SPARTANBURG, S.C.- He’s back. A.J. Allmendinger is returning to Phoenix Racing to compete in the Subway Fresh Fit 500k at Phoenix Int’l Raceway. He’ll be piloting the No. 51 Guy Roofing Chevrolet in his fifth Sprint Cup Series start with team.
Allmendinger is no stranger to the “Desert Jewel.” He has eight previous Cup Series starts at the one-mile oval and has driven to four top-15s and two top-10s. He has started on the front row three times, including one pole, which he captured in 2010.
Phoenix Racing has made 16 Cup Series starts at Phoenix. Their best finish came in 2005, with Johnny Sauter taking the checkered flag in ninth place.
“This will be good. It’s been a few months since I’ve been in a stock car. I haven’t been in one of the Gen 6 cars yet, so I think it will take a little time to get acclimated to it. Phoenix Int’l Raceway is a great place for me to get back behind the wheel. I’ve always enjoyed the race track. It will definitely feel different, but I’ll be ready to go.
“It definitely helps to go to a track that I enjoy already. It’s a tough race track, especially with the repave. It starts off so slick when we make our first few laps, then it gains grip. It picks up a ton of grip pretty quickly, then it goes back to being slick for the race. It’s definitely a challenging race track. I know the guys will have a good race car ready for the weekend. I was really impressed with their run last week at Daytona. It showed that they’re putting together solid equipment and have a good feel for the new car. I think for the first 30 to 45 minutes I’ll have to ease into it and get used to the new car, but after that, I’ll be up to speed and ready to go.”
Allmendinger, who was suspended by NASCAR last year after failing a random drug test, returned later in the season after completing NASCAR’s Road To Recovery program.
He made a handful of starts near the end of 2012 season for Phoenix Racing and is expected to drive the No. 51 Chevrolet in other races this year.
Allmendinger also recently got back behind the wheel of an IndyCar, testing an entry owned by Roger Penske at Sebring Int’l Raceway. He could race for Penske later this year at Barber Motorsports Park and Indianapolis Motor Speedway if sponsorship is found.