Without doubt, AJ Allmendinger thrives in the most challenging of conditions in a racecar. Whenever Mother Nature tasks drivers at the track, Allmendinger takes his superb driving toward another level.
Nevertheless, the 39-year-old Los Gatos, Calif. native seemed up for this latest challenge last Sunday. This time, Circuit of the Americas awaited for Allmendinger and his Cup comrades.
Still, AJ Allmendinger fired off his No. 16 Hyperice Chevrolet Camaro with the 22nd fastest effort in Saturday’s practice.
Despite the somewhat surprising effort in that session, the 2014 Watkins Glen winner was ready for the challenge.
Moreover, Allmendinger logged valuable time at COTA last Saturday afternoon. Starting from the seventh position, Allmendinger placed second in the Pit Boss 250.
Earlier last Sunday, Allmendinger posted the seventh fastest time in qualifying, repeating his feat from Saturday. Before lining up alongside Chase Elliott, the Kaulig Racing stalwart enjoyed pranking Joey Logano on pit road.
— Kaulig Racing (@KauligRacing) May 24, 2021
Rainy Days and Sundays
Before the EchoPark Texas Grand Prix kicked off, Allmendinger and 34 other drivers switched from wet to slick tires. However, this decision backfired for Allmendinger and his rivals on the soggy track surface.
Following a 19th place finish in stage 1, Allmendinger and his team worked their way back into the top 10.
In this case, Allmendinger avoided two grinding accidents in the backstretch between turns 11 and 12. Moreover, Allmendinger rocketed from 22nd spot to place eighth in stage 2 in less than ideal conditions.
Afterwards, the road course warrior stayed on track during the stage break to restart in sixth.
Needless to say, Allmendinger and crew chief Matt Swiderski set their sights on a strong finish at COTA.
Of course, standing water on the track remained a constant threat for the drivers.
Indeed, after pitting for tires and fuel in the race’s waning moments, Allmendinger rejoined the fray in the top five.
Naturally, Allmendinger set his focus on maximizing track position in the final laps. Ultimately, visibility issues and standing water on the track cut this race short just 14 laps from its scheduled distance.
Despite the race’s early finish, Allmendinger, improved on his seventh at the Daytona road course in February. This time, he logged a strong fifth at COTA.
The Road Ahead
More importantly, Allmendinger tallied Kaulig Racing’s first top five finish in the NASCAR Cup Series. Certainly, the typically optimistic Allmendinger expressed pride and elation with his team’s performance.
“COTA was very slick in the rain!” Allmendinger said following Sunday’s race per a Kaulig Racing report. “It was a challenging race track. But I felt like once we got up front and figured out which corners I could push, we were able to stay in a good spot.
“We had a lot of speed. I’m proud of everyone at Kaulig Racing and the program they have put together. To race against full-time Cup teams and some of the best drivers in the world, is awesome. It was fun to go out there and run up front.”
Primarily, Allmendinger further illustrated his might on the track with his formidable Kaulig Racing equipment. Nonetheless, Allmendinger’s next Cup start takes place on July 4 for the JOCKEY Made in America 250 at Road America.
In the meantime, Allmendinger can take heart that he can challenge the best Cup racers on any given race day. This time, the Californian knows he’s got his hardy crew ready for battle, no matter the weather.