At Atlanta Motor Speedway on Saturday, JTG Daugherty officially named A.J. Allmendinger as driver of its No. 47 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series entry for 2014. In the second half of the 2013 season, Allmendinger has been sharing the seat with Bobby Labonte.
“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. It has been nice to have the chance to really get to know the JTG Daugherty Racing team and the owners Brad (Daugherty), Jodi and Tad (Geschickter). 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.”
Labonte has been with the team since 2010. From that time until about halfway through the 2013 season, Labonte was the full-time driver of the No. 47.
“We are very thankful to Bobby,” Brad Daugherty said. “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.”
What is unknown in regards the No. 47, though, is the manufacturer. The car is currently a Toyota, and according Daughterty, it will remain a Toyota, at least through the end of the 2013 season. The manufacturer beyond that, though, is undecided.
Allmendinger has already driven the No. 47 in three races, so far, this year. During that time, he gave the team its best finish of the season — 10th at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International on Aug. 11. Allmendinger will be behind the wheel of the No. 47 for Sunday’s race at Atlanta Motor Speedway and his original schedule has him in the car for two additional races at Kansas Speedway on Oct. 6 and the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Nov. 17.
It is unknown whether or not more races will be added for Allmendinger in the No. 47 for the remainder of this year, given Labonte’s recent injury. Labonte was scheduled to drive the No. 51 for Phoenix Racing at Atlanta, but three broken ribs suffered in a bicycle wreck on Wednesday has kept him away from the track this weekend. When Labonte is able to return, though, JTG Daugherty Racing still plans to have him in its car throughout the remainder of the year.
“We will try to privide him (Labonte) with the best resources to get him to victory lane this season,” Daugherty said.
Allmendinger has beend racing part-time in both the NASCAR Sprint Cup and Nationwide series this season, as well as running five IZOD IndyCar races, including the Indianapolis 500 in May. In the Sprint Cup Series, he has driven the No. 47 and the No. 51 for Phoenix Racing. In the Nationwide Series, Allmendinger made two starts in Penske Racing’s No. 22 Ford at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wis., and Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington earlier this year, winning both times. He has also driven for Penske in IndyCar and posted a top-10 finish in the Indy 500. His last full-time Sprint Cup ride was with Penske Racing in 2012. He lost that ride about midway through the season after a failed drug test.
– Photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR