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Category: Richard Petty

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

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

Best Buy shifts NASCAR dollars to Roush Fenway


Best Buy Co. said Tuesday it's shifting its NASCAR sponsorship next year to Roush Fenway Racing drivers Matt Kenseth and Carl Edwards, dealing a blow to the team of Richard Petty Motorsports.

The electronics retailer said it would be the primary sponsor of Kenseth's No. 17 Ford for nine of the 36 races in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, and the main sponsor of Edwards' No. 99 Ford for two races. Best Buy also will be an associated sponsor for each in other races.

"NASCAR continues to be a relevant way for us to connect with our customers," Best Buy said in a statement.

Best Buy had been a major sponsor of Petty's A.J. Allmendinger, who drives the car with the legendary No. 43 once used by Petty himself.

"Although it is very disappointing that Best Buy is changing directions at this late date, we wish all of our friends there the best in their future endeavors," Petty said in a statement.

Petty also said "our plan has always been to run a two-car team in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in 2012 and we are continuing down that path. We will move forward and explore all of our options in regard to the No. 43 program in the coming weeks."

-- Jim Peltz

Photo: A.J. Allmendinger driving the Best Buy Ford in practice at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway on Oct. 21. Credit: Jared C. Tilton / Getty Images

Richard Petty and partners buy Petty NASCAR team

Stock-car racing legend Richard Petty said Monday he has joined with an investor group to reacquire control of his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series racing team, Richard Petty Motorsports.

PettyPetty, 73, partnered with Medallion Financial Corp. and DGB Investments to buy the team from majority owner George Gillett Jr. The price was not disclosed.

The former four-car team already had said it plans to field only two Cup drivers next season in Fords: A.J. Allmendinger and Marcos Ambrose.

Known as "The King" for his record 200 NASCAR wins and seven Cup championships, Petty "will serve as chairman and will be actively involved in overseeing day-to-day operations," the team said.

It also said "ample working capital has been invested in the company" in hopes of getting Petty "back in the winner's circle."

"Today is a great day for me, my family, our fans and our wonderful sponsors," Petty said in a statement.

Allmendinger, a former open-wheel racer who migrated to NASCAR, will continue driving the car with No. 43 -- the number made famous by Petty in his driving career. Allmendinger finished 19th in the Cup standings this season.

Ambrose is an Australian driver who completed his second full season in the Cup series this year; he finished 26th in the standings. Both he and Allmendinger have yet to win to win a Cup race.

Richard Petty Motorsports opened the season with Allmendinger, Kasey Kahne, Elliott Sadler and Paul Menard and then struggled with financial problems throughout the year.

Kahne, who had planned to move to the Red Bull team for one season next year before switching to Hendrick Motorsports in 2012, left ahead of schedule last month after being released by Petty.

Sadler is moving to Kevin Harvick Inc. next year to drive in NASCAR's second-tier Nationwide car and Camping World Truck series, and Menard is moving to Richard Childress Racing in 2011.

Petty's former Petty Enterprises team had merged with Gillett Evernham Motorsports in early 2009 to form the team that later was named Richard Petty Motorsports.

-- Jim Peltz

Photo: Richard Petty before the start of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race Nov. 21 at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Fla. Credit: Lynne Sladky / Associated Press





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