AJ Allmendinger is still looking for his first win

Credit: Debbie Ross for Skirts and Scuffs
A.J. Allmendinger almost won the pole for the Kobalt Tools 500; instead he started second alongside of Matt Kenseth.

When asked how he felt about starting the race, Allmendinger admitted his only concern was starting on the outside. He was confident with his car and his day ahead; the No. 43 WIX Ford had been fast all weekend long.

The 2011 season has been Allmendinger's best to date since the start of his NASCAR career. Allmendinger now has 10 top-10s and one top-five finish this season. Allmendinger would've made the Chase, if only he would have won a race or had Denny Hamlin royally screwed up finishing lower than Allmendinger at Richmond. But that doesn't matter now; what matters is racing hard for the wins. 

The No. 43 team has worked hard and they still have a lot of work to do to get their first win. After a long pit stop on Sunday, Allmendinger showed his emotions on the radio. He wasn't shy to express his anger about the slow pit stops that brought him down to eighth place on the restart.

Not long after, crew chief Greg Erwin was heard telling Allmendinger on the radio, "Don't be confused by the guys in your pit box wearing different colored suits." His team had swapped with David Ragan's No. 6 UPS team. Ragan was already out of contention after a wreck on Lap 2 so the decision was made to give Allmendinger a better chance at a strong finish.

The last time fans saw a pit crew swap was in 2010 when Jimmie Johnson's crew swapped with Jeff Gordon's pit crew at the fall Texas race. The difference that time was that they are on the same team; the UPS guys are not on Allmendinger's team.

Ragan races for Jack Roush, while Allmendinger races for Richard Petty, so why did they swap? The answer is rather simple, because RPM receives contracted assistance from Roush Fenway, being that both teams drive Fords. The RPM teams received cars and chassis from Roush Fenway Racing. RPM is also sharing pit-crew members, coaches and training facilities with Roush. The RPM and Roush crewmen work out together and go through the same training regimen. The groups have been interchangeable during the past three years.

It's very common for crewmen to switch teams during a race; usually it happens when one crewman gets hurt. Other times it happens when slower pit times threaten the outcome of a promising race for a driver, as it did Sunday for Allmendinger. He is on a mission to win and hopes that next week in Homestead, he'll be visiting Victory Lane.

"We have to work on our pit stops,” Allmendinger said after the race. “Thanks to the 6 (Ragan’s) guys, our Ford teammates coming over and pitting the last two stops. That was a big difference. We were bad. We were losing four or five spots on a stop. You can’t do that and win a race, and those guys (Ragan’s) are pretty good. They did a good job."

"The car was so fast, I was having so much fun driving. Probably the most fun I've ever had," Allmendinger continued to say. "These guys are doing a great job. I really want to win for them by the end of the year. Hopefully at Homestead we can do it. We're getting closer."

Allmendinger finished sixth on Sunday, remaining 16th in points. 

 Genevieve is a freelance and story writer living in the Lake Norman, NC area; aside writing, she loves running, yoga, boating on the lake and enjoys spending time with her niece. You can follow her on Twitter @C_Genevieve.
AJ Allmendinger is still looking for his first win AJ Allmendinger is still looking for his first win Reviewed by Unknown on Monday, November 14, 2011 Rating: 5