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Concussed Earnhardt out, Allmendinger back

Smith has been driving the #78 Furniture Row Racing car this season, but was recently told that he had lost the ride for 2013 and would be replaced by Kurt Busch starting at this weekend's race in Charlotte.

It had previously been announced that Smith would effectively swap seats with Busch and take over the driving duties of the #51 Phoenix Racing car, but the news of Earnhardt's concussion has changed those plans and left James Finch's small team needing an experienced Cup driver at very short notice.

They've plugged the gap by turning to AJ Allmendinger, the driver who was suspended from NASCAR competition over the summer after failing a random drugs test, but who was confirmed last month as being eligible to drive once again after successfully completing the series' "Road to Recovery" rehabilitation program.

Allmendinger was first from his previous team, Penske Racing, after the drugs test result was confirmed. Coincidentally, he had been in the team's #22 car previously driven by Kurt Busch before he and the team fell out at the end of the 2011 season, making this the second time that Allmendinger will have followed Busch into the same race seat in under 12 months.

There had been speculation that Busch himself might not be able to compete this weekend at Kansas, after a bizarre incident early in the race at Talledega where he drove away from track safety officials with an EMT kit still on the top of his car, apparently ignoring instructions from race control.

However, NASCAR were satisfied that being excluded from the race was sufficient penalty and accepted his explanation that he had removed his helmet when talking to the track workers and was unable to hear orders from the tower or his pit wall, and that therefore he would not be given an additional race ban penalty.




Related Pictures

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Kurt Busch, driver of the #51 Phoenix Construction Chevrolet, talks to the media after an incident during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Good Sam Roadside Assistance 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on October 7, 2012 in Talladega, Alabama. (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Tony Stewart, driver of the #14 Mobil 1/Office Depot Chevrolet, flips in the air after and incident with the field in the final lap of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Good Sam Roadside Assistance 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on October 7, 2012 in Talladega, Alabama. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Diet Mountain Dew/National Guard Chevrolet, stands by his car during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond International Raceway on September 7, 2012 in Richmond, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Rainier Ehrhardt/Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 Interstate Batteries Toyota, and Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 National Guard Chevrolet, lead a group of cars during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway on July 6, 2014 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Brendan Gaughan, driver of the #62 South Point Chevrolet, leads Sam Hornish, Jr., driver of the #54 Monster Energy Toyota, through a turn during the Gardner Denver 200 Fired Up by Johnsonville race at Road America on June 21, 2014 in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. (Photo Credit: Jonathan Daniel/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)
Darrell Wallace Jr., driver of the Toyota Toyota, celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Drivin` For Linemen 200 at Gateway Motorsports Park on June 14, 2014 in Madison, Illinois.  (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Darrell Wallace Jr., driver of the Toyota Toyota, celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Drivin` For Linemen 200 at Gateway Motorsports Park on June 14, 2014 in Madison, Illinois.  (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Darrell Wallace Jr., driver of the Toyota Toyota, celebrates with a burn out after winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Drivin` For Linemen 200 at Gateway Motorsports Park on June 14, 2014 in Madison, Illinois. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Darrell Wallace Jr., driver of the #54 Toyota Toyota leads the pack during the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Drivin` for Linemen 200 at Gateway Motorsports Park on June 14, 2014 in Madison, Illinois.  (Photo Credit: Dilip Vishwanat/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Paul Menard, driver of the #33 Nibco/Menards Chevrolet, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series Ollie`s Bargain Outlet 250 at Michigan International Speedway on June 14, 2014 in Brooklyn, Michigan. (Photo Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 National Guard Chevrolet, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pocono 400 at Pocono Raceway on June 8, 2014 in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. (Photo Credit: NASCAR Via Getty Images)
Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 National Guard Chevrolet, celebrates with the chequered flag after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pocono 400 at Pocono Raceway on June 8, 2014 in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. (Photo Credit: NASCAR Via Getty Images)
Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 National Guard Chevrolet, crosses the finish line to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pocono 400 at Pocono Raceway on June 8, 2014 in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. (Photo Credit: NASCAR Via Getty Images)
Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 National Guard Chevrolet, leads a pack of cars during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pocono 400 at Pocono Raceway on June 8, 2014 in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. (Photo Credit: NASCAR Via Getty Images)
Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the #88 National Guard Chevrolet SS, qualified eighth Friday, June 6, 2014 for Sunday`s Nascar Sprint Cup race at Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. Earnhardt, Jr. is fifth in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo by Alan Marler/HHP for Chevy Racing)

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