Three months ago, it appeared A.J. Allmendinger's career in racing was over. But recently NASCAR reinstated him, after completing a drug rehabilitation program, and now the 30 year old driver has a ride ... even if it is temporary.
Rising up from the ashes
Phoenix Racing, who lost Kurt Busch to Furniture Row Racing, will put Allmendinger in the #51 Chevrolet this Saturday night at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Regan Smith was originally expected to drive James Finch's #51 but Smith got a call to fill in for Dale Earnhardt Jr. while Junior (see related articles) sits out two races due to a concussion he received at Talladega last week (source - Associated Press).
Allmendinger was originally signed by Penske Racing last December to replace Kurt Busch after Busch and Roger Penske parted ways. This past summer, Allmendinger tested positive for amphetamine after a NASCAR random drug test and was subsequently suspended and then consequently fired by Penske Racing, losing his dream job.
Allmendinger went through NASCAR's Road to Recovery program and in-turn was eventually reinstated three weeks ago by the series.
Said Allmendinger of his new chance after being away from racing for over three months: "I've just got to get comfortable. This is the longest I haven't driven a race car in at least six years. In the offseason, I'm always driving a Rolex car and our (NASCAR) offseason is only two months, anyway. So I'm a little nervous, trying to get back into the flow of things."
Starting with this weekend's Bank of America 500, whether Allmendinger's transitory move for one or two races offers any permanent potential is anyone's guess. Allmendinger had been seen at a multitude of races lately including the IndyCar finale at Fontana last month as a guest of Roger Penske.
If you didn't notice the irony here, Allmendinger is moving into the ride that Busch vacated just as he did when Busch left Penske after last season. And is there something prophetic about Allmendinger rising back up on his feet, driving for 'Phoenix' Racing?
Sources - NASCAR
Daryle has been involved in motorsports most of his life and has three decades of experience inside racemarketing, plus for several years has blogged about every type of racing.
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