AJ Allmendinger can't help but feel a sense of pride and satisfaction when he races near his hometown of Los Gatos, Calif., which is located about 90 miles south of Sonoma's Infineon Raceway.
In fact, he describes his feeling as, "What's up now, bitches?!"
As it turns out, Allmendinger's classmates weren't overly impressed that he raced go-karts when they were kids.
"They'd go, 'I can beat you. You should see me at Malibu Grand Prix – I'm fast!'" Allmendinger recalled this week. "I'd say, 'You're right. My go-kart is exactly like the one at Malibu Grand Prix.'"
Malibu Grand Prix, for those who don't know, is a mini-golf/arcade/go-kart fun park; the karts are not fast at all.
As a result of his racing-intensive life, Allmendinger didn't socialize much with his classmates.
"I did my own thing," he said. "I didn't really go to parties, because I was always at a go-kart race every weekend. I had my friends, but they were my friends at school – I wasn't hanging out with them afterward."
It's no surprise, then, that Allmendinger doesn't keep in touch with any of those high school friends anymore – though he did meet up with a few of them when he was racing the San Jose street circuit during his Champ Car days.
"I remember this one kid was funny," Allmendinger said. "He was like, 'Son of a bitch. I was pretty happy with my life. I was really happy about my degree. I got to travel to the U.K., and I thought that was pretty cool. Then all of the sudden I see you on TV in Surfer's Paradise, Australia; then the next race at Toronto. And (I realized), 'My life sucks!''"
How did Allmendinger respond?
"I said, 'See, you paid attention in school, that was your problem,'" Allmendinger said with a laugh. "I was focused on racing at that point."