A Star In Allmendinger Family

AJ Allmendinger's third-place finish in this year's Daytona 500 made the 27-year-old Californian even more popular among race fans. But the NASCAR Sprint Cup driver might not be the biggest star in his household.

AJ and his wife Lynne Allmendinger's Labrador Retriever Misty enjoyed a starring role in the movie "Marley and Me." The one-year-old dog is also featured in this month's edition of Pawsmopolitan – a pet magazine headquartered in Daytona Beach Fla.

"I'm a race car driver, Lynne is a licensed chiropractor but I think we're going to be known simply as Misty's parents," quipped AJ who drives the No. 44 Dodge for Richard Petty Motorsports and is looking for sponsorship for the final portions of the 2009 season.

Misty's movie career came out of the blue. In March 2008, Angie Skinner, wife of NASCAR Truck Series driver Mike Skinner, helped the Allmendingers select Misty from a litter of five-week-old puppies. Skinner videotaped all the puppies putting their faces up to the camera to help during the selection process.

After selecting a particularly feisty female puppy the story grew even more interesting.

Hollywood called and wanted yellow lab puppies for an upcoming movie that was eventually named "Marley and Me." Misty starred in the scene where puppy Marley runs head first into a glass door and in another scene from the movie she knocks over a dog food bowl and eats the food off the floor.

Misty is now a 70-pound dog who travels from track to track on the NASCAR circuit with the Allmendinger's.

"She loves the travel," said Lynne. "She goes with us everywhere. We're driving to all the tracks eight hours or less just so she can come with us, old-school style. She has other friends in the driver motor home lot and they love to run around and play. Sometimes they get into trouble and have to be scolded but she just likes to have fun. She is a sweet dog and AJ and I love having her around."

The Allmendinger's are often asked if Misty brings home movie star money for her work.

"No we don't get any money," he laughed. "We just get Misty and that's enough for us."

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