Grading 2014's New Driver/ Team Pairings Part 8

Adversity builds character; just ask Anthony James Allmendinger, he’s made a career out of overcoming insurmountable obstacles. From his days of struggling at Red Bull Racing to building a team on the cusp of making the chase with RPM, that eventually lead to his abrupt dismissal from Penske Racing in the summer of 2012. NASCAR subsequently suspended Allmendinger from active competition in July of 2012 after testing positive for a banned stimulant; later to be revealed as Adderall. Allmendinger voluntarily entered NASCAR’s road to recovery program in an attempt to reconcile his once blossoming stock car career.

Since NASCAR reinstated Allmendinger in September 2012 he’s worked diligently at gaining the trust of his peers. Allmendinger’s forward progress since his suspension seemingly was enough to influence Roger Penske to rehire AJ to drive for him in the NNS this past season. Allmendinger made the best of his golden opportunity with Penske Racing by winning both NNS races, he entered.

AJ’s marvellous turnaround would earn him a part time ride with current employer JTG Daugherty Racing towards the end of the 2013 season.

Now AJ Allmendinger has a new lease on life with JTG Daugherty Racing. Allmendinger replaces 2000 NSCS champion Bobby Labonte for a full season at JTG Daugherty Racing with the hopes of not only reviving his NSCS career, but improving the overall performance of the organization. Changing the culture at JTG Daugherty indeed poses a tall task for a driver looking to once again find his footing among the ranks of NASCAR’s elite. JTG Daugherty is also doing their part to revive the dinger’s career by forming a brand new technical alliance with RCR for the upcoming 2014 season. Switching from Toyota’s to Chevrolets could be a step in the right direction for an organization that hasn’t scored a top 5 finish since the 2011 Daytona 500.

On the surface this looks like an ideal situation for AJ Allmendinger to rebuild his NSCS career and form an identity. However Allmendinger could face numerous obstacles along the way, since JTG Daugherty is a single car operation that’s never really tasted a great deal of success in NSCS competition. Should frustration set in from lack of performance expect Anthony James to quickly opt out of his 3 year contract with JTG Daugherty Racing, and look for greener pastures.

On the flip side Allmendinger is 31 years old, and with a flux of younger talent bursting onto the NSCS scene JTG Daugherty Racing maybe his best option to keep his NSCS dreams alive. In this case two negatives can certainly create a positive outcome if both parties completely trust one another.

Final grade- C+

Photo courtesy of zimbio.comAJ+Allmendinger+Michigan+International+Speedway+meQu43ZYIH_x

Tags: AJ Allmendinger

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