AJ Allmendinger and his Todd Gordon-led Penske Racing No. 22 Team will be racing their new “PRS-823” AAA Dodge Charger this weekend at Kansas. The “PRS-814” is the backup Dodge Charger for the “Double-Deuce” team. It was in the transporter serving as the backup at Las Vegas, Fontana and last weekend at Texas, but has never seen any track time.

With almost half the 2012 NASCAR Spring Cup schedule being contested on the 1.5-mile oval tracks, AAA Dodge driver AJ Allmendinger certainly recognizes those races’ importance as far as the big picture goes. “I’ve always said that the short tracks, the one-mile tracks and the road courses rate as my personal favorites,” Dinger offered. “But with us running so many races on the intermediate tracks, you have to accept the fact that you have to get all you can out of each of those races. It was Texas last weekend and we’re headed into another race on those tracks at Kansas this weekend.”

–AAA Dodge driver AJ Allmendinger on this weekend’s STP 400 at Kansas Speedway: “We’ve had some pretty strong runs there – a couple of top-10s – and have a decent record there. We’re coming in hoping to put together a solid weekend with a good qualifying effort on Saturday and a really competitive run on Sunday. (Kansas is) another track where we are looking for our first top-five finish. As always, the goal is to win it. If that’s not possible, then you shoot for a top-five or a top-10. But, just like at all these races, it’s so key to come out of there with everything that you can get. It’s so important to take a day where things aren’t going as well as you’d like and maximizing those days.”

–AAA Dodge crew chief Todd Gordon said last weekend’s 15th-place finish at Texas was an indication of his team “building forward.” “We finished 15th at Texas and advanced (up to 19th in points),” said Gordon. “The important thing is that we persevered through less than ideal conditions and we advanced. We started off tight, knowing that the track would turn more toward the loose side when the sun went down and it cooled off. We did the best job we could with our adjustments, but the car had such incredible mood swings from tight to loose and back to tight again. The most important thing was that we hung on and made a decent night out of a frustrating race. With only two cautions during the entire race, it was a huge challenge. AJ was able to keep logging those laps with an ill-handling car and keep on our pit schedule and we got all we could out of it there on Saturday night. That’s the common trait about all the top teams in our sport. When you are having a bad night, you are still able to salvage a decent finish out of it. That was definitely the case for our 22 team out there last weekend.”