By Reid Spencer
Sporting News NASCAR Wire Service
(August 4, 2010)
Free-agent Sprint Cup Series driver AJ Allmendinger will stay put after signing a contract extension with Richard Petty Motorsports, Sporting News has learned.
The contract, signed Tuesday, is a multiyear deal, according to sources close to the situation. The team is optimistic about the prospect of re-signing Allmendinger’s sponsor, Best Buy, though sponsorship was not settled before Tuesday’s contract signing.
A formal announcement will take place Friday at Watkins Glen International.
Allmendinger has three top 10s in 21 starts this season, with a best finish of sixth at Atlanta in March. He won the first Sprint Cup pole in April at Phoenix.
The driver of the No. 43 RPM Ford is 22nd in the series standings. Now that Allmendinger has decided to remain in the organization’s flagship car, RPM will work toward filling the remaining slots on the team.
Kasey Kahne and Elliott Sadler have announced plans to depart at the end of the season. Marcos Ambrose, who will leave the No. 47 JTG/Daugherty Toyota team at season’s end, is a leading candidate to fill the seat of one of the RPM Fords.
Paul Menard, who drives the No. 98 RPM Ford, has not announced plans for next year but has talked to other teams, including Richard Childress Racing, according to multiple sources.