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After frustrating results, AJ Allmendinger says Chase is ‘last thing on my mind’

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Quaker State 400 Presented by Advance Auto Parts

SPARTA, KY - JULY 09: AJ Allmendinger, driver of the #47 Kroger/Clorox Chevrolet, stands on the apron after an on track incident during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Quaker State 400 at Kentucky Speedway on July 9, 2016 in Sparta, Kentucky. (Photo by Matt Hazlett/Getty Images)

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After failing to finish three of the last six races and plummeting in the points, AJ Allmendinger says that “I feel like I’ve been gut punched and kicked in the not-such-fun place the last seven weeks.”

Allmendinger finished 38th last weekend at Indianapolis because of overheating issues with his car. As the series heads to Pocono Raceway this weekend, Allmendinger is 21st in the standings, 51 points (more than a full race behind) out of the final transfer spot to the Chase. When the series raced at Pocono in June, Allmendinger was 17th in the points.

“Honestly, the Chase is the last thing on my mind,’’ Allmendinger said Tuesday during a break in testing at Watkins Glen International. “The string of the last six or seven weeks has been really tough. Just stuff that I guess you could say out of our control, in our control. Sonoma we had a chance to win and had a mistake there.

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“We’ve got to run better, minimize our mistakes and each weekend try to get better. If we get into a position to win a race that’s great. If not, we’ve got to be a little bit better all around as a team. It’s tough in this sport. You look at the last two years, you look at this year, I think as a race team we are so much better than we were. You look at the points and we’re in the same spot. I think there’s a lot of good things happening to our race team, but we’ve got to get on track.’’

Allmendinger’s last top-10 finish was an eighth at Kansas in May. He started second and led 20 laps at Sonoma but finished 14th. He was poised to start sixth on a restart with less than 25 laps to go but was penalized when because his team failed to control a tire during the pit stop.

“We’ve just got to be better as a team, all of us together,’’ Allmendinger said.

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