NASCAR: A.J. Allmendinger will drive the No. 22
Allmendinger Gets Penske No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Dodge Ride
December 21, 2011
Penske Racing's gain is Richard Petty Motorsports' loss. The Mooresville, NC operation named AJ Allmendinger as the driver of Penske Racing's No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Dodge for the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season.
Allmendinger, a 30-year-old native of Los Gatos, CA has competed in the Cup series since 2007 after leaving the Champ Car World Series for the stock car wars. He had a career-best season in 2011 that saw him take 15th place in the series standings with one top-five, 10 top-10 and 22 top-15 results over 36 points-paying races, driving the No. 43 Ford for Richard Petty Motorsports.
"AJ is a very talented and motivated driver," said Roger Penske. "We believe he will be a terrific fit for our team. He has shown great promise and consistent results on the track over the last few seasons. Working with Todd (Gordon, newly minted crew chief) and the Shell-Pennzoil Dodge team will allow him to take the next step and compete for race wins and spot in the Chase in 2012."
Allmendinger was in the hunt for the final Chase positions throughout 2011; he joins a winning team that is poised to compete for a top-10 points-paying result in the regular season that would place them in the 2012 Chase playoffs.
"I am really excited about the opportunity to join Penske Racing and drive the No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Dodge in 2012. I have always admired Roger Penske," Allmendinger admitted, "and the way his teams compete and win in every series where they race. It's a privilege for me to represent such iconic and respected brands as Shell and Pennzoil, AAA and Dodge."
Dodge's CEO for SRT brand and motorsports, Ralph Gilles said he's "excited to have AJ Allmendinger join Penske Racing in 2012. His competitive driving style mirrors the performance attitude of the Dodge Motorsports team."
Allmendinger started his racing career in the open wheel arena with karts and at one time drove for Paul Tracy's karting team. He advanced to the Barber Dodge Pro Series title in 2002, copped the Toyota Atlantic championship in 2003 in his first year and earned rookie of the year honors in Champ Car for the 2004 season.
"The Dinger" recorded five victories and finished third in the 2005 Champ Car World Series before making the switch to NASCAR in 2007, where he's earned 26 top-10 finishes in less than five Sprint Cup Series seasons.
"Shell and Pennzoil are extremely pleased by Penske Racing's selection of AJ Allmendinger to drive the No. 22 Dodge," said Lisa David, president of Shell Oil Products. "AJ has consistently demonstrated great potential and continuous improvement as a driver; we look forward to seeing him contending for wins and ultimately a a championship in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series."
Allmendinger joined Richard Petty Motorsports late in the 2008 season, as it went through series of ownership and management changes. He first competed in the No. 44 for RPM, which lacked full-season sponsorship. The Dinger stepped up to the challenge, funneling prize money earned from strong finishes back into the race program and racing the full season on his accomplishments.
This strong effort saw the Californian transferred to the famous colors of the No. 43 starting in 2010; he has continued to deliver improving results. "I want to thank everyone at Best Buy for their support," he said of his 2011 major sponsor, which has gone to Roush Fenway Racing for nine events. "They jumped in as a key partner and the No. 43 had its best finish in the championship in years. I also want to thank all my guys at Petty. I appreciate all their hard work," said Allmendinger, "and the dedication from everyone through some tough circumstances."
The Petty organization has been further decimated with the announcement that Max Jones is going to Earnhardt Ganassi Racing as team manager of the NASCAR organization, effective immediately.
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