Over the off-season, JTG Daugherty Racing made the decision to switch from Toyota to Chevrolet and align themselves in a technical alliance with Richard Childress Racing.
There is a lot of work that has gone into it. We started it relatively late in December,” Allmendinger commented. “The guys have been working really hard to kind of catch up and obviously with the West Coast races for a one car team like ours it makes it tough initially, but I’ve been really proud.”
The fruits of their labor are beginning to show themselves as Allmendinger scored his first top 10 of the season with an eighth two weeks ago at Fontana, followed by an 11th at Martinsville.
“I feel like the last two weeks we have put Friday’s, Saturday’s and Sunday’s together and that is where our good runs have come out of,” Allmendinger commented. “I look at that it is relatively new. It’s six races in. I don’t want to get too over excited about where we are at, but the direction where the team is headed and I feel like as we are gelling together I like what is in the future for us. It’s just kind of taking it one day at a time.”
With teams like JTG aligning themselves with bigger organizations, a lot of people feel that the parity in the sport is at a high right now, especially with there being six different winners in six races so far this year.
“I feel like everybody as a whole has gotten stronger,” Allmendinger commented. “With the new rules package, whether it’s that or not, or just everybody kind of working out the kinks of just these cars; I feel like as you said, the depth of the field and just six winners in six different races it’s been fun to watch and be a part of. A team like ours you know the ultimate goal is to win. That is why we show up every weekend, but we have got to set realistic goals as well. That is to continually keep getting better.
“This is a team that was 30th, 31st (in points) last year and we are 16th in points right now. We have got to be a consistent top-20, top-15 team to get inside the top-10 and give ourselves shots to win races, to learn how to do that. That is something that hopefully we can continue each weekend and get better and kind of keep being in the mix at least and being competitive.”
Allmendinger feels the early season unpredictability is a result of teams pushing the limits and being so close speed wise.
“You are looking for hundredths of a second instead of tenths of a second to try to get up there,” he explained. “If you find a couple hundredths of a second that is like 10 spots. I think just track position plays a real key. You can’t just go out there and run 90 percent for half the race and then get after it. You have to be kind of full tilt from the start and because of that it allows guys to over abuse their tires, over abuse their race car.”