Sunday, August 10, 2014

AJ Allmendinger: Man vs. Nature, The Road To Victory

Just like when they switched to radial tires!

Today AJ Allmendinger completed one of the most-impressive comebacks in Nascar history--little more than two years ago he was suspended for a drug violation, and now he's come back to win a Sprint Cup Series race.  How'd he do it?  Here's a look back:

July 2012: AJ Allmendinger is suspended for a positive drug test hours before the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona.  The team frantically searches for an available driver, but when none is found, Sam Hornish Jr. is put in the car.

August 2012: Allmendinger is released from Penske Racing.  Those at Penske have nothing but good things to say about him, most-likely because he was being compared to Kurt Busch.

September 2012: Allmendinger completes Nascar's "Road to Recovery" reinstatement process, causing Jeremy Mayfield's head to explode.

October 2012: Allmendinger returns to racing with Phoenix Racing.  Those at Phoenix Racing have nothing but good things to say about him, most-likely because he was being compared to Kurt Busch.

February 2013: Allmendinger signs to drive a limited Cup schedule with Phoenix Racing, which at that point was on the verge of shutting down due to lack of sponsorship for the 349th time.

March 2013: Allmendinger signs to drive a very limited Nationwide Series and IndyCar Series schedule with Penske Racing.  Somehow, this leads to CART/IRL debates on message boards.
"Look Bobby, you can scowl all you
want, but we're not going to let you
in the car!"

June 2013: Allmendinger runs his first race for JTG-Daugherty Racing as a "test driver", which is slang for "Bobby, we really don't want to have to fire you, so just leave, ok?"

August 2013: Allmendinger scores his second win in the Nationwide Series, at Mid-Ohio despite skipping the previous race at Lo-Ohio and not entering the following race at Hi-Ohio.

September 2013: Allmendinger signs to drive the #47 car full-time in 2014 after being assured that the team would switch alliances to avoid any unnecessary social contact with Michael Waltrip.

March 2014: Allmendinger notches his first top-10 with JTG-D, finishing 8th at California in a race marred by Kyle Busch's victory.

June 2014: Allmendinger is in early contention for a win at Sonoma, but is wrecked by Dale Earnhardt Jr.  Allmendinger is angry with Junior post-race, but avoids a physical confrontation due to fears of whisker burns.

August 2014: Allmendinger wins his first Cup race, also the first Cup win for JTG-D racing, showing what a marketing-driven team can do when Armando Fitz isn't their owner.