2012 is a year that AJ Allmendinger more than likely hopes to forget and never have to relive. It began with the once in a lifetime opportunity to drive for Penske Racing and ended with a part-time deal after being suspended for violating NASCAR’s substance abuse policy.
After his July suspension, Allmendinger returned to the track in October at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Kurt Busch had left the Phoenix Racing team for Furniture Row Racing and James Finch’s first choice replacement, Regan Smith, was asked to substitute for Dale Earnhardt Jr. at Hendrick Motorsports after suffering a concussion. Finch then called Allmendinger who gladly returned to the track.
While the results don’t show much, the Dinger truly had some good runs until some misfortune took him out of the races and contention.
Now, he has at least four more changes with Phoenix Racing. Beginning at Phoenix International Raceway, Allmendinger has a four race deal with James Finch’s Phoenix Racing.
Any plans for Allmendinger are unknown, but more than likely it is expected that Finch will give him several more opportunities to drive for his team.
Regan Smith will be behind the wheel for at least ten races himself including the Daytona 500. Austin Dillon will drive the car at Las Vegas with sponsorship from Tag Heuer.