Ride along with Marcos Ambrose and A.J . Allmendinger as they battle it out for the win and a chance at a Chase spot.
Allmendinger talks about the highlights of 2011 and his goals on making the Chase next year.
CONCORD, N.C. -- Best Buy Co., and Richard Petty Motorsports on Tuesday announced their continued partnership for the 2011 Sprint Cup Series season that extends the consumer electronics retailer's status as primary sponsor of the No. 43 driven by A.J . Allmendinger . "Best Buy is proud to renew our relationship with Richard Petty Motorsports and driver A.J . Allmendinger for the 2011 season," said Drew Panayiotou, senior vice president, marketing, Best Buy. "Richard Petty is a motorsports icon and is well respected within the sport of NASCAR. Being a part of a team with his leadership is a privilege. We will be doing some innovative work with Richard Petty Motorsports surrounding our sponsorship, creating new and fun ways to engage the fans. We look forward to continuing our support of A.J . and the No. 43 team as they strive to make their way to Victory Lane." Best Buy will be the primary sponsor for 24 Sprint Cup Series events in 2011 and will be featured as the primary sponsor for two non-points events, the Duel and the Sprint All-Star Race. In addition, Best Buy will serve as an associate sponsor for the No. 9 driven by Marcos Ambrose. The deal marks the company's second year with Allmendinger and its seventh year in NASCAR. "It's great to have Best Buy back on board our No. 43 Ford," Allmendinger said. "They have been a great partner and I'm really excited about the opportunity to work with an organization that is as passionate about its racing program as I am. I think this is going to be a great year for this Richard Petty Motorsports team and I can't wait to get the Best Buy Ford into Victory Lane." Allmendinger is coming off a season in which he compiled two top-five finishes and eight top-10s. In addition, he scored his first career pole at Phoenix. Allmendinger finished season 19th in points, a career best.
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Fully committed to earning the best possible result in the team's eighth consecutive Rolex 24 At Daytona outing, Michael Shank Racing will stage the strongest campaign in team history with three Daytona Prototype entries for the 49th running of the endurance classic on Jan. 29-30. On Friday, team owner Mike Shank announced the driver lineup for the third entry, with the No. 6 Ford-Dallara being driven Sprint Cup Series drivers A.J . Allmendinger and Michael McDowell and IndyCar driver Justin Wilson. The 2011 Rolex 24 At Daytona will mark Allmendinger's sixth attempt in the Rolex 24. He has led every race that he has started, with a best result of second, which he shared with Wilson in 2006. Wilson has three starts in the event, and will look to improve his own personal best, having twice run to the checkered flag in the overall runner-up position. "I've been telling Mike that I am not going to stop trying to win this race until we get to the top, and hopefully we can do that this year," Allmendinger said. "Mike Shank runs a great team, and this race is what his entire organization is all about. I can't even describe how much I want to win this race. Getting so close the first time out, and having led it as much as we have only makes me want it that much more." McDowell has Grand-Am experience stretching back to 2004, as the Phoenix native broke through for his first Daytona Prototype victory one year later in Mexico City. While his motorsports career has seen him show speed in everything from open wheel machines to the Cup Series, his participation in the Rolex 24 has remained constant, with three top-10 finishes in four starts. "Starting the year with the Rolex 24 is a great way to kick the season off," McDowell said. "I've been fortunate to run the 24 with some strong driver lineups, but I feel like this is the best effort that I've been a part of. Mike Shank's cars are always very fast at Daytona and the team does an excellent job preparing the cars."
A.J . Allmendinger suffered a flat tire before the green flag, but battled back to finish second and transfer into the All-Star Race.
A.J . Allmendinger saves the fuel needed to capture back-to-back Nationwide roadcourse wins.
A.J . Allmendinger spins off Turn 4 and ends up tearing the front end off the No. 51.
JTG Daugherty team celebrates, but sends thoughts and prayers to family, Stewart RELATED: Complete coverage of Tony Stewart incident WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. -- The theatrics and fireworks of NASCAR's brand of road-course racing was omnipresent as usual at Watkins Glen International , but so was an underlying solemn tone of remembrance after the events of the night before. While AJ Allmendinger celebrated his first Sprint Cup Series victory in the Cheez-It 355 at The Glen and the sealing of his postseason fate, a strong portion of his thoughts were clearly devoted to Kevin Ward Jr., the 20-year-old victim of a sprint-car incident involving Tony Stewart . "I think it's one of those things that you look back at and it's a tough time for everybody," said Allmendinger . "I said on TV after the race, this NASCAR community, as a whole we're a family, and when anything like that happens, it's something that you don't just kind of erase and you forget about. And all of our thoughts and prayers, and it may not seem like it, or I wish there was more to do, but it goes to the Ward family and what happened. It also goes to Tony because it's not like he's sitting there and forgetting about it. It's a tough scenario. "You just try to come together. That's all you can do. You try to be thankful every day for the things that we have, the things that we're able to share together, and you also know that there's a lot less fortunate out there and there's a lot of disasters, whether it's in racing or not. You just try to keep that in perspective and always have your thoughts and prayers and do whatever you can to help out and be better with it." Ward was declared dead on arrival at a local hospital Saturday night after he was struck while on foot by Stewart's sprint car during a 25-lap main event for the touring Empire Super Sprints series at Canandaigua (N.Y.) Motorsports Park, a half-mile dirt track on the Ontario County Fairgrounds. The county sheriff's office continue to investigate the incident and said Sunday that no criminal charges are pending. Stewart was absent at the track Sunday with NASCAR Nationwide Series regular Regan Smith replacing him in the Stewart-Haas Racing No. 14 Chevrolet. Several of Stewart's fellow Sprint Cup drivers declined comment on the incident, with some saying details were too sparse to make an informed statement. "Our thoughts and prayers are with the Ward family," said third-place finisher Kurt Busch, a first-year teammate to Stewart at the Stewart-Haas operation. "It was a tragedy. Our thoughts and prayers are with everybody involved. It's a tough situation for the motorsports world. I'm not at liberty really to speak anymore of it." While the mood of Allmendinger's JTG Daugherty team was buoyant after that operation's first win in NASCAR's premier series, the organization's brass was quick to temper their joy in light of the recent events. "Obviously just a catastrophic evening last evening," said team co-owner Brad Daugherty, also an ESPN analyst. "Our sympathies go out to the family that lost the young man. And it's been a difficult day for the Stewart‑Haas organization. We all recognize that and we all feel like we're all family because we travel 36 weeks out of the year it seems like 100 years together. Our hearts go out to Tony, but specifically out to the family. "It's a tremendous loss, and I thought that Stewart‑Haas and Tony and those guys did the right thing by showing the appropriate respect to the situation as well as the family ‑‑ more importantly to the family by not racing today. We'll see what unfolds of that, but our thoughts and prayers go out to that family." MORE: READ: Latest NASCAR news WATCH: Latest NASCAR video PLAY: NASCAR Fantasy Live FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
An ecstatic AJ Allmendinger reacts to winning his first ever NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Watkins Glen in the Cheez-It 355 at The Glen.
AJ Allmendinger talks about the impact of a Sprint Cup Series win at Watkins Glen and his personal journey.