Allmendinger talks about new Petty deal After signing a new multi-year contract to stay at Richard Petty Motorsports and then promptly turning in a fourth-place finish at Watkins Glen, AJ Allmendinger has much to be happy about. Allmendinger talked with Ford Racing about his new deal and what he hopes to do at Michigan this weekend.
AJ ALLMENDINGER – No. 43 Best Buy Ford Fusion – DO YOU FEEL LIKE A WEIGHT IS OFF YOUR SHOULDERS AND YOU CAN CONCENTRATE ON RACING NOW THAT THE CONTRACT SITUATION IS RESOLVED? “Not really. For me, racing was my focus. My manager Tara was working on the rest of it. Yeah, when I got home I would think about it a little bit, but at the race track I am here for one reason and that is to do whatever I can to win. Whether it is personally, for a contract or for sponsors, I am the hardest on myself. When I go home I will probably be a lot less stressed. The talks were always good and I never thought like this may not happen. It was just a matter of when it was going to happen. I am really happy to be here and really happy to be a part of Ford. Jamie Allison especially, but everybody at Ford was a big part of this and why I am staying here. They pushed so hard and made me really feel like they wanted me here and that was really cool. I know we have a lot of things we need to go through over the next few weeks and a lot more announcements that are coming from the team, but this was a big step here and it is good.”
NOW YOU GET TO HEAD INTO FORD COUNTRY WITH THE RACE AT MIS, WHAT DO YOU LOOK FORWARD TO MOST ABOUT THE MICHIGAN WEEKEND? “It is great racing. We had a good finish in June, finishing 11th. The race itself wasn’t very good but we got a good finish out of it. I feel like we kind of over the last seven or eight weeks were getting better and better but then we hit a plateau and have struggled a little bit. That is something for me and Mike Shiplett and the team to sit down with and figure out which direction to go. It was really good for Ford to get the win at Pocono and the Roush Fenway guys have really stepped the program up with some of the stuff we have helped them with and now hopefully we can return that and just make our cars better. I am looking forward to it because I think we have to go a different direction to get better. Even when we were at our worst we were still running 16th or 17th. It is a fun race track and a big race for Ford, so that is always exciting.”
TALK A LITTLE ABOUT THE COLLABORATION WITHIN THE FORD TEAMS. WITH KASEY FINISHING 2ND AT THE JUNE MICHIGAN RACE AND NOW THE ROUSH FENWAY TEAM DOING SO WELL, DOES THAT GIVE YOU A HOPE THAT GOOD THINGS ARE COMING DOWN THE PIPE? “Yeah. They have definitely stepped the game up. It had gotten to the point where we were running better than them a few weeks in a row and they have stepped it up and now we have to step it back up. That is what is so fun about this. We know what is there. There is no secret, we just have to find the right things we need in my race car. It is a team thing between Mike and I. We need to figure out where we need to be. We felt good and now we have lost our way a little bit. We are not that far off, but the good thing is there are a lot of good notes that we can pick through and work off of to get going in the right direction again.”
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