(WOMR file photo)
Another free agent may be off the market as of today! A.J. Allmendinger has an offer to drive the #47 JTG Daugherty Toyota in 2014.
Team owner Tad Geschickter confirmed to FOXSports.com a full-time deal had been offered to Allmendinger. The driver confirmed JTGD’s proposal late Wednesday night.
Allmendinger, 31, has competed in NASCAR, IndyCar and Grand-Am this season. With his experience in a variety of different series and manufacturers, JTGD brought Allmendinger in for the Michigan June race to provide a second opinion on what areas needed improvement within the car – mechanical, aerodynamic or engine. At that time, the team’s current driver Bobby Labonte was 27th in the standings.
Labonte’s current average finish in the JTG Daugherty #47 Toyota this season is 27.76. Allmendinger, who will make his fourth start with the team this weekend at Atlanta, posted an average finish of 17th – including earning JTGD’s first top-10 finish of the season when he finished 10th at Watkins Glen.
Allmendinger has spent the last year on a comeback tour after failing a drug test at Kentucky Speedway in June 2012. Allmendinger was released by Penske Racing, but after completing NASCAR’s Road to Recovery program, he was picked up by Phoenix Racing last fall and ran a limited schedule in the No. 51 Chevy which continued through this year.
Team owner Roger Penske also provided the affable and talented driver with a second chance – first in IndyCars and then in the Nationwide Series. Allmendinger enjoyed tremendous success in Champ Cars, winning five races in 2006 before jumping to NASCAR, but that’s the last time he had competed in open wheel before testing one of the Penske Racing cars in February. While he finished 19th in his return at Birmingham and had a mechanical failure at Long Beach, Allmendinger realized a childhood dream when he qualified for the Indianapolis 500 in May. Allmendinger qualified fifth and led 23 laps before his safety belts came loose and he was forced to pit. However, Dinger recovered to finish seventh.
It does this old REDNECK good to see that Allmendinger is making the most of his second chance! With AJ’s seventh place finish at Indy (he could have won the race had his seat belts not come loose), to his two victories in the Nationwide Series in the Penske Racing #22 Discount Dodge, “The Dinger” has proven to many that he has learned his lesson from the gross mistake that he made. Additionally, that he is ready, willing, and able to move on, try to win some races, and get the job done in NASCAR!
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!