AJ Allmendinger will be back in a full-time ride in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series for the first time since his failed drugs test in the middle of 2012 saw him lose his seat at Penske Racing.

JTG Daugherty Racing confirmed on Saturday at Atlanta Motor Speedway that they had signed Allmendinger to race for them in the #47 car, a seat which until earlier this year had gone to former Cup champion Bobby Labonte for the last two and a half seasons.

Allmendinger first took over the seat for an outing at Kansas Speedway at the end of June and has completed three outings with the team in total this year, including the squad's best finish of the season when he came home tenth at Watkins Glen.

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"For me, it is an amazing opportunity," Allmendinger said. "I looked at this year as a new beginning for me. I have worked hard and feel fortunate about every opportunity this season and I am very grateful.

"This is the start of something full-time and I look forward to the next full blown chapter of my career with JTG Daugherty Racing," he added, thanking owners Brad Daugherty and Jodi and Tad Geschickter. "I have come to know Tad, Jodi and Brad and their values with the way they treat people. It is not just at the track, but away from the track.

"It is small and a fun atmosphere whether it is inside the hauler or goofing around after hours playing golf," Allmendinger continued. "It is the type of atmosphere and chemistry you need in this sport. I look forward to contributing to help build this team into something stronger and working with some of the best sponsors in this sport.

"It feels great that we chose each other," he said. "There are many reasons why I feel good about it. To have the opportunity to come back full-time with everything that happened, I know how very lucky I am."

"We are pleased to have an opportunity to work with AJ going forward," said team co-owner Brad Daugherty. "We think he is up and coming with so much potential in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. We have a great opportunity to get to victory lane. AJ's hungry to compete to win. We are looking forward to the next chapter of our program and he is a big part of it."

Since being fired from Penske for the failed drugs test, Allmendinger successfully completed NASCAR's Road to Recovery program and was able to resume competition at the end of 2012 and into 2013 with several appearances in the Phoenix Racing #51 car.

Allmendinger was also supported by his former team boss Roger Penske, who stood by the driver and offered him the opportunity to return to open wheel racing for several outings in the IZOD IndyCar Series including this year's Indianapolis 500 race in which he finished in seventh place in his first run in the iconic event.

However today's news confirms that Allmendinger has decided that his heart still lies in making a successful career in stock car racing, and the deal with JTG Daugherty Racing allows that to become a reality.

Team co-owner Brad Daugherty added his thanks to Allmendinger's predecessor in the car, Bobby Labonte, for all the work he'd done with the team over the last three years.

"We are very thankful to Bobby," said Daugherty. "He did such a great job establishing baselines for our company and we are glad we were able to extend his racing streak as long as we did.

"He is a champion of our sport and has won 21 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races. He has a Hall of Fame career and we are very thankful to him and want to work with him in the future with our company. We will try to provide him with best resources to get him to victory lane this season."

Labonte is missing this weekend's Cup race in Atlanta because a cycling accident has left him at home nursing three broken ribs. With Allmendinger in the JTG Daugherty Racing #4 this weekend, Labonte had been due to race the #51 Phoenix Racing car and his spot will now be taken by Mike Bliss.