Allmendinger returns to No. 51 seat


Phoenix Racing announced on Tuesday that A.J. Allmendinger will be behind the wheel of the No. 51 Chevrolet for the team in Sunday’s Subway Fresh Fit 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Phoenix International Raceway.

“This will be good,” Allmendinger said. “It’s been a few months since I’ve been in a stock car. I haven’t been in one of the Gen-6 cars yet, so I think it will take a little time to get acclimated to it. Phoenix International Raceway is a great place for me to get back behind the wheel. I’ve always enjoyed the race track. It will definitely feel different, but I’ll be ready to go.”

Allmendinger made four Sprint Cup starts from behind the wheel of the No. 51 at the end of the 2012 season after being reinstated by NASCAR. Before that, he drove the No. 22 Dodge for Penske Racing before he was indefinitely suspended by NASCAR just prior to the July race at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway for violating the sanctioning body’s substance abuse policy.

PIR is one of Allmendinger’s favorite tracks on the Sprint Cup circuit. In eight series starts there, he has four top-15 finishes, two of those being top-10s.

“It definitely helps to go to a track that I enjoy already,” Allmendinger said. “It’s a tough race track, especially with the repave. It starts off so slick when we make our first few laps, then it gains grip. It picks up a ton of grip pretty quickly, then it goes back to being slick for the race. It’s definitely a challenging race track.”

– Photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR

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