• Oct 25th 2006 at 3:04PM
  • 11
Can you say, "Show me the money?" Champ Car's Rookie-of-the year in 2005 and currently second in championship points with only one race remaining, A.J. Allmendinger (shown at right with commemorative glass guitar after winning Cleveland's Champ Car race back in June) has signed a multi-year deal to drive the #87 Toyota Camry for Red Bull Racing in the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series in 2007.

Why are open wheel superstars suddenly jumping ship into NASCAR, besides the dollar and cents? Could it be built up road rage from the sometimes-too-timid open wheel arena?

Juan-Pablo Montoya traded cars for a day at Indy with Jeff Gordon to make some good TV and ended up signing a contract with Chip Ganassi to run first an ARCA car, then a Busch car and ultimately for 2007, a full-time Nextel Cup car. Jaques Villeneuve has also reportedly signed up wish ROUSH to run a car in the Busche leagues after losing his F1 ride with BMW-Sauber. Now, A.J. Allmendinger will make the jump to Nextel Cup after running a couple of NASCAR Craftsman Series truck races earlier this season. Of course, Allmendinger is a 23-year-old American-born racer, so the jump to NASCAR isn't quite as large a leap perhaps than the one Colombian-born Montoya is taking.

These guys are sure in a hurry, too. Bill Elliott has stepped aside to let Allmendinger run the Red Bull Nextel Cup entry in the next two races at Texas and Atlanta, two of the series' fastest tracks.

Thanks to Josh for the tip!

[Source: NASCAR.com]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 8 Years Ago
      Will Toyota recall the NASCAR Camry before or after the Daytona 500? That's the big question.
      • 8 Years Ago
      I can see where you have heard that comment before. I am sure you have been called that and probally worse. AJ is a RICH jingoistic dickhead, get it right.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Another sad day for open wheel...sigh. Would have been a great year for americans in champ car, with rahal also if AJ had stayed. Imagine an indy 500 next year with graham rahal, marco andretti, and AJ. oh well. power of the mighty buck. moving to nascar is more or less a one way street for AJ.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Juan Pablo Montoya didn't had to many options. He didn't get results in F1. The same thing with Jaques Villeneuve in last seasons. At least he won one title.

      • 8 Years Ago
      AJ is a jingoistic dickhead.
      He'll fit right in with the other rednecks in NASCRAP.
      • 8 Years Ago
      NASCAR has three things going for it, popularity, money, and even equipment (per-say).

      Popularity is a no brainer, reguardless if you like the sport or not, it is a #2 sport in US. So somebody is watching it and buying it's stuff.

      Money, when other series are struggling to get companies to support their teams and equipment. NASCAR almost seems to have a waiting list for businesses to get a piece of the pie.

      Even equipment is what NASCAR is selling now-a-days, like it or not, there isn't much of a difference in specs and most drivers like that they know they shouldn't get beat too badly because of money and equipment. NASCAR is a driver's/team's sport, a driver and team make the difference (most of the time) in a winning season, not the equipment.

      Not saying you have to like it; but that is what is working very well for NASCAR now, and seemingly what most other racing sports are going after, even F1 is trying to get the competition closer and more even with there new rules changes takin' affect over the next few years.
      • 8 Years Ago
      JPM also won the indy 500
      • 8 Years Ago
      So does that mean we may see the "mach" (aka: Schumacher)in Nascar soon to hunt down Jaques again and this time "legally" knock him out of the race?
      • 8 Years Ago
      Although I'm disappointed I Can't fault a guy for going for the bucks. #4 A J was never a champ car series champion. It is positively not a build of rage because of too timid driving in champ car, not this year especially, if you have been paying attention.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Another fine Bay Area product for NASCAR. He' going to be the fastest Northern Californian since Willy T RIbbs. The Gordon doesn't count because he only claims to be from Vallejo when the show comes to Infinion. All the Andrettis seem to live in Blackhawk, but they're retired, or something. So yes, he's the quickest we've got. Bring it.
      • 8 Years Ago
      This kid can really drive. It's a testament to the sorry state of open wheel racing in the US when the a guy like this, a former series champ, second in the points is making around $200k/yr. Don't know what his deal with Red Bull is, but I bet his new salary is 10x his champ car salary.

      Speaking of money and open wheel racing, I estimate that Michael Schumacher made nearly $50k per LAP this year.
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