This is the Statt Mann Baby!!  Time to Scatt a little bit.

A.J. Allmendinger is a Freaks Favorite.  He has been for some time now.  But the swagger he earned in open-wheel is gone now.  This year he’s missed the first three NASCAR Cup races and eight in a row last year.

We talked about the tough times at Daytona.

“What doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger.  And that was the hardest year of my life career-wise, ever.”

What kept him focused?

“I hate to lose,” he said emphatically.  “And I don’t settle to lose.  I know I’ve got the ability to drive anything on this planet and drive it fast.  I’m not ready to retire anytime soon.

“And how hard the cars are to drive is something I wasn’t ready for.”

A.J. is pretty frustrated right now and I wouldn’t be surprised to see Allmendinger take advantage of the open-wheel unification.  But his determination to conquer stock cars makes that unlikely.  Not highly unlikely, just unlikely.