Fridays have been tough for AJ Allmendinger since he came to NASCAR from the Champ Car World Series, as he has tried to get his No. 84 Toyota into Sprint Cup races based on speed.
But this might have been the toughest Friday of all since Allmendinger had to watch Mike Skinner qualifying the car 34th fastest for Sunday’s race. Skinner and Red Bull Racing teammate Brian Vickers wound up getting the final two spots available for Sunday’s race.
“You don’t get in the show and everything kind of spirals down,” said Allmendinger, who was pulled from the car temporarily after he failed to make the season’s first three races.
“We just have to get the ship turned right. Mike is going to help us do that.”
Allmendinger said he is not interested in going back to open-wheel racing, even with the reunification of the Champ Car and the Indy Racing League series.
“This is the place to race,” he said.
“I know I have the ability and the confidence that I can do this. ...It is hard being at the track and not driving, but it is probably the best way. I can sit back and learn everything that I can.
“Every Friday we’ve shown up hating life and praying you get the car in the race. That’s tough. ...One lap could have made all the difference in the world. One more lap in the Duel at Daytona and we probably would have been in the race.
"Then it rains at California. ...This team just needs a little bit of change and something good to happen to them."