Thursday, October 11, 2012

Allmendinger: "Can You Get To The Track? We Need A Driver."

AJ Allmendinger is back 
AJ Allmendinger will drive the No. 51 Phoenix Racing Chevrolet this weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway, replacing Regan Smith, who will drive the No. 88 AMP/National Guard Chevrolet for Dale Earnhardt, Jr. 

Earnhardt announced today that he will be sidelined for the next two races after suffering a concussion in a final-lap crash at Talladega Superspeedway. 

“I hadn’t even planned on going to the track this weekend,” said Allmendinger today. “I went to the gym this morning, without my phone. When I got back at 9:00, it was blown up with calls and text messages. I got a voice mail from (Phoenix Racing general manager) Steve Barkdoll saying, `Can you get to the  track as soon as possible? We kinda need a driver.’"
For Allmendinger, Saturday night’s race will mark his first Sprint Cup Series start since being suspended by NASCAR on July 7 after failing a random substance abuse test. He subsequently blamed a single tablet of Adderall given to him by a friend for the failed test, and was reinstated by the sanctioning body last month after completing the Road to Recovery program. He returned to the garage as a spectator last weekend at Talladega, and spoke to Phoenix Racing owner James Finch about filling the seat in the No. 51 Chevrolet. 

“This is obviously not the way I wanted this to happen,” said Allmendinger. “I don’t ever want to see anyone get hurt, much less a guy like Dale who’s in the running for the championship. I don’t have details on what will happen going forward, I’m just driving to the track to get fitted into a race car. I’m sure it’s going to be a little hectic today, trying to get comfortable in the car after not driving anything for so long, but I’m appreciative for the opportunity. 

“I’m happy to have a ride for the weekend, and I’m going to do my best to get a good finish Saturday night for James Finch and Phoenix Racing.”


  1. I'd rather AJ be brought back to Petty's #43 - Almirola is a failure.

    1. Anonymous11:32 AM

      i concur

    2. Anonymous1:59 PM

      "failure" is the wrong word. Pole at the coke 600 etc. Has been strong in some races.

  2. Anonymous10:41 AM

    Happy for "The Dinger!"

  3. Anonymous11:18 AM

    Least he is clean..

  4. This is an opportunity for AJ and NASCAR to prove that a mistake can be overcome. I think that Phoenix Racing is helping move the sport along by working with AJ and all the luck to him.

  5. Anonymous11:31 AM

    Man, two great storylines in this race, of course in addition to the normal stuff about the Chase.

    1) Regan Smith, pushed out of his ride for Kurt Busch, gets a two race shot at driving in some of the best equipment in the sport. He knows this is his chance to show what he's really capable of.
    2) AJ gets his chance to get back on the track. Doubtful he will do much in Finch's equipment (not a knock in AJ), but to go from being suspended to back in a car that's not a start and park, in just over three months, is pretty amazing.

    I'm curious if Hendrick strongly debated between reaching out to Smith vs. Allmendinger to fill Jr's seat. Obviously AJ comes with baggage, at least for now, but if a guy like Rick Hendrick was shown as willing to put AJ in one of his cars, even temporarily, I think it would have sent a strong message and done a lot for AJ. That being said, racing's business, and it ain't charity. I think Rick is trying just as much to help Smith by giving him the ride for two races.

    1. Anonymous2:02 PM

      Solid chance that Regan's in the #88 more then two races.
      Really, you think AJ was even a choice for the #88?

    2. I think Regan Smith was the choice because of his Chevy connection (with Furniture Row & their alliance with Richard Childress Racing), also going back to DEI.

      Allmendinger's been in Fords & Toyotas mainly, so I doubt he was ever in serious consideration.

  6. Anonymous11:41 AM


  7. Anonymous11:51 AM

    Good deal AJ, best of luck.

    Rick in Indiana

  8. Anonymous12:52 PM

    AJ, get every lap you cab get.
    And get it to the finish.

  9. Anonymous1:39 PM


  10. good for AJ, nice of Phoenix Racing to give him this chance. good luck AJ and Regan Smith.

  11. Anonymous12:02 AM

    Best thing AJ can do is bring the 51 home in one piece. Finch has had more than his fair share of busted cars with KB at the wheel. Go AJ!

  12. Regan smith is only going to be in the #88 for 2 races and that is it nothing more that is dale jrs ride and no one else's but Hendrick is going to put regan smith in a car next year for a full season in one of there nns cars but anonymous Hendrick is not going to put regan smith in the #88 for the rest of the season are u crazy