|AJ Allmendinger NASCAR Daytona Speedweek
February 18, 2011 – Day 7
(Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images North America)
Sometimes silly seasons get too silly. And such is the case for the offseason between 2011 and 2012. Scenarios no one could have predicted are happening and opening the door for some drivers to prove themselves. For AJ Allmendinger, silly season has handed him the best chance of his career when recently named as driver of the #22 Dodge at Penske Racing.
To date Allmendinger has had an up and down NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career. He began in 2007 but struggled, ultimately being replaced at Red Bull Racing near the end of the season. Allmendinger did not give up despite the difficult start to his NASCAR career and has since proven himself worthy of competing at the top level, spending the last few seasons at Richard Petty Motorsports. In fact, 2011 was his best season to date accumulating one top-five, ten top-tens, and a career best 15th place points finish. While there is still room for improvement, each season continues to get better for Allmendinger. From a 42nd place points finish in 2007 to 15th in 2011 shows Allmendinger is on track to make the most of his most recent team change and perhaps contend in the chase for the first time in his career.
AJ will team up with Brad Keselowski, who won multiple races and made the chase in 2011, along with his Penske teammate. There’s no doubt that Penske Racing is a top organization that has the tools to contend for a championship in 2012. For AJ Allmendinger, it’s undoubtedly his best chance yet at becoming a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series winner and be a consistent front runner week in and week out. Allmendinger will have a new crew chief in Todd Gordon, who most recently led the #22 Nationwide team for Penske, winning five races with Keselowski. It may take a few races to get acclimated, but one has to believe this pairing can be successful as the 2012 season gets underway.
For AJ Allmendinger, it’s truly a spectacular opportunity that will undoubtedly determine his longevity as a successful driver in NASCAR. The 2012 season certainly has all the makings to be his breakout season.