BURLINGTON, Vt. - It didn't take long to see why A.J. Allmendinger is one of the most liked drivers in NASCAR. Bringing an infectious smile and warm personality, the Sprint Cup Series driver kept the laughs coming during a three-stop visit in northern Vermont on Wednesday. Allmendinger entertained juniors and seniors at a technical school, race fans at a private lunch, and fairgoers at the Champlain Valley Fair ahead of the Sept. 27 SYLVANIA 300 - the second race in the Chase for the Sprint Cup - at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

"This was a blast today. I've never been to Vermont, so this was pretty cool to be in this area - I'd absolutely come back," said Allmendinger, driver of the No. 47 Bush's Grillin' Beans for JTG-Daugherty Racing. "New England, in general, is a pretty beautiful place. It's always fun to come up to this region because there's so much to do whether you're at the track or away from it. This is definitely one of my favorite stops of the season."

Allmendinger, who has two races left to earn a spot in NASCAR's 10-race playoff for the second straight season, began his day in the Green Mountain State by visiting The Center for Technology in Essex. Allmendinger talked to the 35-plus upperclassmen in the automotive technology class about how he got his start in racing, the importance of staying in school as well as handed out tickets for them to watch him race at the Magic Mile at the end of the month.

"This really was a special day for these kids," said Dan Clark, who heads the Automotive Technology Department at CTE. "We just started our school year, but this will be something they remember all the way into the spring. A.J. has a great personality and you could really feel a connection as he was speaking about what he does."

Following some autographs and selfies, Allmendinger sat down to a private lunch at The Tavern in Essex Junction with three (plus one guest) randomly selected local NHMS fans. The group enjoyed sharing memories of everything from racing to fantasy football.

The final stop of the day was just down the road from lunch at the Champlain Valley Fair in Essex Junction. Vermont Lieutenant Governor Phil Scott, who has raced in three Bond Auto Parts ACT Invitational races at NHMS, was on hand to welcome Allmendinger to the state. He even declared Sept. 2, 2015 "Dinger Day" in Vermont.

"That was pretty cool. I've never had a day named after me before. I've been called names, that's for sure, but never anything like this," Allmendinger said. "I was blown away by that."

Allmendinger closed out the day by playing a few carnival games with media, hitting various radio shows around the fairgrounds, eating deep fried Oreos, and playing the "Man on the Street" game where he asked fans if they'd ever heard of A.J. Allmendinger before.

"This was just a really fun day. I got to have some fun with fans, I got a stuffed banana out of it, and even a cool pair of 'Merica shades," he said. "But at the end of the day, I hope this helps get some fans to come out to the race because New Hampshire Motor Speedway is a really fun place to watch a race and spend time with family and friends."

For more details and ticket information on events at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, or to purchase tickets to the September SYLVANIA 300 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series weekend, please stop by our Ticket Office, visit the speedway website at www.nhms.com, or call our Ticket Hotline at (603) 783-4931.