Close Top Ten at Phoenix
Posted on: March 5, 2013
Allmendinger fought a tight-handling Guy Roofing Chevy in the initial stages of the event. The team took its first stab at loosening it up during the first caution period, Lap 20. They raised the track bar one round, added fuel and sent him back on the track in 23rd place.
During the next green-flag run, Allmendinger relayed that he was “just hanging on” and that he needed more grip to be competitive. The team waited until the next caution flag, Lap 48, to call Allmendinger into the pits for adjustments. The crew changed the tires and raised the track bar to loosen up the car. He returned to the track in 32nd place.
Allmendinger pedaled the Guy Roofing Chevy into 22nd place before the caution flag halted his progress on Lap 98. His car was tight through the center of the corners, so the team changed the left-side tires and filled up the fuel cell. He rejoined the field in 18th place.
The 51 team made its final four-tire pit stop on Lap 184, when the caution flag slowed the action. Allmendinger relinquished 20th place for the crew to give him fresh rubber and make a wedge adjustment to help the Guy Roofing Chevy roll through the center of the turns. He went back on the track in 21st place.
On the ensuing green flag run, Allmendinger let his crew know the car was “much better. The adjustments are helping a lot.” He still needed the car to be more free through the corners, so the crew called him into the pits for its last stop of the day on Lap 236. They changed his right-side tires and made a wedge adjustment. He went back on the track in 19th place with 76 scheduled laps remaining.
Allmendinger drove like a man possessed for the final laps. He worked his way into the top 15 and was poised to finish in 14th place, but things were about to get interesting. A late-race caution slowed the field and set up a green-white-checkered finish.
Allmendinger took the final green flag in 13th place and picked up two positions during the last two circuits. The 51 team took the checkered flag in 11th place. The finish marked Allmendinger’s third-best performance at Phoenix International Raceway in nine tries. It was Phoenix Racing’s second-best finish at Phoenix in 17 starts. Phoenix Racing is now sixth in the owner point standings.
Allmendinger’s Thoughts after the Race: “Everyone at Phoenix Racing worked so hard today. Our Guy Roofing Chevy was tight when the race started, but Nick (Harrison, crew chief) just kept chipping away at it. He made good calls to loosen it up and still keep our track position. By the end of the race, it was handling really well and we were running down the cars in front of us.
“It looked like we were going to get a 14th place finish, but the caution came out with four laps to go and shook things up. On the last restart, I knew it was going to get crazy. I just hit the gas and listened for Steve (Barkdoll, spotter) to tell me what was going on around me. One car in front of me went high and I was able to fill the spot. I was three-wide for a second, but I stayed in the gas and cleared a couple of cars. It all worked out and we got an awesome finish to show for everyone’s efforts.”