After leading the first 20 laps of the Cheez-It 355 at Watkins Glen, pole-sitter and defending race winner AJ Allmendinger lost power during a caution for a crash on Lap 50, lost a lap and eventually regained it to finish 24th.
Brian Burns, crew chief on the No. 47, told NBCSN the car wouldn’t restart after Allmendinger shut it off to save fuel.
Allmendinger came to a stop on the track just before the final turn and was then pushed to pit road by a safety truck. The No. 47 team was able to get the car restarted with a new battery and back on the track. He regained his lap off the next caution.
“We couldn’t ever really get the grip in the rear that I was looking for,” Allmendinger said. “We kind of changed the platform and it chirped the car. I was really struggling on the second run and then the third run the battery died. When the battery died that obviously put us way behind. I thought the changes we made helped the car a little bit, but I got my lap back and drove as hard as I could to get as much as I could. I thought maybe we could get back to the top 10. Just 10 laps short. I don’t know if it was another fuel pump issue or not.”
This is the second time this year Allmendinger has won the pole at a road course and fallen victim to a fuel pump issue. It occurred at Sonoma Raceway at the end of June, where Allmendinger finished 12 laps off the lead in 37th.
Watkins Glen was considered Allmendinger’s best shot to earn a win and qualify for the Chase for the Sprint Cup. He is now 23rd in the points standings.