Guest Author - Debbie Lester
One of the up and coming stars of NASCAR is driver of the #44 Dodge, AJ Allmendinger. With a lot of piazzz and a little bit of luck, Allmendinger is well on his way in the Sprint Cup series. His potential has not gone over looked by the new Petty organization. Allmendinger stands to win a lot of races and a lot of fans.
Born in Los Gatos, California in 1981, Allmendinger is no stranger to the track. Almost from birth AJ has been around racing. His dad raced midgets and sprint cars, and gave AJ a love for speed and anything that would go fast. AJ started out racing the BMX circuit on his bike at the age of 5. He was destined to be a champion even from a young age. He quickly made it to the top of every BMX division he entered.
At the ripe old age of 8, Allmendinger decided he needed a change, so he began racing quarter midgets and karts all over the West Coast. He was sponsored by his mom and dad, it was a family affair. He traveled the United States winning championship after championship, and had many victories to be proud of by the time he was a teenager.
In 2001 he began racing open-wheel with the same great success he had seen in every other type of racing he had tried. He won the Formula Dodge National Championship that year and earned himself a spot in the Barber Dodge Pro Series. He continued to wrack up wins and took home the BDPS Rookie of the Year title in 2002. In 2003 Allmendinger shattered records in the Toyota Atlantic Series and took home yet another championship. In 2004 & 2005 Allmendinger raced in the Champ Car World series and continued his winning ways, with several top 5 finishes, rookie of the year honors and a second place finish in the championship.
In 2006 rumors began to fly around Allmendinger suggesting that he might be ready to take a stab at the world of NASCAR. He pulled a three-race stint in the Truck Series and earned the attention of the Red Bull team. He began driving the No. 84 Red Bull car in 2007. After two years with the Red Bull organization he joined Richard Petty Motorsports to driver the No. 10 for the final 5 races of the 2008 Sprint Cup Series. Again his performances were impressive.
Allmendinger’s track record is daunting, his charisma and charm are unprecedented. He has the potential to turn NASCAR on his head with the right team and the right stuff under the hood. He knows how to win and it seems like it will only be a matter of time before this veteran racer becomes one of the stars of NASCAR.
He currently lives with his wife Lynne in North Carolina and spends his free time with bowling, mini golf and of course video games. He says his favorite drivers are Jeff Gordon and Mario Andretti and believes his passion for racing will one day pay off.
Allmendinger is definitely a driver to keep your eye on in 2009. When he hits his stride with NASCAR it will likely be something to watch. He is used to the limelight and knows how to race.