JTG Daugherty Racing said Saturday that A.J. Allmendinger would drive its No. 47 car full time in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series next year.
The contract is the latest step in Allmendinger’s rebound from a year ago, when he was suspended by NASCAR for nearly two months after failing a drug test. He also lost his ride as driver of Penske Racing’s No. 22 car, now driven by Joey Logano.
Allmendinger, a 31-year-old native of Los Gatos, Calif., already had driven in three Cup races this year for JTG Daugherty, the most recent being Aug. 11 at Watkins Glen, N.Y.
He finished 10th in that race, the team’s best result so far this season. Allmendinger is driving the car again Sunday at Atlanta Motor Speedway, and he qualified to start 13th in the 43-car field.
“I have worked hard and feel fortunate about every opportunity this season and I am very grateful,” Allmendinger said in a statement. “To have the opportunity to come back full-time with everything that happened, I know how very lucky I am.”
JTG Daugherty’s main driver this season had been former series champion Bobby Labonte. “We are very thankful to Bobby,” team co-owner Brad Daugherty said. “He did such a great job establishing baselines for our company and we are glad we were able to extend his racing streak as long as we did.”
Labonte, 49, suffered three broken ribs this week in a cycling accident near his North Carolina home. He had been scheduled to drive a different car in Sunday night’s race in Atlanta but will now miss the event.