TALLADEGA, Ala. — AJ Allmendinger upped his effort to find a new job on Friday by making his first appearance at a NASCAR event since his suspension for failing a drug test.
The visit to Talladega Superspeedway is the first since Allmendinger’s July 7 suspension. He was reinstated by NASCAR last month and is looking for a job for 2013 after being dropped by Penske Racing three months ago.
Allmendinger first returned to a track last month at Fontana, Calif., attending the IndyCar season finale as Roger Penske’s guest.
“Nobody has told me to get out yet,” joked Allmendinger, who stopped in the Penske Racing garage stalls and visited with his former crew. “It’s been a lot of fun to be back in the garage. It’s been a rough few months, and I’m just really glad to be back here.”
He was greeted with hugs from former crew members at Richard Petty Motorsports, where he spent three seasons before moving this year to Penske Racing. He was let go by Penske in July after his backup urine sample also failed a test.
Allmendinger has said he tested positive for Adderall, a prescription drug typically used to treat attention deficit disorder. He does not have an ADD diagnosis or prescription, and said he took it a couple of days before the June 30 race at Kentucky Speedway because he was tired.
There’s also interest from IndyCar teams in Allmendinger, who won five races in Champ Car before moving to NASCAR in 2007. But the IndyCar season doesn’t open until March, and its free agency period doesn’t heat up until January.
Bass Pro Shops signs with Tony Stewart
Tony Stewart insisted he wasn’t trying to poach a sponsor when he approached Bass Pro Shops about an opportunity to join his race team.
The three-time NASCAR champ has a long relationship with Bass Pro founder Johnny Morris, and knew the contract with Earnhardt Ganassi Racing expired at the end of this season. In need of funding, Stewart had a conversation that led to an 18-race sponsorship deal.
“I didn’t go to Johnny trying to steal a sponsor from somebody,” Stewart said. “We just let it be known to him that we had an opportunity available on our side, and if he ever decided he was wanting to make a change, we wanted him to know we were available.”
Office Depot told Stewart during the summer it was not returning to his program. That left a gaping hole on the No. 14 Chevrolet at a time when Stewart was also looking for primary sponsorship for Ryan Newman’s car.
Stewart-Haas Racing announced earlier this week that Quicken Loans was upping its commitment to Newman to 18 races. That just about fills the No. 39 car, but Stewart still has work to do on his: Mobile 1 has an 11-race commitment, but nine races are unsold.
Montreal off 2013 Nationwide schedule
NASCAR will not race in Montreal next season after the promoter pulled the plug on the six-year relationship.
Promoter Francois Dumontier ended a surprising turn of events for NASCAR, which wanted to continue running the Nationwide Series at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.
Dumontier recently informed NASCAR he was only interested in hosting a Sprint Cup Series race, and if Nationwide was his only option, he wanted to run the event at 9 a.m. on a Sunday.