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Press Snoop: AJ heads for NASCAR.

The widely speculated move of AJ ALLMENDINGER of Los Gatos CA from Champ Car to NASCAR was announced Tuesday by Team Red Bull. He will race #84 Toyota in NASCAR Nextel Cup in a multiyear contract, teaming with BRIAN VICKERS in #83 Toyota.

Allmendinger said "I'm really excited about this next challenge in my racing career. To race against some of the best drivers in the world in front of fans that are as enthusiastic about racing as I am is going to be a pretty big thrill. I know this is going to be a lot of work in the upcoming months, but I couldn't be happier to do it with Team Red Bull. Hopefully, we can all go out there and deliver a good show."

Allmendinger has raced a Toyota truck twice for Bill Davis Racing in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, finishing fifteenth in September at New Hampshire International Speedway, and fifth earlier this month at Talladega Superspeedway. He is entered in this weekend's Truck race at Atlanta and is awaiting word on whether he will be approved to run the Cup race also in a BDR Dodge. If so, he will race in a truck that was originally slated for BILL ELLIOTT, who has "graciously agreed to step aside and let AJ take on driver duties in the Team Red Bull entry for the upcoming 2006 Nextel Cup races at Atlanta and Texas."

Earlier this week NASCAR denied Roush Craftsman Truck driver, DAVID RAGAN, approval to race Cup this weekend. He hasn't been cleared to race on tracks longer than one mile.

Next season Toyota is joining the Nextel Cup series, with three teams: Bill Davis Racing, Michael Waltrip Racing - both existing teams; and Team Red Bull, a start up team which will have to qualify for the first few races based on Qualifying Times rather than being guaranteed a starting position.

RICK VIERS, who was the Crew Chief for AJ's two Truck races, has been hired as Allmendinger's Cup Crew Chief.

Allmendinger, the only American driver in the American Champ Car World Series, currently races with the Forsythe Championship Racing team, teaming with PAUL TRACY of Canada. He is currently second in the Champ Car Driver's Championship, behind Newman Haas Racing's SEBASTIAN BOURDAIS of France, who just clinched the 2006 Championship for the third straight year, something which has only been done once before in Champ Car/CART history. There is one more Champ Car race to run - in Mexico City next month, the same weekend as the penultimate Nextel Cup round at Phoenix International Raceway.

Allmendinger has five CCWS victories since he joined Forsythe Championship Racing in June, after being fired by RuSPORT.

The ebullient young road racer came up through the Champ Car open wheel ranks. He started in 2000 racing go-karts. He drove for Paul Tracy Karting in the inaugural Champ Car Stars of Tomorrow series, earning a test drive in a Team Rahal Champ Car. He parlayed that Barbara Champ Car Karting Scholarship into a ride and Drivers Championship in the Formula Dodge National Championship.

In 2002, Allmendinger won Barber Dodge Pro Series Championship and another Champ Car test. In 2003 he won the Toyota Atlantic Championship as a Rookie with RuSPORT, and then moved up with RuSPORT to Champ Car in 2004, winning Rookie honors that year. AJ, named for A.J. FOYT, was with RuSPORT until June of this year when he was let go on a Friday, got engaged to Canadian chiropractor LYNNE KUSHNIRENKO of Toronto, and was hired by GERRY FORSYTHE the following Monday, winning his first Champ Car race that weekend.

Allmendinger has had personal sponsorship from Red Bull for some time in his open wheel racing.

Details of the TRB contract were not revealed. But, ROBIN MILLER, open wheel pundit, reported Sunday that Allmendinger's current team owner offered three million for a multiyear contract, but couldn't match the NASCAR railroad. Miller reported Tuesday that Forsythe was "disappointed, our team was disappointed and Champ Car fans will be disappointed, but I wished him well." Miller said the financial lure from Red Bull/Toyota was too great for Allmendinger to remain and build on his current Champ Car successes. Allmendinger had been saying he wanted to win the Champ Car Championship.



Related Pictures

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AJ Allmendinger in the Bill Davis Racing Truck [Pic credit: Team Red Bull/LAT Photographic]
Team Red Bull will be one of three teams campaigning the new Toyota Camry in the 2007 Nextel Cup Series.
Champ Car World Series. 18-20 Sept. 2006. Grand Prix of Road America.  Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. Race winner, AJ Allmendinger.
Joey Coulter`s #21 Allegiant Travel Chevrolet is towed off the track under a red flag after an incident during the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Lucas Oil 150 at Phoenix International Raceway on November 7, 2014 in Avondale, Arizona.  (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet SS, who is in the Chase, finished in 2nd place and Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Red Vest Chevrolet SS finished in 1st place Sunday, November 2, 2014 in the Eliminator 8 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas. The Eliminator 8 phase of the Chase continues next week at Phoenix International Speedway in Avondale, Arizona. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe’s Red Vest Chevrolet SS, races to his first place win Sunday, November 2, 2014 at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas. The Eliminator 8 phase of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Chase, which Johnson is not in, continues next week at Phoenix International Speedway in Avondale, Arizona.  (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe’s Red Vest Chevrolet SS, celebrates his victory with a burnout Sunday, November 2, 2014 at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas. The Eliminator 8 phase of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Chase, which Johnson is not in, continues next week at Phoenix International Speedway in Avondale, Arizona. (Photo by Christa L Thomas/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe’s Red Vest Chevrolet SS, celebrates his victory Sunday, November 2, 2014 at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas. The Eliminator 8 phase of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Chase, which Johnson is not in, continues next week at Phoenix International Speedway in Avondale, Arizona. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Red Vest Chevrolet, celebrates with Texas Motor Speedway President Eddie Gossage and AAA VIP Employee Recognition Winner David Tiger with pistols in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on November 2, 2014 in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Red Vest Chevrolet, leads a pack of cars during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on November 2, 2014 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo Credit: Tom Pennington/Getty Images for Texas Motor Speedway)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Red Vest Chevrolet, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on November 2, 2014 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Red Vest Chevrolet, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on November 2, 2014 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Red Vest Chevrolet, takes the chequered flag to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on November 2, 2014 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo Credit: Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Red Vest Chevrolet, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on November 2, 2014 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images for Texas Motor Speedway)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Red Vest Chevrolet, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on November 2, 2014 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images for Texas Motor Speedway)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe’s Red Vest Chevrolet SS qualified for third position Friday, October 31, 2014 for Sunday`s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas. Johnson is shown with his crew chief, Chad Knaus. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
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Timothy Peters, driver of the #17 Red Horse Racing Toyota, poses in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Fred`s 250 Powered by Coca-Cola at Talladega Superspeedway on October 18, 2014 in Talladega, Alabama. (Photo Credit: Mike Ehrmann/NASCAR via Getty Images)

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