When in doubt…

A J Allmendinger, driver of the #47 Kingsford Charcoal Chevrolet, drives during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series CampingWorld.com 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on March 13, 2015 in Avondale, Arizona. (Photo by Rainier Ehrhardt/Getty Images)

A J Allmendinger, driver of the #47 Kingsford Charcoal Chevrolet, drives during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series CampingWorld.com 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on March 13, 2015 in Avondale, Arizona. (Photo by Rainier Ehrhardt/Getty Images)

AVONDALE, Ariz.—Sometimes there are benefits to a mediocre qualifying effort.

Uncertain about the durability of the Earnhardt Childress Racing engine in AJ Allmendinger’s No. 47 JTG/Daugherty Chevrolet, the team opted to replace it.

Accordingly, Allmendinger will drop to the rear of the field to start Sunday’s CampingWorld.com 500 at Phoenix International Raceway, but it’s not a catastrophic disadvantage, given that Allmendinger had qualified mid-pack in the 22nd position.

“We didn’t qualify as well as we wanted to anyway, so we decided to take the opportunity to change (the engine) now and eliminate any doubts,” said Brian Burns, Allmendinger’s crew chief. “We have a good race car, and ECR Engines have been awesome all year. We are just taking some precautionary measures to make sure we’re good to go to the end.”

If Allmendinger can’t improve on his Happy Hour session after the engine change, however, he may be in for a long day. Allmendinger was 30th on the speed chart in final practice.

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