Every NASCAR fan has heard the rumor and yes it may just happen if everything works out like it should.
Former Penske Racing driver, A.J. Allmendinger has been reinstated by the sanctioning body after completing its ‘Road to Recovery’ program less than two weeks ago. While in the program, A.J. Allmendinger made it clear that he would like to return to the series before the year is completed.
Now he may have his chance. Even though it may not be a top tier team, it’s still something. Allmendinger could return to the Sprint Cup Series in two weeks at the Charlotte Motor Speedway with Phoenix Racing as rumors continue to circulate the sport. With that, here is ten reasons why A.J. Allmendinger should be put in James Finch’s No. 51 car:
1). He led Michael Shank Racing to win the team’s first ever Rolex 24 at Daytona this past February.
2). He is one of the most marketable driver’s in the sport with his incredible personality and genuine smile.
3). Being only 30-years old, A.J. Allmendinger still has plenty of years left in racing and hasn’t even began to show what he’s made of.
4). He went from a junk team in Richard Petty Motorsports where they used old parts and pieces from years ago, to a team that builds new cars on a monthly basis with Penske Racing.
5). Before his suspension, Allmendinger had back-to-back top ten finishes which showed he and crew chief, Todd Gordon were building a strong bond after a rough start.
6). Over his six years in the Sprint Cup Series, he has ran 169 races, only having 13 DNF’s in that span, showing he won’t wreck Finch’s car which has been involved in 16 accidents and mechanical failures in just 29 races this year.
7). He is willing to prove himself capable of winning at the most elite auto-racing series in the world after several years of failure.
8). Having ten top ten finishes last season with RPM and the No. 43 team, he was able to finish 15th in points, the best of his career. If he was in good equipment, he probably would have won both Dover races and made the Chase.
9). He has experience with under-funded teams as he dealt with the Red Bull Racing saga for the first few years of his career.
10). Finally, he’s just A.J. Allmendinger, his name and personality do the talking for his talent. He’s shown that he knows how to drive, he talked himself into taking over a ride from a former Cup Series champion in Kurt Busch, ironically the man he would be replacing at Phoenix Racing, and he slowly proved he can do good in that equipment as well.
A.J. Allmendinger may be able to drive a NASCAR once again, but he needs sponsors to do it first.
Joseph Wolkin can be followed on Twitter at @JosephNASCAR.