Aug 31, 2013, 4:45 PM EDT
A.J. Allmendinger will be back full-time in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series next season as driver of the No. 47 JTG Daugherty Racing machine.
Allmendinger, who was suspended and then released from his full-time ride with Penske Racing last summer following a failed drug test, has been working hard toward a second chance.
In addition to running nine Cup races this year with James Finch’s Phoenix Racing, he returned to driving for the Penske organization – making five IZOD IndyCar Series starts (including his debut at the Indianapolis 500) and winning two NASCAR Nationwide Series races at Road America and Mid-Ohio.
Now, he’s ready to make the most of an opportunity that he thought may never arrive more than a year ago.
“It was a muddy, cloudy picture – I didn’t know what was going to happen then,” Allmendinger said today at Atlanta Motor Speedway. “This year, there’s been so many things that have happened that I would’ve never expected.”
This weekend, Allmendinger is doing the fourth race in a six-race run with JTG Daugherty, whose normal driver, Bobby Labonte, is currently recovering after breaking three ribs in a cycling accident this week.
In addition to the matter of when Labonte will be back in the No. 47, the team also has the question of which manufacturer it will choose to align with next year. Team co-owner Brad Daugherty said that JTG Daugherty will finish out 2013 with Toyota.
But no matter if he’s driving a Camry or something else, Allmendinger feels that he’s now playing with “house money” after what he’s been through.
“It’s been a long journey over the last 12 months, but in a strange way, I would never change it,” he said. “The place that I’m at now as a person – I feel so much better about it.
“I know there’s still a lot of hard work ahead of me to try and get where I want to be in this sport, and to get where we want to be as a race team in this sport. But it’s just a great feeling to be back…I didn’t feel like I would be back here.”
Apr 19, 2015, 7:41 PM EDT
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Apr 19, 2015, 6:18 PM EDT
Scott Dixon finally wins in Long Beach.
Apr 19, 2015, 6:00 PM EDT
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Apr 19, 2015, 5:32 PM EDT
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Apr 19, 2015, 5:00 PM EDT
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Apr 19, 2015, 4:00 PM EDT
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Apr 19, 2015, 3:45 PM EDT
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Apr 19, 2015, 3:30 PM EDT
Watch the third round of the IndyCar season, from the streets of Long Beach, at 4 p.m. ET on NBCSN and NBC Sports Live Extra.
Apr 19, 2015, 3:15 PM EDT
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Apr 19, 2015, 2:30 PM EDT
Watch the third round of the Indy Lights season today at 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN.
Apr 19, 2015, 2:15 PM EDT
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Apr 19, 2015, 2:00 PM EDT
A spirited effort from the German driver falls flat as a brake problem leaves him third at the end of the race.
Apr 19, 2015, 1:42 PM EDT
Josef Newgarden fastest in IndyCar morning warmup.
Apr 19, 2015, 1:30 PM EDT
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Apr 19, 2015, 1:13 PM EDT
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Apr 19, 2015, 12:49 PM EDT
NBC News’ Kerry Sanders goes for a two-seater lap with Mario Andretti at Long Beach.
Apr 19, 2015, 12:44 PM EDT
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Apr 19, 2015, 12:00 PM EDT
Indonesian driver clinches his first victory in the GP2 Series at the 70th attempt.
Apr 19, 2015, 10:15 AM EDT
Mercedes and Ferrari prepare to duel in the desert on Sunday. Join us on NBCSN and Live Extra from 10:30am ET for all of the action from the Bahrain International Circuit.
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