Richard Petty Motorsports has announced that AJ Allmendinger will remain with the team to drive in the 2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup campaign.
The revelation confirms a major swing in former open-wheel prodigy Allmendinger's season, which began with a commitment for only a handful of races, but continues to expand following a sequence of good results.
“This was an easy decision for Richard Petty Motorsports,” said RPM's chief executive officer Tom Reddin, “AJ has done a superb job, both on and off the track in 2009, and we want to let everyone know that he's going to be a vital part of Richard Petty Motorsports for what we believe will be a long-term, winning relationship.”
The Petty team signed Allmendinger before the start of the 2009 season with plans to run the Bud Shootout and the first eight point races, but the youngster finished fifth in the pre-season Shootout, before posting a third-place finish in the Daytona 500 and a ninth-place finish at Martinsville.
He was the only driver without a guaranteed starting spot to qualify for all of the races in 2009, and ensuing sponsorship from Dodge, Hunt Brothers Pizza, Valvoline, Harrah's, Super 8, the Paralyzed Veterans of America and Charter Communications extended his schedule through to the 12 September race at Richmond. Reddin adds that he is confident the team will secure the sponsorship needed to extend the number of races the 27-year old Californian will run to include the full season.
“I'm thrilled about this,” Allmendinger, who lies 20th in points but only 104 out final Chase position, said, “Racers are no different than anyone else. We like to know we have a job. I'm very thankful to be where I am and I expect we will keep running better and better each weekend. I think I have found a long-term home at Richard Petty Motorsports.”