Anyone out there really think that Champ driver AJ Allmendinger is NOT coming to NASCAR? It certainly appears that he will be the next Open Wheel driver make the move to NASCAR!
For those who don't know, this young Californian has an even bigger Cinderella story than David Gilliland. In June of this year, AJ was fired from RuSport and five days later, hired by Forsythe Championship Racing. He then proceeded to rock the Champ world by winning his next three races.
AJ does have a current affiliation with Red Bull racing. Speed TV's Robin Miller Reports from Australia that it appears AJ has been offered some pretty big bucks to go to NASCAR. Here is a quote from Robin:
How big? Well, CSS Stellar Management (A.J.'s representatives) was asking Gerry Forsythe for $3 million a year to keep the kid he picked up off the unemployment line back in June.
Forsythe, who had offered Allmendinger a five-year contract with incentives and wanted his signature before this weekend, rejected that figure and basically stated they were too far apart to even continue negotiating.
That was a week ago, and everybody is pretty quiet on both sides. A.J. claims he hasn't signed anything, yet his fiancée told friends on Wednesday night, "We're going to NASCAR."
And nobody on his Forsythe crew seems to think he'll be back.
AJ has already shown quite a bit of potential in his first trips around the NASCAR ovals. Racing in the CTS truck owned by Bill Davis, he finished 13th and 5th. He will make his cup debut at Atlanta.
Is this influx of open-wheel drivers good for our sport? From the outside, one might think the extra publicity will help the image of NASCAR in the worldwide world of motorsports. Even though Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart, and Kasey Kahne made successful transitions, the series is littered with other drivers who failed to make the top ranks in NASCAR. Also, the newest wave of outsiders are closing the doors for many young talented drivers who have been working their way up through the stock car ranks.
Next year should be very interesting!