AJ Can Rest Easy — For Now
For the first time in 53 races, AJ Allmendinger enters a weekend with a certain sense of comfort. His No. 84 Red Bull Toyota is in the top 35, and that status guarantees him a starting spot at Michigan.
“For me,” he said, “it won’t be the anxiety of, ‘Oh my God, we have to make this race.’”
AJ has reeled off four consecutive finishes inside the top 20 since the addition of crew chief Jimmy Elledge, with three of those being 13th or better. After an 11th-place showing Sunday at Watkins Glen, the No. 84 jumped from 37th to the coveted 35th position in car owner points. He’s in the show — regardless of what disaster might strike in the Irish Hills.
“It’s a big deal for at least one week,” AJ said. “But we’re only in (the top 35) by eight points, and I don’t want to say we’re good. All it takes is one little mistake, mechanical or driver error, and we’re right back out. Friday will definitely be a much better day this week, but we want to keep building on the momentum. I don’t want to just be in the top 35. I want to keep looking forward.”
Practice for the 3M Performance 400 begins at noon ET on Friday, with AJ's first stress-free qualifying session beginning at 3:40 p.m.