AJ Allmendinger Starting 19th in Sunday's Pocono 400

June 9, 2012

LONG POND, Pa. (June 9, 2012) – Shell-Pennzoil Dodge driver AJ Allmendinger will start 19th in Sunday’s Pocono 400 here at Pocono Raceway after clocking in with a lap of 50.904 seconds (176.803 mph) in today’s qualifying session.  Sunday’s battle will be the first on a new coat of asphalt and Dinger is looking for a strong run.

“We’ve had a pretty strong week so far here at Pocono and hope to have a great Sunday race day to cap it off,” said crew chief Todd Gordon.  “With the track conditions like they were at the beginning of qualifying, it confirmed my line of thinking that qualifying where we did (40th of 44 cars) wasn’t a big disadvantage."

“The track has always been a big challenge and will be tomorrow,” said Gordon.  “Some things don’t change here and the importance of getting off the turns is still so key.  We were just too loose everywhere in our qualifying lap.  We picked pit stall 27 and I really don’t know who’s in front or behind us.  The pit road situation here never really matters because pit road is so long and wide."

“We’re hoping for a consistent day and hope to move forward from start to finish here tomorrow,” said Gordon.

Joey Logano won the Coors Light Pole Award here today with a fast lap of 50.112 seconds (179.598 mph).  Logano, who clocked in with the fastest lap in yesterday’s final practice session, went out 18th in today’s qualifying order and had to watch 26 other drivers attempt to knock him off the pole.

Carl Edwards qualified second with a lap of 50.317 seconds (178.866 mph).  Paul Menard was third (50.397 seconds/178.582 mph), Kyle Busch (50.399/178.575) fourth and Denny Hamlin (50.408/178.543) fifth.  Mark Martin will start sixth, with Regan Smith seventh, Dale Earnhardt Jr. eighth, Marcos Ambrose ninth and Kasey Kahne 10th.

Penske Racing teammate Brad Keselowski will start his Miller Lite Dodge from the 31st position after turning in a lap of 51.464 seconds (174.880 mph) here in today’s lengthy qualifying session.

The top 36 starters for the Pocono 400 broke the old track record of 52.164 seconds (172.533 mph), set by Kasey Kahne in 2004.

Sunday’s Pocono 400 (160 laps, 400 miles) is scheduled to get the green flag at approximately 1:00 p.m. EDT.  Race No. 15 of the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup schedule will feature live coverage by TNT-TV and MRN Radio.