Thanks, Old Man
Dads were a big part in the driving development of Brian Vickers and AJ Allmendinger. With Father’s Day upon us, the two drivers have made sure everyone knows who helped get them to the Sprint Cup level.
Brian’s skill showed at an early age — first in karts, then Allison Legacy cars, then late model stocks and into his days in the Hooters Pro Cup Series. In 2001, Brian debuted in the Nationwide Series and in 2002 made 21 starts as the only rookie driver with an independent team, driving father Clyde’s No. 40.
“My dad is crucial to where I’m at, and my dad was big part of what got me here,” Brian said. “He always encouraged me, always wanted me to do whatever made me happy. My mom always wanted me to win. My dad always made me earn it. He made me want to win — very badly.”
Greg Allmendinger, a former racer, first noticed AJ caught the fever at the ripe old age of two. But it wasn’t easy financing his son’s pursuit to be a professional racer. To keep AJ’s dream alive, Greg and Karen Allmendinger mortgaged their suburban San Jose, Calif., home on three occasions, each time taking away some $30,000.
“Where I’m at is because of him,” AJ said. “He was racing before I was ever born. I was at the race track every night watching him race. I was watching him race local dirt tracks. I got the passion and thrill of victory from him. Basically, everything I am is because of my dad. It’s quite simple … I wouldn’t be doing any of this if it weren’t for him.”
Brian’s No. 83 starts 18th, AJ’s No. 84 39th in today’s Lifelock 400 at Michigan International Speedway (2 p.m. ET, TNT).