Allmendinger lands No. 22 Cup ride for Penske Racing in 2012

Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR
Allmendinger replaces Kurt Busch, who split with Penske earlier this month

MOORESVILLE, N.C. (December 21, 2011) - Penske Racing has named AJ Allmendinger as the driver of the team's No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Dodge Charger for the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.

Allmendinger, who has competed in the Cup Series since 2007, is coming off a strong season that saw him finish 15th in the series standings while battling for a position in the Chase for the Championship. The 30-year-old native of Los Gatos, Calif., earned one top-five, 10 top-10 and 22 top-15 results in 2011 while driving the No. 43 car for Richard Petty Motorsports.

"I am really excited about the opportunity to join Penske Racing and drive the No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Dodge in 2012," said Allmendinger. "I have always admired Roger Penske and the way his teams compete and win in every series where they race. It is a privilege for me to represent such iconic and respected brands as Shell and Pennzoil, AAA and Dodge. I am honored to join Penske Racing and I will do my very best to continue to build on the standard of excellence established across the organization."

Allmendinger replaces Kurt Busch, who left Penske Racing on Dec. 6 in a "mutual agreement."

Allmendinger will join a winning team that's poised to compete for a position in the 2012 Cup Series Chase. The No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Dodge team produced two wins, three poles and 16 top-10 finishes in 2011 as it earned a spot in the Chase and finished 11th in the series standings. Allmendinger will be paired with crew chief Todd Gordon, who led the Penske Racing No. 22 Nationwide Series team to six victories last season and was named last week as the new chief of the Shell-Pennzoil Dodge.

"AJ is a very talented and motivated driver and we believe he will be a terrific fit with our team," said Roger Penske. "He has shown great promise and consistent results on the track over the last few seasons and working with Todd and the Shell-Pennzoil Dodge team will allow him to take the next step and compete for race wins and a spot in the Chase in 2012."

"Shell and Pennzoil are extremely pleased by Penske Racing's selection of AJ Allmendinger to drive the No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Dodge," said Lisa Davis, President of Shell Oil Products U.S. "AJ has consistently demonstrated great potential and continuous improvement as a driver, and with Penske's track record, our employees and customers can look forward to seeing him contending for wins and ultimately a championship in the NASCAR Cup Series. We know he will represent our brands well on and off the track and we look forward to a successful 2012 with AJ behind the wheel."

Allmendinger honed his skills in the open-wheel racing ranks. After winning the Barber Dodge Pro Series title in 2002 and the Toyota Atlantic Championship in 2003, he earned Rookie of the Year honors in the Champ Car World Series in 2004. He posted five wins and finished third in the 2005 Champ Car World Series before making the switch to NASCAR. He first competed in the Cup Series in 2007 and he's earned 26 top-10 finishes in less than five Cup Series seasons. Allmendinger has finished inside the top 20 in points in each of the last two seasons.
Allmendinger lands No. 22 Cup ride for Penske Racing in 2012 Allmendinger lands No. 22 Cup ride for Penske Racing in 2012 Reviewed by Admin on Wednesday, December 21, 2011 Rating: 5