|Birthdate:||December 16, 1981|
|Hometown:||Los Gatos, Calif.|
|First Cup Start:||March 25, 2007 (Bristol)|
|Career Cup Wins:||1|
|Career Cup Poles:||4|
|Career Best Cup Championship Finish:||13th – 2014|
AJ Allmendinger took the step up to the Champ Car World Series in 2004, with the same RuSPORT team with which he won the 2003 Toyota Atlantic Championship.
In his first season on the circuit, he finished five of the season’s last six races in the top six, capped by a third place run in the season finale. He earned the Roshfrans Rookie-of-the-Year award by a 41-point margin, becoming the first American-born driver to claim the honor since 1991.
In 2005, he finished fifth in the championship standings on the strength of six top-fives and nine top-10s.
The following year was a breakout campaign for Allmendinger, but the young American driver had to endure quite a bit of adversity before making his mark.
After the first four races of the 2006 Champ Car season, the Los Gatos, Calif. native was released by RuSPORT. Just a few days later, he signed with Forsythe Championship Racing. With his new team, he recorded three consecutive victories and finished the year with five victories overall. Also that season, Allmendinger got to taste NASCAR Camping World Truck Series action – racing three times with Bill Davis Racing, scoring a best finish of fifth in the John Deere 250 at Talladega Superspeedway.
Both his open wheel and Truck Series results led the newly established Red Bull Racing team to offer him a NASCAR Cup Series ride for the 2007 campaign, where he teamed up with Red Bull driver, Brian Vickers.
In his first season driving in the Cup Series, Allmendinger finished 44th, driving 17 of the 36 races. He led one lap during the season and earned $1,263,263.
2007 was also Allmendinger’s debut season in the Nationwide Series, where he drove in seven of the 35 Nationwide events, gaining a 59th-place finish in final standings. Perhaps Allmendinger’s 2007 truck campaign was a bit more successful than his Nationwide run as he finished 34th (career best to-date) in final points and gained one top-five and two top-10 finishes, completing his run for the season at New Hampshire on September 15.
In 2008, Allmendinger qualified for 27 Cup races and scored his first top-10 finish of his career (10th at Indianapolis). But his time with Red Bull came to an end before the season was over and Allmendinger bounced around to Michael Waltrip Racing and Gillett Evernham Motorsports as the season ended. With GEM’s merger with Richard Petty, Allmendinger was given a chance to drive the No. 44 Dodge to start the season.
In 2009, Allmendinger scored a 24th-place finish in the standings. He finished in third at the Daytona 500 for a great start to the year, but did not have another top five all year collecting six top 10s. Allmendinger was also able to qualify for every race that year, the first time ever in his career.
His 2010 season didn’t start out as well as the year before, with a 32nd-place finish in the Daytona 500 followed by two 25th-place finishes. But he grabbed the first of eight top 10s of the season with a sixth-place finish in the fourth race of the season at Atlanta.
With two top fives during the season, including a fifth-place finish in the finale, Allmendinger enjoyed his best season to date. He finished 19th in the final standings.
In 2011, Allmendinger fell just three spots short of qualifying for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. He assembled a run of four top-10 finishes over the final eight races – ending the year 15th in points, his career high.
“Dinger’s” best 2011 finish in 36 starts was fifth in May at Charlotte Motor Speedway after starting that race on the front row alongside pole-sitter Brad Keselowski.
For 2012, Allmendinger moved to Penske Racing to drive the No. 22 Dodge. The first half of his season included a pole at Kansas Speedway, where he finished 32nd in the April 22 STP 400.
Allmendinger was suspended in July for violating NASCAR’s substance abuse policy and was subsequently released from Penske Racing. He missed 13 races, returning to competition Oct. 13 with Phoenix Racing – where he made four starts with a best finish of 24th at Charlotte.
In 2013, Allmendinger split time between Phoenix Racing and JTG/Daugherty Racing. In 18 starts, he had a best finish of 10th at Watkins Glen International.
“Dinger” also made two starts for Penske Racing in the Nationwide Series and won them both, at Road America and the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.
Allmendinger went full-time with JTG/Daugherty Racing in 2014 and notched his first career Cup Series win – at Watkin Glen International. It earned him a spot in the post-season Chase as the No. 13 seed in the 16-driver field.
Allmendinger was eliminated from title contention in the first round and finished a career-best 13th in points, totaling five top 10s in his 36 starts.
He failed to qualify for the post-season in 2015, going winless in 36 starts and finishing 22nd in the final standings.
Allmendinger was only slightly better in 2016, ending the year 19th in points. His best finish was second (to Kyle Busch) in the spring race at Martinsville Speedway. Allmendinger missed a Chase berth by 93 points.
Allmendinger opened the 2017 season with a third-place finish in the Daytona 500. The finish was his best of the season and first of five top fives that year where he finished 27th in the standings.