AJ Allmendinger Starting Pennzoil Dodge 14th In Sunday's Vegas Battle

March 9, 2012

LAS VEGAS (March 9, 2012) – AJ Allmendinger, driver of the No. 22 Pennzoil Dodge for Penske Racing, will start Sunday’s Kobalt Tools 400 from the 14th position.  Allmendinger toured the demanding 1.5-mile Las Vegas Motor Speedway in 28.581 seconds (188.937 mph) during Friday afternoon’s qualifying session.

“I thought it was a good lap for the Pennzoil Dodge,” Allmendinger said with a slightly confused look on his face.  “I’m a little lost because the lap felt faster than the speed showed.  Our car is fast.  I’m not quite sure what happened.  The car is really good over the bumps.  It doesn’t feel like I’m scrubbing any speed off the car at all.  The car is good. I’m just not sure why it wasn’t faster.”

Unlike last weekend at Phoenix, where all the practice was held on Friday and Dinger and the Todd Gordon-led “Double Deuce” team struggled somewhat, the teams get two practice sessions here tomorrow in preparation for Sunday’s race.

“We have a little bit of work to do, but the car is stable,” Dinger offered.  “It feels good around here. We’re just going to rub on it a little bit for tomorrow’s practice session and see if we can find some more speed in race trim.”

With a new qualifying record set in today’s time trial session, Dinger predicts the pace at the start of the race will be extremely fast.  “Track position,” he responded when asked what will be the most important aspect of Sunday’s battle.  “You have to be up front because the track is so fast that you have to be aero good.  You’re so much faster up front than in traffic here.  The track isn’t that wide so you really want track position.”

Kasey Kahne picked up the Coors Light Pole Award today with his record lap of 28.353 seconds (190.456 mph).  That just edged Kyle Busch’s lap of 28,415 seconds (190.040 mph).  Kevin Harvick (lap of 28.419 seconds/190.014 mph) was third, with Dale Earnhardt Jr. (28.440 seconds/189.973 mph) fourth and Clint Bowyer (28.450 seconds/189.807 mph) fifth.  Jimmie Johnson, Tony Stewart, Joey Logano, Greg Biffle and Martin Truex Jr. rounded out today’s top-10 qualifiers.

Matt Kenseth, Kurt Busch, Mark Martin, Dinger and Marcos Ambrose completed the top-15 qualifiers.  Penske Racing teammate Brad Keselowski will start his Miller Lite Dodge from the 20th spot after clocking in with a lap of 28.703 seconds (188.134 mph).

The action here at LVMS continues tomorrow with practices from 9:30 a.m. till 10:25 a.m. and from 12:20 p.m. till 1:20 p.m.  Sunday’s Kobalt Tools 400 (267 laps, 400.5 miles) has a 12:00 noon local (3:00 p.m. EDT) starting time and features live coverage by FOX-TV, PRN Radio and Sirius/XM NASCAR Channel 90.