AJ Allmendinger will make his full return to NASCAR after signing with JTG Daugherty Racing, according to several reports.
The team has an announcement set for Saturday, where it will likely announce that Allmendinger will take Bobby Labonte’s place in the No. 47 car next season.
The decision would mark Allmendinger’s return to full-time Sprint Cup racing after he was suspended in July 2012 for a positive drug test, reports Sporting News.
The suspension for violating NASCAR’s substance abuse policy resulted in the 31-year-old losing his ride with Penske Racing. However, Roger Penske hired him back for the 2013 season to run a mix of IndyCar and Nationwide events.
He finished in seventh during the Indianapolis 500 and won the Nationwide races both at Mid-Ohio and Road America. Allmendinger also drove the No. 47 car in three races this year and will drive for the team in Atlanta this weekend.
USA Today notes that AJ Allmendinger has also spent time in Phoenix Racing’s No. 51 car. According to reports, Allmendinger’s contract with JTG is for multiple years.
Bobby Labonte, a veteran NASCAR driver, had the ride for two years and most of this one. However, he will miss this week at least after fracturing three ribs in a motorcycle accident.
Allmendinger’s failed drug test happened at Kentucky Speedway. He was suspended the next week at Daytona when the results came in. While he initially disputed the test, he later admitted to taking an Adderall pill from a friend.
The organization reinstate Allmendinger in September, but he hasn’t had a full season yet. JTG Daugherty is owned by Tad Geschickter, his wife Jodi, and former NBA player Brad Daugherty. It is currently in 30th in owner standings and is in its fifth year of full-time Cup competition.
Meanwhile, Allmendinger is a former open-wheel driver and has five top-five finishes in 185 Cup starts. He has yet to win a race at NASCAR’s top level. AJ Allmendinger’s move to JTG leaves Bobby Labonte without a ride for next season.
[Image by Pam J. via Wikimedia Commons]