Smoke and brisket. Summer and burgers. Pulled pork and slaw. When it comes to great partnerships, AJ Allmendinger and Kingsford Charcoal are a match made in heaven —because for the JTG Daugherty Racing and Kingsford No. 47 team driver, grilling and racing have always gone hand in hand.
Raised in San Jose, California, 11-year-old AJ got his start in racing at the go-kart track, where he had some of his favorite childhood memories. “We don’t have one specific holiday when our family grills, because we were always at the racetrack,“ AJ recalled.
“We bought a go-kart and I remember hanging out on Saturday nights grilling with my mom and dad and everyone at the track,” AJ reminisced. “Everyone would be grilling and the kids would be running around having fun.”
With his tremendous talent and enthusiasm for racing, AJ quickly graduated from the go-kart track to NASCAR while his parents and his girlfriend continue their trackside grilling tradition.
August 9, 2014, at Watkins Glen International became an especially significant tailgate night. The very next day, AJ went on to win his first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race with one of the most exciting finishes of the season against racing ace Marcos Ambrose, followed by a huge celebration in Victory Lane.
Grilling at Home
When AJ’s not behind the wheel and with his No. 47 Kingsford Chevrolet teammates, he’s grilling with his girlfriend on their porch. “She’s really the one that does it all,” he admitted. “I’m really more into eating the grilled food.”
Of course, with every family grilling tradition comes a signature dish. AJ’s favorite is his dad’s grilled corn on the cob. “The exciting part is watching my dad eat it,” said AJ. “He would pluck out each kernel individually. I’m not sure how he does it, but it’s fun to watch.”