A.J. Allmendinger will drive the No. 44 Dodge for Richard Petty Motorsports for the first eight races of 2009 and the Budweiser Shootout.
That means the 27-year-old driver from Los Gatos will be in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Auto Club 500 at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana on Feb. 22, the second race of the Cup season.
“This is pretty awesome news for me,” said Allmendinger who posted two top-10 finishes in 2008 and a victory in the Sprint Showdown. “I just want to get behind the wheel of a race car and race. We have a lot of work to do on the track and need to sell some sponsorship, but this team has great equipment and I think there is a lot of chemistry here based on how we did at the end of last season.”
Allmendinger joins Kasey Kahne, Elliott Sadler and Reed Sorenson in the newly formed Richard Petty Motorsports or RPM, created when the old Gillett Evernham Motorsports team merged with Petty Enterprises.
Allmendinger will be starting his third year in NASCAR Sprint Cup racing. He won five races in the old Champ Car World Series before making the transition to stock cars when he joined Red Bull Racing.