May 9, 2014, 12:45 PM EDT
A.J. Allmendinger’s consistent work in the first quarter of the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship has been gaining notice, especially after he netted his season-best finish of fifth last weekend at Talladega Superspeedway.
Earlier this morning at Kansas Speedway, ‘Dinger attributed the rise in fortunes for himself and JTG Daugherty Racing partly to them being able to get the most out of their practice time as of late.
“The beginning of the year we had decent cars, but we just never put the weekend together,” said Allmendinger. “We would either struggle really bad on Friday or qualify really bad or make an uphill climb on Sunday or have to really make a lot of big changes going into Sunday and not know really what the car was going to do.
“We sit down and discuss how to maximize the practice sessions, what do we need to do. We are learning with the new rules package, working with [Richard Childress Racing], the whole alliance.
“We are learning our setups about where we need to start to be closer when we start unloading [on] the weekend. It’s just baby steps. That is really what it is.”
Allmendinger also noted the RCR camp’s role in JTG Daugherty’s surge, as RCR holds a technical alliance with the single-car outfit and supplies them with Earnhardt Childress Racing engines.
While Allmendinger says the cars JTG Daugherty is racing right now are actually former RCR cars from last year, they’ve still been very quick. He’s also glad that RCR has very much been “open door” with them.
“They have given us just basically open information, engineering, set-up’s – everything that we need to know what makes the cars fast,” he said.
“It’s been great sharing and hopefully, we are bringing something back to them. That has been my goal is to not just keep taking but hopefully bring something back to where they are learning and we can make everybody as a whole better.
“Richard has been just fantastic. I’ve been part of an alliance before and this is the best I’ve ever seen.”
Allmendinger will be looking to reverse his recent trend at Kansas this weekend. He’s finished 20th or worse in his last five Sprint Cup starts there and his best Kansas finish, a ninth, came in his very first start there in 2008.