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)
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.

About Greg Engle 7420 Articles
Greg is a published award winning sportswriter who spent 23 years combined active and active reserve military service, much of that in and around the Special Operations community. Greg is the author of "The Nuts and Bolts of NASCAR: The Definitive Viewers' Guide to Big-Time Stock Car Auto Racing" and has been published in major publications across the country including the Los Angeles Times, the Cleveland Plain Dealer and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He was also a contributor to Chicken Soup for the NASCAR Soul, published in 2010, and the Christmas edition in 2016. He wrote as the NASCAR, Formula 1, Auto Reviews and National Veterans Affairs Examiner for Examiner.com and has appeared on Fox News. He holds a BS degree in communications, a Masters degree in psychology and is currently a PhD candidate majoring in psychology. He is currently the weekend Motorsports Editor for Autoweek.