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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.
AJ Allmendinger, driver of the #47 Scott Products Chevrolet SS, races to win Sunday, August 10, 2014 in the Nascar Sprint Cup race at Watkins Glen International in Watkins Glen, New York. (Photo by Christa L. Thomas/HHP for Chevy Racing)
AJ Allmendinger, driver of the #47 Scott Products Chevrolet SS, celebrates his first Sprint Cup win Sunday, August 10, 2014 in the Cheez-It 355 race at Watkins Glen International in Watkins Glen, New York. (Photo by Christa L. Thomas/HHP for Chevy Racing)
AJ Allmendinger, driver of the #47 Scott Products Chevrolet SS, celebrates his win Sunday, August 10, 2014 in the Nascar Sprint Cup race at Watkins Glen International in Watkins Glen, New York.  (Photo by Alan Marler/HHP for Chevy Racing)
AJ Allmendinger, driver of the #47 Scott Products Chevrolet SS, celebrates his first Sprint Cup win Sunday, August 10, 2014 in the Cheez-It 355 race at Watkins Glen International in Watkins Glen, New York. (Photo by Christa L. Thomas/HHP for Chevy Racing)
AJ Allmendinger celebrates with the chequered flag at Watkins Glen International on Sunday, August 10 2014. (Photo Credit: Jonathan Ferrey/NASCAR via Getty Images)
AJ Allmendinger celebrates in victory lane at Watkins Glen International on Sunday, August 10 2014. (Photo Credit: Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
AJ Allmendinger and Marcos Ambrose lead the field to a restart at Watkins Glen International on Sunday, August 10 2014. (Photo Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
AJ Allmendinger leads Marcos Ambrose at Watkins Glen International on Sunday, August 10 2014. (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/NASCAR via Getty Images)
AJ Allmendinger celebrates with a burnout after winning at Watkins Glen International on Sunday, August 10 2014. (Photo Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
AJ Allmendinger takes the chequered flag to win at Watkins Glen International on Sunday, August 10 2014. (Photo Credit: Robert Laberge/NASCAR via Getty Images)
AJ Allmendinger celebrates in victory lane at Watkins Glen International on Sunday, August 10 2014. (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images)
AJ Allmendinger celebrates in victory lane at Watkins Glen International on Sunday, August 10 2014. (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images)
AJ Allmendinger, driver of the #47 Kingsford/Clorox Chevrolet SS, qualified second Saturday, June 21, 2014 for Sunday`s Nascar Sprint Cup race at Sonoma Raceway in Sanoma, California. He will be sharing the front row with pole winner, Chevy`s Jamie McMurray, driver of the #1 Cessna Chevrolet SS. Allmendinger is 21st in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo by Christa L. Thomas/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jamie McMurray, driver of the #1 Cessna Chevrolet SS, won the pole position Saturday, June 21, 2014 for Sunday`s Nascar Sprint Cup race at Sonoma Raceway in Sanoma, California. McMurray posted a track record with a time of 74.354 seconds (96.350 mph). Next to him on the front row will be Chevy`s AJ Allmendinger, driver of the #47 Kingsford/Clorox Chevrolet SS. McMurray is 20th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jamie McMurray, driver of the #1 Cessna Chevrolet SS, won the pole position Saturday, June 21, 2014 for Sunday`s Nascar Sprint Cup race at Sonoma Raceway in Sanoma, California. McMurray posted a track record with a time of 74.354 seconds (96.350 mph). Next to him on the front row will be Chevy`s AJ Allmendinger, driver of the #47 Kingsford/Clorox Chevrolet SS. McMurray is 20th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)

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