Allmendinger: “Work to be done” to challenge for the Xfinity championship

AJ Allmendinger 2022

Despite leading the NASCAR Xfinity Series standings, A.J. Allmendinger thinks Kaulig Racing still needs to improve if it is to capture the title in 2022.

AJ Allmendinger 2022

Since the April 2 race in Richmond, Virginia, Allmendinger has taken the lead in the series rankings. During that time, he has also won twice, both of which were on racetracks.

He has a chance to win another this weekend when the series travels to Road America, where he placed fourth last year after leading a race-high 12 circuits and won there in 2013.

“I have confidence that we can go there, be at our best and really have a shot to win this race. We just have to make sure we execute. That’s what it’s always about,” Allmendinger, 40, said.

“It’s tough to get in the back of the field and try to drive through the field to get back to the front, which is what we had to do a lot last year.”

The key to earning a NASCAR championship now

Allmendinger is aware that performing well in the final season in Phoenix is a need for winning a series championship, but that could be a challenge.

“I think it’s one of those things where – obviously we’re leading the points, which is great,” he said. “If we’re going to be brutally honest – if we had to go race Phoenix tomorrow in the championship – I don’t think we have a shot to win it.

“With that said, we still have a good amount of time before the playoffs start. Last year at this point, we were second in points; probably felt a little bit better about our speed. But because of that, with no practice, we were always afraid to really try anything to try and improve the race car.

“The great thing about where we’re at right now, is we know we need speed and all the men and women at Kaulig Racing are working hard trying different things at every race.”

Even though they don’t have much pace, Allmendinger and his No. 16 squad have been among the most stable this year.

Allmendinger has a series-best 13 top-10 results in 15 races, two victories, and seven top-five results. He also has the best average performance in the series, at 6.5.

Allmendinger completed 196 laps led on the season, which was fifth-most behind three JR Motorsports vehicles and one at Joe Gibbs Racing, in relation to the pace problem.

“As of this moment, are we the championship favorite? I don’t think so. I think you have to look at all of the JRM cars that have everyone beat,” he said. “What Justin Allgaier did at Nashville, he put a whooping on us.

“So, we definitely have some work to be done. But that’s what I love about this team – we’re working hard and we are improving. Maybe it’s not as quick as we want to be, but we’ll get there.

“We have time before the playoffs start, so that’s what I love about it.”

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Grand Prix, IndyCar, Nascar, NASCAR Cup Series, XFinity, A.J. Allmendinger, Kaulig Racing, Road America 

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