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Arguing with ‘The King’ not a great career move for Allmendinger

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, ‘Who has a heated exchange with Richard Petty?’ 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 ‘heat of the moment’ can cause devastating backlash. It would seem that arguing with one of the sport’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 ‘heat of the moment’ 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 Petty’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.

Follow @RacingWithRich on twitter.

Richard Allen is a member of the National Motorsports Press Association. His weekly columns appear in The Mountain Press and The Knoxville Journal.

Topics: Articles |

14 Responses to “Arguing with ‘The King’ not a great career move for Allmendinger”

  1. mrclause Says:
    July 8th, 2010 at 10:25 am

    Just for the record, most of us only know the public RP and I’ve been a total RP fan since 1963. Richard does have a rather strong temper. Remember the bumping of the car in front of him on the interstate a few years back. Not once but several times. Now look at that full clip again from the start of the conversation. Look at RP closely, see any anger in his face or actions? Sure you do! See who reached out and grabbed AJ’s uniform not so gently? See who was trying to walk away and avoid this kind of situation? King or not, when that happened AJ had every right to act or react. That wasn’t kingly. Loomis had it exactly right, that just wasn’t the time to get in any drivers face and RP of all people should know that. Had he given AJ 15 minutes it would have never happened. RP is the king, but, AJ wasn’t totally in the wrong at all.

  2. JerseyGirl Says:
    July 8th, 2010 at 10:36 am

    yep, don’t tug on superman’s cape or spit into the wind — arguing with Richard Petty is just another of the dumb ideas that AJ has had this year - along with wrecking his teammate.

    That’s the way you gain respect of your fellow drivers and make fans.

  3. steven Says:
    July 8th, 2010 at 12:35 pm

    I liked the Dinger at first but after his run in with his teammate Kahne and now spinning out by himself and arguing with his Boss I’d say he needs to smarten up, big time.

  4. rfr Says:
    July 8th, 2010 at 12:36 pm

    I greatly respect RP the race driver. Over the years, his legacy, as an owner and now, whatever, has certainly roiled the waters of this great personage. Many, if not most of today’s fans have only heard of his greatness as a driver, but never personally witnessed it. I’m glad I had the opportunity

  5. DollarDawg43 Says:
    July 8th, 2010 at 1:44 pm

    Its a tough situation all the way around but Richard Petty also understands the situation Allmendinger was in, too. I’ve heard him speak ofetn how the intensity level rises when you are “on the edge”. Trust me, he knows where AJA was coming from.

    A lot of yelling goes on in the garage area and in the race shops themselves, we just normally don’t see it. The King is notorious for poking that long index finger into someone’s chest to make a point. I don’t think a little yelling back is going to hurt his feelings too much.

    The real problem facing RPM is finances, not to mention the possible departure of all four drivers after this season. Those factors will have a much greater impact on the company and it’s principals than a little spat in the garage area after a disappointing outing.

  6. Doug Says:
    July 8th, 2010 at 2:33 pm

    Mr Clause, Thank you for being like myself a Richard Petty fan see Noah’s Ark was a minnow. But let’s just clear one of your comments. Richard Petty did not bump someone on the highway. He was in a campaign for 1996 Sec. of State of North Carolina and the Democrats run that guy out on Highway 85 to brake check Mr. The King and smear his name as best they could. Everyone knows if you get in a fender bender with The King you pull over ask him to autograph the dent and apologize to him for being in his way.

  7. bowyerfan33 Says:
    July 8th, 2010 at 4:26 pm

    I agree with mrclause, Petty’s known to have a temper to begin with, and judging from the video, it looks like AJ was trying to walk away from the situation.

    I am a little miffed that TNT didn’t bother to show the footage, especially with all the ballyhoo over it the last few days.

  8. Richard in N.C. Says:
    July 8th, 2010 at 5:30 pm

    Wouldn’t it make sense to actually do some digging - maybe even talk with those involved or eyewitnesses - rather than writing a commentary criticizing someone based just on what you “heard?”

  9. RMann5 Says:
    July 8th, 2010 at 7:49 pm

    Bobby Labonte report to the 43

  10. Laura Says:
    July 9th, 2010 at 12:24 am

    Let’s just take the name of the King out of this for a second. If MY boss comes up to me and wants to have a word with me, he’s the boss, so he gets his word regardless of what I want or have time for. Here’s a novel idea for AJ to contemplate; When his boss wants a word with him, walking away isn’t an option… throwing a tantrum isn’t an option, and it’s certainly not professional.

    I think AJ has some talent, but he needs to remember that no one was really willing to give him a chance and the King did. It may not be a Hendrick/Childress/Gibbs/Roush ride, but it’s a ride. That’s more than he had when Red Bull canned him. And at a time when there aren’t many rides to go around, it is wise to think about that before biting the hand that feeds.

    Just saying…

  11. mrclause Says:
    July 9th, 2010 at 6:07 am

    Doug #6, RP received a ticket for that highway incident and made at least one public apology that was carried by much of the media at the time. It wasn’t a single bump, it was several and RP didn’t stop, he was pulled over. I still say this should be no big thing with AJ and he shouldn’t be chastised for it just because it was RP. They do happen to get along pretty well, this was just something in the heat of a bad moment for AJ and he needed time to chill. I’m three years younger than RP and I know I’m far from being as understanding as I once was. Saying that, I don’t have near as much adversity on my plate as RP does with Miss Linda, the Race teams that carry his name but that he has no control over and the sorry Gillette saga. The deal is much ado about nothing, if one was wrong both were wrong. The King doesn’t get a free pass from what I saw.

  12. Ritchie Says:
    July 9th, 2010 at 7:16 am

    It is to me a big to do about nothing.
    Dinger stays in the 43.
    Martin and Kahne swap rides in 2011.
    That would be cool.

  13. Go AJ Says:
    July 9th, 2010 at 10:25 am

    RP needs to fully retire, he can’t run a business, can’t manage and keep his drivers, and from what I read, Loomis may very well be on his way out of RPM as well. He’s passed his prime as an ‘owner’ as well, just like DW when he would not give up driving, and is making a fool of himself more every week. Time to give it up, but I doubt his ego will allow it.

    As for AJ, the young man has self respect and I don’t care if it’s RP, you do that to me right after I get out of a car in that situation, he’d be lucky I did not deck him.
    RP needs to be put out to pasture.

  14. Go AJ Says:
    July 9th, 2010 at 10:27 am

    to bowyerfan33: TNT didn’t show it because they are the biggest amateurs in Nascar coverage. It’s like watching a high school sportscaster do big time auto racing. Can’t wait ’till the ’summer session’ coverage is over, I can finally turn the TV volume back on and turn Sirius Radio off during the race.