Allmendinger gets full-time Sprint Cup ride for 2014
AJ Allmendinger will return to fulltime racing in the Sprint Cup Series next season, driving the No. 47 car for JTG Daugherty Racing, the team announced on Saturday at Atlanta.
Allmendinger has not had a full-time ride since he failed a NASCAR drug test a year ago. He was reinstated late in the 2012 season, and has driven races in NASCAR and IndyCar since.
"For me, it is an amazing opportunity," Allmendinger said. "I looked at this year as a new beginning for me. I have worked hard and feel fortunate about every opportunity this season and I am very grateful."
Allmendinger will replace Bobby Labonte, who will leave the organization at season's end.
"To have the opportunity to come back full-time with everything that happened, I know how very lucky I am," Allmendinger said. "There are a lot of things about the team I like as well. It is the type of atmosphere and chemistry you need in this sport."
The 64-lap race marks the series' return to road-course racing for the first time in more than a decade. The most recent road course event was June 2000 at Watkins Glen, N.Y.
NASCAR drivers Scott Speed and Travis Pastrana are scheduled to compete in the event. Tickets are $25; children ages 10-and-under are $10. Call (800) 455-3267 for more information.
Three things to watch
1. A year ago, Jeff Gordon finished second at both Atlanta and Richmond to claim a wild card spot in the Chase. The most recent of his five Atlanta victories came in 2011.
2. Joey Logano has finished in the Top 10 in five consecutive races which has propelled him into the Top 10 in the series standings.
3. Goodyear is debuting its "zone tread" technology in the Cup series with its new right-side tire for Atlanta. It's success could bode well for use at other tracks.
• Tony Stewart is scheduled to make his first appearance in front of the media since his sprint car racing accident during a news conference Tuesday at Stewart-Haas Racing headquarters in Kannapolis. Generally, one would expect much of the discussion to center around Stewart's accident and recovery. However, with SHR co-owner Gene Haas' revelation that Stewart opposed his decision to expand to a four-car team in the Cup series for 2014, it's likely now that topic will dominate the questioning. It will be interesting to hear Stewart's response. Expect his opposition to be downplayed.
• Where did the ridiculous notion come from that drivers need to accomplish a certain set of objectives in NASCAR's lower level Nationwide and Truck series before they are "ready" to move to the Cup series? If Jimmie Johnson had waited to "prove himself" in the Nationwide series he would have missed out on getting hired by Hendrick Motorsports and he wouldn't have had the chance to win five consecutive Cup series titles. You go when you're given the opportunity.
• Who would have thought at the beginning of the season that Joey Logano and Ryan Newman would be in a better position to make the Chase with two races left than Brad Keselowski, Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart and Denny Hamlin?
Three picks for your fantasy team:
Jeff Gordon, Denny Hamlin, Carl Edwards