Name: AJ Allmendinger
Date of Birth: December 16, 1981
Hometown: San Jose, Calif.
Hobbies: Karting, Golf
Residence: Huntersville, N.C.
Impressed with his talent, enthusiasm and the way he interacted with sponsors, the team owners at JTG Daugherty Racing inked AJ Allmendinger to a multi-year contract to race the No. 47 NASCAR Sprint Series Chevrolet - sponsored by Bush’s Best® Beans, Charter Communications, Clorox®, Glad®, Hidden Valley®, House-Autry, Kingsford® Charcoal, Kroger, and SCOTT® Products - full-time starting with the 2014 season. Allmendinger’s acceptance of the offer was motivated by the energy and passion surrounding the single-car team and its new alliance with a powerhouse organization in Richard Childress Racing (RCR) for engineering support and ECR Engines.
During the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season, Allmendinger showed strength in the select races he competed in for JTG Daugherty Racing posting the team’s best finish of the season with 10th-place at Watkins Glen International. He also raced a handful of races for Phoenix Racing.
Allmendinger was also impressive in other series. In May, with Penske Racing, the Californian charged to the front of the prestigious Indy 500 and left Indianapolis Motor Speedway with a seventh-place finish. He sites that leading the race was a moment he had never felt in a race car. It was a surreal instance where he found it hard to drive and concentrate for those five laps just knowing he was leading the Indy 500.
From there, he went on to score his first-ever NASCAR victory in the Nationwide Series at Road America in only his ninth start. He followed that up with his second-career NNS victory at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.
Other notable aspects of Allmendinger's career include driving for Richard Petty Motorsports during the 2009, 2010, and 2011 seasons where he earned four of his five top-five finishes in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. However, his career-best finish of second-place occurred while driving for Penske Racing at Martinsville Speedway on April 1, 2012.
Before the Petty and Penske days, Allmendinger had a stint with Red Bull Racing finishing in the top-10 twice. Allmendinger made his NASCAR debut in the Camping World Truck Series (formerly Craftsman Truck Series) driving for Bill Davis Racing at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on September 16, 2006.
Allmendinger's versatile résumé' includes 2012 Rolex 24 at Daytona winner, 2004 Champ Car World Series Rookie of the Year, 2003 Toyota Atlantic Series Champion, and 2002 Barber Dodge Pro Series Champion
Winning the Rolex 24 at Daytona may have been one of the greatest triumphs of his career. He does confess it was a big accomplishment to win for Michael Shank (Racing), who he considers one of his best friends. He shared the long-awaited victory with John Pew, close friend/former teammate Justin Wilson, and Oswaldo Negri Jr., who helped him early in his career at Skip Barber Racing School.
Allmendinger’s successful years in the Champ Car World Series ended up being a whirlwind that helped thrust him into the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. After winning Rookie of the Year in the division, he went on to finish fifth in the championship standings the very next season. Switching teams in 2006, he won five out of nine races, impressively winning the first three in a row. In the end, he finished third in the championship standings.
With the open wheel split of Champ and IRL, Allmendinger was uncertain of his direction. He suddenly found himself standing in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series garage preparing for the 2007 Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway with only a hundred laps of stock car racing experience under his belt. It all came together when his Champ Car sponsor, Red Bull decided to venture full-time into unchartered waters taking Allmendinger with them. Allmendinger had hoped to run some NASCAR Nationwide Series or NASCAR Camping World Series races to gain extensive experience and knowledge before racing in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, which never happened.
When his time with Red Bull Racing unraveled in 2008, he ran a race for Michael Waltrip Racing (MWR) at Charlotte Motor Speedway. He then joined Gillett Evernham Motorsports for the last four events of the season, which led to his new home at Richard Petty Motorsports for three years before moving on to Penske Racing.
Before the big leagues, Allmendinger traveled a familiar path. Usually, drivers come from a family that is passionate about racing. His dad was racing dirt cars in California and he grew up watching him or keeping an eye on what was going on in World of Outlaws or Sprint Cars. His favorite drivers were Steve Kinser and Brent Kaeding. He started BMX racing at age five, for three years before advancing to Quarter Midget Racing for the next three years. Go-karting was his next step at age 11 and he continued down that path for seven years.
Then, he won a karting scholarship through the Skip Barber Racing School, beating out the best karting drivers in North America during a two-day showdown that would change life as he knew it. He competed in the Skip Barber National Championship Series in 2001 and finished second in the championship. The next year it was called the Barber Dodge Championship Series and Allmendinger won Rookie of the Year honors and ultimately the championship. He has progressed a long way in his racing career in a relatively short period of time from those early years.
Today, he's eyeing a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victory to add to his accolades as he continues on his journey with JTG Daugherty Racing. His recent success sets the stage for a bright future and the team looks to benefit from his knowledge and feedback to build upon the strong foundation they have set in place over 19 years in NASCAR racing.
“I have learned some valuable lessons the past year and it is exciting to be back full-time with a team like JTG Daugherty Racing that is full of energy and passion to excel in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series,” Allmendinger said. “I feel lucky; very fortunate to be back for a full season and to be with the team. In a short amount of time, the team owners are like family to me. I consider Tad (Geschickter) a close friend of mine. He’s a great guy and they have made me feel a part of their family.
“I am looking forward to a fresh start and our alliance with RCR,” Allmendinger continued. “I feel like we will be better with their support and we’re fortunate to be able to work with them and Chevrolet. We are all working in the same direction and want to be successful. We have formed some really good relationships. We want to have solid performances for our sponsors and our fans. I know it is baby steps and we cannot go from 30th to fifth in the first week. We can be a really solid race team and one of those teams that cannot be overlooked. We are looking to go from a 20th-place team, to a top-15 team to a top-10 team next year. We are ready to start. The guys make it fun. The energy is there and we are starting to see great things at the shop. I see the potential and we’ve got to make it a reality.”