Race Weekend Central

David Ragan & AJ Allmendinger Claim Front Row for 2011 Sprint Showdown

CONCORD, N.C. – They have been fast all year, knocking on the door as the next breakout drivers, and that showed once again as David Ragan and AJ Allmendinger claimed the front row for the NASCAR Sprint Showdown race.

“Hopefully, we’re a part of the real big event tomorrow at Charlotte, but our UPS Ford was fast in our one and only practice we had today,” Ragan said.

“It’s very important [to get in the All-Star Race],” he said. “That’s the number one thing on our to-do list right now besides the Daytona 500, which we’ve already run. I think this is the next important race that’s here because it kind of sets the tone for the Coke 600 next week.”

“To be on the front row of the Showdown with it being such a short race is a good thing,” Allmendinger, the 2008 Showdown winner, said. “For us, we just have to keep working on our mile-and-a-half program. It’s been our biggest struggle this year on the 43 side of it, so it’s kind of the same thing Paul [Menard] said, if we can go out there and get some notes and, hopefully, race our way into the All-Star Race, but, more importantly, just get some good notes and try to make our Ford run better for the 600 and on.”

Menard, Brad Keselowski and Jeff Burton rounded out the top five.

The winner and runner-up of the Sprint Showdown will transfer into the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race, along with the winner of the Sprint Fan Vote.

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