Nascar

AJ Allmendinger seeks a Chase berth with win on NASCAR's 1st road course of season

  • FILE - In this Feb. 15, 2008, file photo, flags, including a Confederate flag, fap in the wind during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Daytona 500 auto race at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla.  NASCAR is backing South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley's call to remove the Confederate flag from the South Carolina Statehouse grounds in the wake of a massacre at a Charleston church, it said in a statement Tuesday, June 23, 2015. Though NASCAR bars the use of the flag in any official capacity, many fans fly the flag at their races. (AP Photo/Darryl Graham, File)

    FILE - In this Feb. 15, 2008, file photo, flags, including a Confederate flag, fap in the wind during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Daytona 500 auto race at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla. NASCAR is backing South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley's call to remove the Confederate flag from the South Carolina Statehouse grounds in the wake of a massacre at a Charleston church, it said in a statement Tuesday, June 23, 2015. Though NASCAR bars the use of the flag in any official capacity, many fans fly the flag at their races. (AP Photo/Darryl Graham, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • A.J. Allmendinger, right, signs autographs in the garage area before practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series auto race Friday, June 26, 2015, in Sonoma, Calif. Allmendinger earned a spot in the championship race with a win on a road course. He'll try to do it again this year at Sonoma Raceway, the first of two road courses on the NASCAR schedule. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

    A.J. Allmendinger, right, signs autographs in the garage area before practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series auto race Friday, June 26, 2015, in Sonoma, Calif. Allmendinger earned a spot in the championship race with a win on a road course. He'll try to do it again this year at Sonoma Raceway, the first of two road courses on the NASCAR schedule. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)  (The Associated Press)

  • A.J. Allmendinger answers questions at a news conference before practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series auto race Friday, June 26, 2015, in Sonoma, Calif. Allmendinger earned a spot in the championship race with a win on a road course. He'll try to do it again this year at Sonoma Raceway, the first of two road courses on the NASCAR schedule. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

    A.J. Allmendinger answers questions at a news conference before practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series auto race Friday, June 26, 2015, in Sonoma, Calif. Allmendinger earned a spot in the championship race with a win on a road course. He'll try to do it again this year at Sonoma Raceway, the first of two road courses on the NASCAR schedule. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)  (The Associated Press)

AJ Allmendinger knows the stakes on Sunday: Win on the road course at Sonoma Raceway and he earns a spot in NASCAR's championship race.

The year-old qualifying format almost guarantees a race winner a spot in the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship field, which Allmendinger capitalized on a year ago with a win at Watkins Glen.

It earned him his first Chase berth and was the crowning achievement for one of NASCAR's smaller teams.

Now Allmendinger is hoping for the same outcome this year, with a potential win on the picturesque 1.99-mile track California track.