Allmendinger Starting 9th in Daytona's Coke Zero 400

July 6, 2012

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (July 6, 2012) – Shell-Pennzoil Dodge driver AJ Allmendinger will start Saturday night’s Coke Zero 400 from the ninth position.  Dinger, the 38th driver to go on the clock, circled the 2.5-mile Daytona International Speedway in 46.901 seconds, for a lap speed of 191.894 mph in Friday’s qualifying session.

“The Shell-Pennzoil Dodge seems solid,” Allmendinger told Dodge PR representative Scott Sebastian after completing his run.  “It hasn’t been wrecked yet, which is a good thing (laughs).  We have good speed in the car; both cars do.  Obviously they’re built really close.  Overall, the car seems to suck up pretty good and was good in the draft.  I think that we’ll have the speed in the car to win the race.  We just need to stay away from the wrecks.”

Matt Kenseth claimed the Coors Light Pole Award here today with a fast lap of 46.781 seconds (192.386 mph).  That was just fast enough to knock defending series champ Tony Stewart (lap of 46.787 seconds/192.361 mph) off the pole.  Ryan Newman was a close third with his lap of 46.789 seconds (192.353 mph).  Kasey Kahne was fourth with a 46.804-second (192.291 mph) lap and Greg Biffle was fifth (46.841 seconds/192.139 mph).

Jeff Gordon (46.860 seconds/192.061 mph), Bill Elliott (46.872 seconds/192.012 mph in a No. 50 Turner Motorsports Chevrolet with Hendrick power), Casey Mears (46.891 seconds/191.934 mph), Allmendinger and teammate Brad Keselowski (46.910 seconds/191.857 mph) rounded out today’s top-10 qualifiers.

Dinger enters Saturday night’s battle under the lights coming off two consecutive top-10 finishes.  With the Sprint Cup action going completely accident-free so far this week, he was asked if he thought that trend might continue here tomorrow night.

“It’s hard to say,” Dinger said.  “You just never know at these races.  Sometimes (the races) are crazy from the start and other times guys will settle in and race smart.  I think that everybody will be fairly cautious at the beginning.  It’s a three-inch mistake that causes a big mistake here.  We’ll wait and see how it goes.  Hopefully we’re leading the race when the big one happens.”

Saturday’s Coke Zero 400 (160 Laps, 200 Miles) is scheduled to get the green flag just after 7:30 p.m. EDT.  Race No. 18 of 36 points-paying events on the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup schedule will feature live coverage by TNT-TV and MRN Radio.  It can also be heard on Sirius-XM NASCAR Channel 90.