AJ Allmendinger Starting 23rd in Sunday's Dover Battle

June 2, 2012

DOVER, Del. (June 2, 2012) –Shell-Pennzoil Dodge driver AJ Allmendinger will start Sunday’s FedEx 400 from the 23rd position after clocking in with a qualifying lap of 22.983 seconds (156.638 mph).  Going out 14th in the qualifying order did not prove beneficial as many expected.

"Not at all what we wanted, but we'll have to take it,” Allmendinger said of his qualifying effort.  “We didn't spend any time in qualifying trim yesterday in practice, so we were flying a bit blind today.  This place is fast and aero sensitive. Add the fact the rain washed away all of the rubber and we were really behind for qualifying in our Shell/Pennzoil Dodge.  The car has been a handful all weekend.  It feels completely different from what it was when I came here for the tire test.  We hoped to roll off better coming into this weekend, unfortunately."

Mark Martin, the final of 45 drivers to go against the clock, claimed the Coors Light Pole Award here this afternoon with a fast lap of 22.742 seconds (158.297 mph).  Jimmie Johnson will start on the outside of the front row after turning in a lap of 22.747 seconds (158.263 mph).  Ryan Newman sill start third (lap of 22.751 seconds/158.235 mph), Clint Bowyer fourth (22.778 seconds/158.147 mph) and Matt Kenseth fifth (22.787 seconds/157.985 mph).

Kevin Harvick, Greg Biffle, Kyle Busch, Kurt Busch and Denny Hamlin rounded out the top-10 qualifiers.  Penske Racing teammate Brad Keselowski will start the Miller Lite Dodge from the 16th spot after turning in a 22.880-second (157.343 mph) qualifying lap.

“It really didn’t matter where you went out in the order today,” said crew chief Todd Gordon.  “We thought going out early might be a break.  The rain last night washed all the rubber off, so the track conditions were different than when we practiced yesterday.  The cloud cover increased so that it may have been even better conditions later in the session."

“This is a 400-lap race and we hope to be as adjustable as we need to be,” said Gordon.  “With the incredibly bad luck we had last week at Charlotte in the 600, we’re looking to rebound with a strong run here tomorrow.”

Sunday’s FedEx 400 Benefiting Autism Speaks (400 laps, 400 miles) on the “Monster Mile” is scheduled to get the green flag at approximately 1:00 p.m. EDT.  Race No. 13 of the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup schedule will feature live coverage by FOX-TV and MRN Radio.