NASCAR clears path for Allmendinger

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AJ Allmendinger  FILE/ASSOCIATED PRESS
FILE/ASSOCIATED PRESS
AJ Allmendinger

Finding new work might not be that difficult for AJ Allmendinger, who was reinstated Tuesday after being suspended July 24 for failing a drug test.

The sport is driven by corporate sponsorships, but many– including Roger Penske, the owner of his last team – have expressed support for a possible return.

“This is a speed bump in his career, but he’s certainly an option for people on the NASCAR side and the Indy side,” Penske said last week from the Indy Racing League season finale at Fontana, Calif. “He did a great job when you think about what he did in Champ Car.”

The Indy Car season is over, and the Sprint Cup series season is down to the final nine races.

Allmendinger said he is eager to move forward – on and off the track – after going through a rehab program.

“I want to thank everyone for their support through this entire process,” Allmen­dinger said in a statement.

“I appreciate that NASCAR created the Road to Recovery program, and am grateful for the opportunity to return to competition. The Road to Recovery program was really helpful to me in getting my priorities reset away from the racetrack. And, honestly, that helped find my love of racing again and why I began racing in the first place. I’m looking forward to taking this experience and be better for it moving forward.”

CLEANING HOUSE: Tony Eury worked with Dale Earnhardt and Dale Earnhardt Jr. for most of his career as a crew chief. His son, Tony Eury Jr., did the same.

Both, however, were fired from Earnhardt Jr.’s JR Motorsports.

Eury was let go last week; Eury Jr., who is a minority owner of the team that fields Nationwide series cars for Danica Patrick and Cole Whitt, was pushed out Monday.

“Unfortunately Tony Jr. is no longer with the company,” Earnhardt Jr. said. “I had hoped he would be here for a long time, but as we’ve discussed the direction of JR Motor­sports moving forward, it was clear our differences in ideas were too vast to overcome. I love him like a brother, and you’ll never hear me say a bad thing about him. I know he’ll have much success in anything he does going forward.”

Ryan Pemberton left Tommy Baldwin Racing and worked as Patrick’s crew chief Saturday.

Eury Jr. and Earnhardt Jr. are cousins. Despite the separation, Eury Jr. said he has no hard feelings.

BIFFLE LIKES HIS ODDS: Greg Biffle doesn’t mind being listed as a long shot in this year’s Chase for the Championship. In fact, he said he believes he is a good bet.

“Sounds like an easy way to make some money,” he said.

“I don’t know. I never really look at that stuff much. I don’t know what everybody else is; I would have to look at it.”

Las Vegas oddsmakers have posted Biffle with 12-to-1 odds to win the championship.

Biffle, who said that wasn’t a bad bet, isn’t expecting the champion to have a flawless 10-race run.

“You’re probably going to see guys having a little bit of trouble here and there,” he said.

“I think with this field, people are going to be climbing back in this game because other guys may have trouble or may have a mediocre race and a guy wins. I think there will probably be more guys in it for a longer period of time in this Chase.”


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