Allmendinger signs contract through 2010 - East Valley Tribune: Sports

Allmendinger signs contract through 2010

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Posted: Friday, April 17, 2009 1:45 pm | Updated: 12:35 am, Sat Oct 8, 2011.

AJ Allmendinger has a guaranteed ride with Richard Petty Motorsports next season. It's this year that's still in limbo.

Richard Petty Motorsports on Friday said Allmendinger will drive for the team in 2010 but does not have a car number or sponsor details finalized.

"I'm thrilled about this," Allmendinger said. "Racers are no different than anyone else. We like to know we have a job. I'm very thankful to be where I am, and I expect we will keep running better and better each weekend.

"I think I have found a long-term home at Richard Petty Motorsports."

The agreement does not guarantee anything for this season, which Allmendinger has been piecing together with various sponsors.

Allmendinger's original deal to race the No. 44 Dodge for RPM for the first eight events has twice been extended, and he's now guaranteed a seat until September. The final 10 races are so far unfunded.

But that didn't stop RPM officials from promising Allmendinger a full 2010 season.

"This was an easy decision for Richard Petty Motorsports," said Tom Reddin, chief executive officer. "AJ has done a superb job, both on and off the track in 2009. We want to let everyone know that he's going to be a vital part of Richard Petty Motorsports for what we believe will be a long-term, winning relationship."

Allmendinger, a former Champ Car star, has shown steady improvement since joining Gillett-Evernham Motorsports for the final five races of last season. The team kept him on after its January merger with Petty Enterprises, fielding a fourth car specifically for Allmendinger.

RPM promised nothing more than the first eight races of the year, but Allmendinger's third-place finish in the season-opening Daytona 500 brought attention to his plight. Sponsors have slowly trickled in to push his deal to 26 races.

Reddin said he's confident the team will get enough money to allow Allmendinger to run the entire schedule this year. He's currently 20th in the points, but only 104 points out of the 12th and final qualifying position for the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship.

He's also RPM's second-highest rated driver, behind Kasey Kahne, who is 10th in the standings. Elliott Sadler is 25th, and Reed Sorenson is 30th.

RPM hopes to field four full-time cars next season. Kahne and Sadler have contracts that run through 2010. Sorenson is in a one-year deal in the No. 43 Dodge that expires at the end of the season.

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