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Life’s been a little different for AJ Allmendinger since he capped off Red Bull Racing Team’s winning week with a victory in the Sprint Showdown.
Reality, however, quickly set in.
“It all starts again,” AJ said. “Got to qualify to get in the show.”
AJ’s No. 84 Red Bull Toyota sits 40th in the owner standings, still 170 points out of the top 35. But he’s taken a liking to 1.5-mile Lowe’s Motor Speedway, where his career-best finish of 15th came in fall 2007.
Teammate Brian Vickers, one of four North Carolina-born drivers entered in NASCAR’s longest race, is 17th in points, with the Chase’s final spot only 105 points away. Brian led 76 laps and earned the team’s first top-five finish in last year’s 600.
Thursday’s lone 90-minute practice is scheduled for 3 p.m. ET. Qualifying for 48 cars is set for 7:10 p.m.