Allmendinger Starting 20th in Sunday's Michigan Battle

June 16, 2012

BROOKLYN, Mich. (June 16, 2012) – Shell-Pennzoil Dodge driver AJ Allmendinger will start 20th in Sunday’s Quicken Loans 400 here at Michigan International Speedway after clocking in with a lap of 36.010 seconds (199.944 mph).

“That was slower and I don’t know why,” Allmendinger said.  “I guess I’ll just go with the answer that I don’t know (smile).  It felt okay, I guess I maybe used a little too much brake, I guess, I don’t know.  I thought it was going to be faster than yesterday."

“We’ve been fighting both (loose and tight),” Dinger added.  “We just don’t have enough speed in the car.  We’ve got to keep working on the balance.  We’ve fought tight and loose in general.  We’ll see what happens with the new tire.”

After several teams were blistering tires in yesterday’s two practice sessions here on the freshly-repaved surface, Goodyear decided to bring in a different left-side tire for Sunday’s race.  It is the same tire that was raced at Charlotte back in 2007.  NASCAR added another practice session for the Sprint Cup cars after today’s Nationwide Series race concludes.

“We’ll see what the tire feels like and see what it does to this racetrack,” AJ said.  “Obviously there’s a blistering problem so they did the right thing ‘cause it’s scary as hell out there as it is anyway (smile).  It’s good that they fixed it.  We’ll just see what we’ve got and just keep working on the balance.  That’s all you can do.  We know we don’t have the speed that we need right now but we’ll just keep trying to make the balance best as possible.”   

Marcos Ambrose claimed the Coors Light Pole Award here today with a fast lap of 35.426 seconds (203.241 mph).  That obliterated the old track record of 37.069 seconds (194.232 mph) and was the 11th-fastest pole qualifying lap in NASCAR history.  The top-19 qualifiers all cracked the 200 mph mark and the top-38 drivers broke the old track record.  The most recent 200 mph qualifying lap came way back in 1987 at Talladega.

Kevin Harvick starts second here Sunday after clocking in with a 35.637-second (202.037 mph) lap.  Greg Biffle (35.676 seconds/201.816 mph) starts third, with Kasey Kahne (35.692 seconds/201.720 mph) fourth and Ryan Newman (35.737 seconds/201.472 mph) fifth.  Matt Kenseth, Trevor Bayne, Tony Stewart, Joey Logano and Jimmie Johnson round out Sunday’s top-10 starters.

Penske Racing teammate Brad Keselowski starts his Miller Lite Dodge from the 25th spot after turning in a lap of 36.277 seconds (198.473 mph) here today.

Sunday’s Quicken Loans 400 (200 laps, 400 miles) on the 2.0-mile track is scheduled to get the green flag just after 1:00 p.m. EDT.  Race No. 15 of 36 points-paying events on the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup schedule will feature live coverage by TNT-TV and MRN Radio.