By admin | July 7, 2010
By Richard Allen
When I first heard that A.J. Allmendinger and Richard Petty had a heated exchange in the Daytona garage area my initial thought was, â€˜Who has a heated exchange with Richard Petty?â€™ Days after the incident I am still wondering the same thing. Of all people I would suspect not to have a heated exchange, Richard Petty would be near the top of my list.
Of course, everyone has moments in which they say or do things they wish had not been said or done. However, there are some things that even in the â€˜heat of the momentâ€™ can cause devastating backlash. It would seem that arguing with one of the sportâ€™s all time legends and a recent Hall of Fame inductee would be one of those things. This may have been one of those moments for Allmendinger.
Richard Petty Motorsports official Robbie Loomis has put out the â€˜heat of the momentâ€™ statement on behalf of Allmendinger, but this could be one of those things that may well go down as unforgivable in the eyes of many fans.
Even after years having passed since he last sat behind the wheel of a race car, Petty commands tremendous respect among those who follow the sport of NASCAR. For that matter, he is one of the most recognized and respected figures in all of sports, not just racing.
Allmendinger has shown flashes of talent and skill. And with that, he has built up a bit of a fan base. However, one has to wonder just how many of those fans are there because of the number at the bottom of the door rather than the name above it.
The contract between RPM and Allmendinger runs out at the end of the 2010 season. With Kasey Kahne having already announced he is leaving the organization at the end of the season, there could have been an opportunity for Allmendinger to assume the role of lead driver for the team if he were to be re-signed. Now, one has to wonder how this situation might play out.
Granted, the team that bears Pettyâ€™s name is rumored to be in financial trouble and the leaving of their number one revenue producer may spell the end for RPM. So, all the speculation as to who might drive for them in 2011 may be unnecessary.
Either way, I think it is safe to say that Allmendinger did not endear himself to very many people this past Saturday night. Hopefully, all can be worked out and this talented driver can move forward along with this team.
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Richard Allen is a member of the National Motorsports Press Association. His weekly columns appear in The Mountain Press and The Knoxville Journal.
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