Drive another nail in the coffin of those clinging to the hope that Champ Car World Series star A.J. Allmendinger might find his way back to open wheel racing in 2007. Allmendinger’s fiancée was quoted telling friends last week, “We're going to NASCAR,” and my sources in the NASCAR garage say she knows what she's talking about.
My sources in NASCAR-land say Allmendinger is being paid $200,000 a year to drive Champ Cars for Gerald Forsythe and Forsythe Championship Racing. I am told that Team Red Bull General Manager Marty Gaunt has offered Allmendinger a three-year NASCAR contract at three million dollars per year, plus percentages.
Allmendinger’s management team has reportedly given Forsythe an opportunity to match that offer, but Forsythe has declined and broken off negotiations, saying the gap between what Allmendinger wants and what he is willing to pay is insurmountable. Forsythe currently has no sponsors, and runs his two-car team out of his own pocket. Sources close to the team now say they now do not expect Allmendinger to return in 2007.
Team Red Bull announced late last week that Allmendinger will replace Bill Elliott in this weekend’s Nextel Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway. They have made no announcement concerning Elliott’s final scheduled start with the team; set for Texas Motor Speedway on November 5th, but Elliott said he does not expect that he will drive the TRB car again this season.