Starting on the pole for the Toyota SaveMart 350, A.J. Allmendinger would lead laps early and look to be en route to contending for a victory in the later stages of the event. However, on lap 61, Allmendinger headed down pit road with mechanical issues.
The team was unable to diagnose the program, sending Allmendinger back on the track. He made a couple more laps, despite not being able to go over 7000 rpms as the team didn’t want him to go behind the wall. Finally, Allmendinger would go behind the wall at lap 64, with the team changing both the ECU and fuel tank.
“Still investigating, it looks like something with the fuel system may have gotten clogged up or gotten some debris or something in there,” crew chief Brian Burns commented. “Not sure yet. We will take a good look at it when we get back to the shop and regroup. Man, even after having to come back out laps down. We turned it into a test sessions and learned a lot, picked up a lot of speed. We ran the fastest lap of the race compared to anybody else towards the end just trying some things. Trying to turn something positive into it.”
It marks a big disappointment as Allmendinger was hoping to score the victory to punch his ticket for the Chase for the Championship, just as he did last year in winning the road course race at Watkins Glen.
“The car was good,” he commented. “I thought we had a better chance of winning this year than we did last year. It was still going to be tough. The No. 41 (Kurt Busch) was pretty solid. The No. 18 (Kyle Busch) the way it played out was pretty good. I know the No. 48 (Jimmie Johnson) was good. We just fought the rear a little bit. I don’t know how that would have played out at the end. I know we had the fastest lap of the race, which shows the car had speed. I think we were going in the right direction it just feels like a swift kick to everything right now. But it’s nothing we really did wrong it is one of those circumstances.”