AJ Allmendinger: ‘Nothing spectacular’ about second top 10 of season

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MARTINSVILLE, Virginia — One of AJ Allmendinger‘s best tracks on the Cup circuit delivered again Monday in the STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway.

When it came to cars with the Chevrolet bowtie on the front bumper, only one could be found in the top 10 all day.

Instead of a car belonging to Hendrick Motorsports, Chip Ganassi Racing or Richard Childress Racing, it was the No. 47 driven by Allmendinger.

The JTG Daugherty Racing driver began the day in 25th but powered to an eighth-place finish, one of three Chevy drivers in the top 10. Allmendinger was in the top 10 at the end of each stage, finishing seventh and eighth.

Jimmie Johnson was the only other Chevy driver to place in the top 10 in the first two stages.

Allmendinger made it as high as fifth in the final stage before drifting back.

“Nothing real special about it, nothing spectacular,”Allmendinger told NBC Sports. “We were just off from the first five, I felt like. At times we could run speeds that was as good as them if not better. But the last set of tires really wasn’t our best set of tires. Not that we didn’t know that. We just didn’t improve the race car. Just a solid day. We’ll take it.”

In 20 starts at the half-mile track, Allmendinger has seven top 10s, his most at any track. He’s placed in the top 10 in each of the last three spring races at Martinsville Speedway.

Allmendinger’s top 10 is his first since placing 10th at Daytona. It’s his first non-restrictor plate top 10 on an oval since last season’s Brickyard 400. Last year, Allmendinger’s first two top 10s came in the Daytona 500 and the spring Martinsville race.

The No. 47 team needed a boost. After Daytona, Allmendinger failed to finish better than 21st (Phoenix) in the next four races. Monday’s performance moved him from 25th to 19th in the point standings.

“I just love this place, I think a driver can make more of a difference,” Allmendinger said. “I got a good feel of what I want around here. We worked hard on Saturday and got a good feel. Just took it in the race and made the best of it.”