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« Gordon seeking Martinsville redemption | Main | Johnson victory breaks long Chevrolet winless streak »

After tumultous season, Allmendinger returning to site of his best finish

By admin | October 27, 2012

By Richard Allen

A.J. Allmendinger is qualified in the 26th position for Sunday’s Sprint Cup race in Martinsville. The fact that he is there at all is somewhat of a minor miracle.

As has been well documented, Allmendinger was declared ineligible to race just a few short hours prior to start of the July 4th weekend event at the Daytona International Speedway. NASCAR officials revealed that the driver had tested positive for a banned substance under the sanctioning body’s drug testing policy and would not be permitted to race until he had completed the necessary treatment steps required for reinstatement.

After denials and posturing by Allmendinger and his representatives in the days immediately following the announcement, the driver eventually submitted to treatment and completed those necessary steps. On September 18th, NASCAR declared that the driver had finished the ‘Road to Recovery’ program and would be allowed to return to the sport.

In the meantime, however, Allmendinger had been released by Penske Racing as the driver of the #22 Dodge as that organization had to move on.

Many had thought Allmendinger’s career was effectively ended, at least in NASCAR, after his initial failing and the dismissal by Penske. It was thought that few, if any, car owners and sponsors would be willing to give the former open wheel competitor a second chance.

But with the late season shuffling brought about by Kurt Busch’s hiring at Furniture Row Racing and Dale Earnhardt, Jr’s concussion related off time, Allmendinger found himself back behind the wheel of a Sprint Cup car when Phoenix Racing team owner James Finch gave him a call.

Phoenix had initially planned to bring in Regan Smith as a replacement for Busch but that driver was offered the #88 Hendrick Motorsports car when Earnhardt was forced to take time off. That opened the door for Allmendinger to take the #51 Chevrolet.

Back on April 1st of this year, Allmendinger recorded his best ever Sprint Cup finish when he came home 2nd behind winner Ryan Newman at Martinsville. A late race caution and ensuing chaotic green/white/checkered restart had eliminated a number of the competition and put the #22 Dodge in contention for the win.

Allmendinger and Newman had taken the white flag side by side before Newman had been able to edge out in front of Allmendinger for the lead.

Most drivers would probably be very excited to be returning to a track that provided them with their best ever finish. A.J. Allmendinger is no doubt excited about that too, but more likely, he is probably just excited to be returning to any NASCAR track after the tumultuous season he has been through.

Topics: Articles |

5 Responses to “After tumultous season, Allmendinger returning to site of his best finish”

  1. Tony Geinzer Says:
    October 27th, 2012 at 1:03 pm

    Rich,I won’t lie, I feel Dinger’s Return is not all sunshine and lollipops because most folks would deal with Rowdy vs. A Known Addict. I feel strongly about that and a lot of folks feel that way,too, but, I feel NASCAR let Dinger in Too Soon.

  2. Robear Says:
    October 28th, 2012 at 10:15 am

    A known addict…?!? Come on, isnt that just a wee bit strong, dont ya think!? THE GUY WENT THRU THE STEPS NASCAR HAS IN PLACE, AND COMPLETED THOSE STEPS RATHER QUICKLY… IF HE WAS AN ADDICT, THERE IS *NO WAY* HE COULD HAVE COMPLETED AND PASSED THOSE STEPS AND THE PROGRAM THAT QUICKLY…. Dont be so intolerant and UN INFORMED with comments like that…

  3. Offkilter Says:
    October 29th, 2012 at 5:18 pm

    I’ve always liked the dinger. He’s a chatty funny guy. I’m happy for him to be racing again. Too bad he had tire trouble at martinsville… He was running good.

  4. Tyler West Says:
    October 29th, 2012 at 10:00 pm

    It sucks! Nascar will try everything in their power to screw with Kurt Bush but when it comes to this loser Almendinger, they just let him back in. That is BS! He’s a drug abuser but I guess that’s OK. The guy is a LOSER. Kick him out for good!

  5. Offkilter Says:
    October 30th, 2012 at 5:49 pm

    Kurt busch is his own worst enemy and brings the wrath of nascar upon himself by being stupid. You can’t fix stupid. On the contrary, AJ fixed what got him in trouble, tested clean, and we have a driver back that in my opinion has more class in his pinky toe than an entire family tree of busch’s.

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