Photo: Chris Trotman/NASCAR via Getty Images

Previewing 2017: AJ Allmendinger

By David Morgan, NASCAR Contributor

*Editor’s note: Motorsports Tribune will be previewing the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season for 24 drivers. We will release one driver preview per day over a 24-day stretch.

Age: 35

Years in Cup: 11

Career Wins: One

Biggest Accomplishment: First career Cup Series win (Watkins Glen – 2014)

For A.J. Allmendinger, 2016 may not have provided a race win or a Chase berth, but the California native was still able to rebound from a down year in 2015 to make some noise in his third full-time season with JTG-Daugherty Racing and the No. 47 team.

In 36 starts, Allmendinger scored two top-five finishes, which included a runner-up finish at Martinsville and a fourth place result at Watkins Glen. In addition to the two top-five finishes, Allmendinger finished the season with nine top-10 finishes, 29 laps led, and an average finish of 17.8. However, that was not quite enough to be able to make the Chase as he fell just short of that goal for the second year in a row en route to a 19th place finish in the points.

Heading into 2017, Allmendinger and crew chief Randall Burnett return for their second season together as JTG-Daugherty will also be expanding to a two-car team for the upcoming season as Chris Buescher joins the fold. For Allmendinger, expect 2017 to be much of the same, with the No. 47 team being a force to be reckoned with on the road courses and showing flashes of brilliance on the ovals that make up the majority of the schedule.

Allmendinger likely will be flirting with another Chase berth this season, especially if he is able to win at one of the road courses. Aside from Watkins Glen and Sonoma, Allmendinger could also be a dark horse to win at a track like Martinsville, where he has finished 11th or better in seven of his last nine starts at the track, including two runner-up finishes.

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David Morgan is the Associate Editor for Motorsports Tribune. A 2008 graduate from the University of Mississippi, David has followed NASCAR since the early 90’s and became hooked at an early age after attending his first race at Talladega Superspeedway in 1993. He has traveled across the country since 2012 to cover some of the most prestigious events both IndyCar and NASCAR have to offer, with an aim to only expand on that in the near future.

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