Six weeks removed from missing a shift and blowing the engine in his JTG Daugherty Racing car, AJ Allmendinger hasn’t moved on.
“I’m not over it yet, and it was pretty simple, I missed a shift,” Allmendinger said Friday at Watkins Glen, where he’ll pull double duty. “That was it. Bad mistake. Something I’ve never really done before, and still on my mind for sure.”
When another question raised the incident again, Allmendinger said, “That was all me.
“Something I think about still. Something that still annoys me. Kind of like a bad golf swing, right? You hit 100 great swings and all of a sudden you [whiff] one, that one starts sticking in your head about, how did that happen? Make sure it doesn’t happen again. Like I said, that had nothing to do with the team or anything we did, that was all me.”
Allmendinger admits he’s a perfectionist, which is why he is still thinking about that missed shift.
“The road course races I really, truly try to be a perfectionist,” Allmendinger said. “It’s not going to bother me here, but I am who I am, it’s still in the back of my mind. It still just annoys me. That’s it. Because I was disappointed for the race team that I let them down, we didn’t get a good finish. I don’t think we were going to win that race.
“I don’t think it cost us a playoff spot, but I thought we were going to at least have a top three, top four finish. It just annoys me.
In shifting gears — no pun intended — to Watkins Glen, Allmendinger will have two shots to redeem himself. Allmendinger is competing in the Saturday afternoon Xfinity Series race for GMS Racing in addition to his regular run in the No. 47 in the Cup Series.
Allmendinger is usually considered a driver to watch on the road courses, and his first career Cup win did come at Watkins Glen in 2014.
Admittedly, Allmendinger has come to Watkins Glen in the past and put pressure on himself to perform. But now Allmendinger says he doesn’t get caught up in others analyzing his chances.
“In the end, I can just do my best,” said Allmendinger. “We all know what the ultimate goal is when we show up here. I think over the past couple of years it’s gotten a little more difficult, I think the field is spread out more.
“We’ve seen it this year the three fastest guys are usually the three fastest guys every weekend, and it doesn’t matter what track we go to. Unfortunately, they’re good everywhere. I think there’s more of a difference I can make here as a driver, but I don’t see why it’s not going to be those three again that are going to be the fastest cars and as a whole as a series, we’ve got to catch up to them.
“I just come here and do my best and try to get everything I can out of it. I think sometimes people look at it if we don’t win it’s a full disappointment of the weekend but we come here and run top five all weekend and finish top five, that’s still tough to do and that’s still a good day. If there’s a chance to win, we’ll take the chance and if not, we’ll get the best that we can. For me, get everything I can out of the weekend and if I can do that, I’ll be satisfied with it.”
Along with his win, Allmendinger has six top-10 finishes and 58 laps led at The Glen. A year ago Allmendinger finished ninth in this race.