Daytona Shootout: AJ Allmendinger preview

STATESVILLE, N.C. -- AJ Allmendinger enters his first Budweiser Shootout Saturday night driving the No. 44 Dodge of Richard Petty Motorsports. Allmendinger is slated to compete in the Shootout plus the first eight races in 2009 and the July...

STATESVILLE, N.C. -- AJ Allmendinger enters his first Budweiser Shootout Saturday night driving the No. 44 Dodge of Richard Petty Motorsports. Allmendinger is slated to compete in the Shootout plus the first eight races in 2009 and the July Daytona race. The team hopes to find additional funding to run a full season of competition. Allmendinger drove for the team in the final five races of the 2008 season accumulating the 14th most points of any driver. During Speedweeks in Daytona, the No. 44 will sport a Valvoline paint scheme nearly identical to the No. 44 Dodge Kyle Petty drove to victory in the 1978 ARCA race at Daytona.

AJ Allmendinger:

"Sure I'm excited about racing Saturday night. It kind of nice to be able to go into this Daytona and know that I can focus on racing and not stress about how the car will be rolling off the hauler and if I'll get the chance to race.

"This is one of the most exciting races of the season and a great way to get everything started. It's cool that all four Richard Petty Motorsports cars will be in the Shootout. It gives us a jump on Speedweeks and good momentum for the new season. Hopefully we learn a lot Saturday night and we transfer that to next weekend's performance as well.

"The Valvoline paint scheme is pretty cool. I love the retro vibe and that it's commemorating what Kyle and Valvoline did 30 years ago is an honor. Hopefully we can do Valvoline and the Petty name proud here again.

"The King has been awesome and supportive and obviously has a lot of experiences we can learn from. You don't win 200 races without knowing what you are doing. He's been someone I have always admired and it will be neat to have him in our meetings. When he speaks you listen.

"Richard Petty Motorsports is looking pretty good now. Kasey, Elliott, Reed and myself are going to work really hard this year to get all of us there in the points and hopefully the Chase. I'm really hoping we can run well early in the season and get the attention of a company looking to get into the sport. We have a lot to offer any sponsor both on and off the track."

-credit: rpm

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Kyle Petty , Richard Petty
Teams Richard Petty Motorsports