Allmendinger Not Giving Up

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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - AJ Allmendinger's stressful off-season was forgotten on Sunday when he drove to a third-place finish for Richard Petty Motorsports in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season-opening Daytona 500

Allmendinger found himself with a limited schedule after a winter of wheeling and dealing. But he made the most of his first start in the RPM No. 44 Dodge with a surprising third place run behind race winner Matt Kenseth and Kevin Harvick in Sunday's 51st edition of "The Great American Race."

"It's a great result," Allmendinger said. "I kind of wish we could have been able to finish. I think the car was fast. Would have loved to have had a chance to win the race. To be top three with everything we went through in the off season, hopefully get some more sponsors on the racecar, keep this thing going after race eight."

Allmendinger's effort led a great day for RPM with teammates Elliott Sadler and Reed Sorenson also scoring top ten finishes.

After the moves made in the off-season and the merger between Petty Enterprises and GEM, Sunday's result was even more satisfying - and impressive.

I think it's a big deal," Allmendinger said. "It was a tough off season for everybody. It was a long off season. There's a lot of stuff that went on throughout the team with the merger. We came here, and I think it shows how strong the team is now. Elliott and Reed were a big factor of why I got into this race. That was a lot of teamwork that was involved to get that to happen."

So now Allmendinger will go to Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California for next Sunday's Auto Club 500, the second of his eight race schedule.

As the team looks for more sponsorship and an opportunity to keep the No. 44 on track more during the 2009 season, Allmendinger knows his job is to stay focused and provide results behind the wheel.

"For me, it ultimately comes down to two decisions," he explained. "You can quit or work harder and make something happen. I'm never going to quit. I'm going to keep working harder. That's my attitude."

"I know if I can go out there and do everything that I can on and off the racetrack, I can go home, and whether I have a ride, run well, don't run well, and just go home and feel good about myself and not second guess anything. That's all you can control."

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