Richard Petty Motorsports has confirmed that AJ Allmendinger has inked a deal with the team for the 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup season, with the team retaining an option on the former open-wheel racer for the 2010 campaign.

Allmendinger will drive the #44 Dodge in the Budweiser Shootout and the opening eight rounds of the season, as well as the Daytona race in July. The team will also look together a sponsorship package for the remaining races in 2009 as well as the 2010 season.

"This is pretty awesome news for me," Allmendinger said. "I just want to get behind the wheel of a race car and race. We have a lot of work to do on the track and need to sell some sponsorship, but this team has great equipment and I think there is a lot of chemistry here based on how we did at the end of last season.

"I cannot put into words how excited I am to run the #44 in 2009. I raced with these guys five times last year and loved everything about it. The cars were great, the guys were great and we put up some pretty good results. I'm just very grateful to have this opportunity."

Allmendinger will join Kasey Kahne, Elliott Sadler and Reed Sorenson in the RPM line-up and team owner Richard Petty said he was pleased to ink a deal to sign the 27-year-old.

"AJ has a ton of potential," he said. "I went testing with him a few weeks ago. When he climbed out of the car I think he went to everyone working on the car asking them questions and wanting to know what was going on. That's the kind of thing you want out of your driver.

"He's a young guy and I think we can help him and he can help us."