here. Not a turn there. Nothing until the first pit stop.

Impound races are a rare occurrence. Only five of the season’s 36 races carry that label — both Richmond races, the two at Talladega and the July event at Daytona.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Riding a Small Wave Into RIR

Mr. Mo-Mentum bought a ticket on behalf of Red Bull Racing for this weekend’s NASCAR events at Richmond International Raceway. The team’s two drivers manned up in the sweltering southern California heat Sunday night, and now there’s a bit of bravado beating from Red Bull Racing. Sure, it was only one race, but Brian Vickers’ eighth-place finish and AJ Allmendinger’s 18th-place run in the Sharp Aquos 500 proved to the folks on pit road that Red Bull Racing — two cars, two drivers and the many men and women behind it — is creeping closer to, as they say, consistency. Brian owns two top-10 finishes in two of the past three races and four overall. AJ has gone from the Bristol high banks to the flat track in Fontana, where he was running third with 25 laps to go before finishing a career-best 18th. Richmond’s short track is next. BV missed out on the rain-delayed race there in May, but AJ qualified a season-best 13th. And they’ll both run in Friday night’s Busch Series race — Brian in Braun Racing’s No. 10 Toyota and AJ in Chip Ganassi Racing’s No. 42 Dodge.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Bright Spots in SoCal

Sunday night’s NASCAR race at California Speedway racked up quite a few bright spots on this season’s highlight reel. For a brand-new team, Red Bull Racing has had its share of highs and lows, but no one can argue that high moments breed momentum. Here’s a quick recap from “Fontucky” as the locals call it: BV finished 8th marking his fourth top-10 finish of the season and still holds the record for the most top-10 finishes by a Toyota this year (Toyota has racked up 7 total). Vickers was also the top-finishing Camry and led 3 laps for a total of 98 laps this season (more laps led than any other Camry!). AJ finished 18 – the second highest finishing Toyota - and earned his career high finish in NEXTEL Cup. 24 races down and 12 to go…more good things to come from Red Bull Racing.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Side By Side

Tomorrow will mark the first race of the year where both Red Bull cars will line up on the starting grid next to each other. Brian qualified 17th and AJ 18th. This is also the best overall team qualifying effort of the year. Both Red Bull cars have not raced on track together since the first Michigan race back in June - so needless to say everyone is pumped!

The green flag of the Busch race waves tonight at 7:16pm. Brian rolls off the grid 9th in the #10 for Braun Racing and AJ rolls off 18th in the #42 for Chip Ganassi Racing. Tune into ESPN2 to catch all the action!