Wednesday, December 21, 2011

CONFIRMED: Allmendinger To Penske In 2012

After five years of trying, AJ Allmendinger has finally hit the NASCAR lottery.

Penske Racing confirmed today that Allmendinger will drive the team's No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Dodge Charger on the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, replacing Kurt Busch. The former Champ Car World Series star has competed in the Sprint Cup Series since 2007, and recorded a career-best 15th place finish in the 2011 championship standings.

Allmendinger came to NASCAR from the Open Wheel ranks, after winning the 2002 Barber Dodge Pro Series championship and the 2003 Toyota Atlantic Series title. He claimed Champ Car World Series Rookie of the Year honors in 2004, then won five races en route to a third-place finish in the 2005 Champ Car standings. He moved to NASCAR in 2007 with Red Bull Racing, which pushed him immediately into Sprint Cup competition despite an almost complete lack of stock car experience. He struggled to adapt, failing to qualify for eight of the first 10 races in 2007 before being pulled from the ride temporarily in favor of veteran Mike Skinner. Allmendinger ran just 17 times in his rookie season, with a top finish of 15th.

He ran 27 of 36 races for Red Bull in 2008, recording a pair of Top-10 finishes en route to 36th in points, before being dropped by Red Bull and moving to Richard Petty Motorsports. He has driven for RPM in each of the last three seasons, most recently at the wheel of Petty's iconic No. 43 Ford. The California native posted one Top-5 and 10 Top-10 finishes this season.

“I am really excited about the opportunity to join Penske Racing and drive the No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Dodge in 2012,” said Allmendinger today. “I have always admired Roger Penske and the way his teams compete and win in every series where they race. It is a privilege for me to represent such iconic and respected brands as Shell and Pennzoil, AAA and Dodge. I am honored to join Penske Racing and I will do my very best to continue to build on the standard of excellence established across the organization.”

Allmendinger joins a team that won twice in 2011 with driver Kurt Busch, and claimed three poles, 16 Top-10 finishes and a spot in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. He will be teamed with newly announced crew chief Todd Gordon, who led the Penske Racing No. 22 Nationwide Series team to six victories last season.

“AJ is a very talented and motivated driver and we believe he will be a terrific fit with our team,” said Roger Penske. “He has shown great promise and consistent results on the track over the last few seasons and working with Todd and the Shell-Pennzoil Dodge team will allow him to take the next step and compete for race wins and a spot in the Chase in 2012.”

“Shell and Pennzoil are extremely pleased by Penske Racing’s selection of AJ Allmendinger to drive the No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Dodge,” said Lisa Davis, President of Shell Oil Products U.S. “AJ has consistently demonstrated great potential and continuous improvement as a driver, and with Penske’s track record, our employees and customers can look forward to seeing him contending for wins and ultimately a championship in the NASCAR Cup Series. We know he will represent our brands well on and off the track and we look forward to a successful 2012 with AJ behind the wheel.”


  1. Great for the Dinger, great for Penske and great for Nascar.

  2. Anonymous12:15 PM

    Win/Win... Excellent Chioce by Roger Penske & Co!

  3. Anonymous12:16 PM

    Doug from NJ

    Now all we need is WalMart to get involved in NASCAR.....

    Way to go Dinger. Sorry David Regan couldn't get the job, but he's young, and times will get better.

  4. Glad to see AJ get a good ride. Anyone else think he is the Stig on the american version of Top Gear?

  5. Anonymous12:21 PM

    Christmas came early for Dinger!!! So happy for him.

  6. Anonymous12:27 PM

    Whew! Angie gets 2 keep her chiropractic care!
    Eric in pa

  7. Anonymous12:39 PM

    Wonder if Petty saw that one coming before pushing him out?

  8. Kat neely1:16 PM

    I am a little surprised. My thoughts is that this is a good move for A.J. and David Ragen should keep the ride he has with whoever it is. Looking more and more like Kurt won't have a full time ride, or no ride at all and he has gotten what he deserves. Not happy Kurt? Stay home and learn to respect others.

  9. anonymous internet genius1:37 PM

    and the congregation said.....AMEN!!

  10. Anonymous1:43 PM

    AJ is a class act all the way. So is David Ragan. Best of luck to both.

  11. I was worried for a moment when Best Buy bolted from RPM. But I'm glad for A.J. Allmendinger for landing the No. 22 ride. Totally awesome news for the holidays for his fans and 'Dinger. He's moving up in the world!


  12. Redneckputerguy2:46 PM

    Hate to see The King lose such a talented driver, but am very happy for Dinger, and I will finally be able to cheer for a Penske car again.

  13. So happy for Dinger!! I was hoping something would come his way!

  14. Anonymous3:39 PM

    that's a grate move he is a good driver how Mr penske can listen in on the radio and not hear ant cussing man Kurt Bush has got one bad mouth

  15. This is the best that could happen! Earlier today on SiriusXM NASCAR Lee Spencer said that AJ had met with Shell, AAA and Dodge last week, so this has obviously been in the works for a week or more. Dr. Dick Berggren today on SiriusXM said he predicts that AJ will have at least one win and be in the top 12 in points by the Spring Richmond race. That sounds good to me!

  16. Anonymous9:38 PM

    Well mr loomis u better mortgage that house now! Way Togo AJ . See you in the Chase!!!!!

  17. I am so happy for AJ. What a great opportunity. I know he will do well!!!!