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NASCAR's A.J. Allmendinger moves to Penske Racing

December 21, 2011 |  8:56 am

Penske Racing said Wednesday it has hired driver A.J. Allmendinger to take over its No. 22 Dodge in the NASCAR Sprint Cup season next year.

AllmendingerAllmendinger succeeds former Cup champion Kurt Busch, who parted ways with Penske earlier this month.

A native of Los Gatos, Calif., Allmendinger is a former open-wheel racer who migrated to stock-car racing in 2007. He spent the last three years with Richard Petty Motorsports.

Allmendinger has yet to win a Cup race, but he finished this year with 10 top-10 finishes and was 15th in the Cup championship standings.

"A.J. is a very talented and motivated driver and we believe he will be a terrific fit with our team," team owner Roger Penske said in a statement.

Allmendinger, 30, said "I have always admired Roger Penske and the way his teams compete and win in every series where they race."

The announcement was the second big change to Richard Petty Motorsports in as many days. On Tuesday, electronics retailer Best Buy — which had sponsored Allmendinger's car last year — said it was shifting its sponsorshipto Matt Kenseth and Carl Edwards at Roush Fenway Racing.

— Jim Peltz

Photo: NASCAR driver A.J. Allmendinger looks on during qualifying Nov. 12 at Phoenix International Raceway in Avondale, Ariz. Credit: Rainier Ehrhardt / Getty Images