Sunday’s second-place run in the STP 500 at Martinsville could bring much-needed success for A.J. Allmendinger and his No. 47 JTG/Daughtery Racing Chevrolet. The run comes fresh on the heels of a solid effort at California two weeks ago when Allmendinger ran in the top-10 most of the day and finished eighth. A lot of this can be attributed to the recent addition of Randall Burnett as Crew Chief, replacing Brian Burns in the off-season.
In his first six starts as a Sprint Cup Crew Chief, Burnett has helped bring the team one top-five and two top-10s, and as if to further prove that his union with Allmendinger could pay dividends, the No. 47 team is currently sitting in 12th in the points standings. Of course, that could change over the year, but with the exception of a season-worst 27th-place run at Atlanta, the team has been improving on a weekly basis.
Following Sunday’s race, Allmendinger said, regarding his performance, “You know, Randall Burnett, first-year crew chief, Ernie Cope coming aboard, they’ve made a huge difference. My crew chief last year, Brian Burns, kind of going down back to his engineering role and Tony Palmer, that was the engineer last year, being kind of the second race engineer, everybody has just embraced their roles. It’s made this team a lot of fun to be around.
With his steady rate of improvement, this does not look like it’s going to stop anytime soon. That’s not saying Allmendinger is a plausible threat to win Texas on Saturday, but the team has been quietly marching forward with consistent runs in the top-half of the field and could eventually break through in a big way in 2016.
All he has to do is keep his cool and keep up with these strong showings. They’ve shown that short tracks and road courses can be their strong suits this year, so if they repeat their Martinsville performance (and if Allmendinger can get some of his luck on the road courses back from 2014), they’ll be due for another Chase appearance this year. They have the strength, Allmendinger has the ability, and Burnett has the chemistry with the team to make it happen. They just need to keep building momentum.
They have the strength, Allmendinger has the ability, and Burnett has the chemistry with the team to make it happen. They just need to keep building momentum.