NASCAR Sprint Cup driver AJ Allmendinger was arrested early Thursday in North Carolina on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol. Allmendinger was pulled over while driving on Highway 150 near Mooresville at around 1:30 a.m. According to police, Allmendinger's breathalyzer test registered a .08, which is the legal limit in North Carolina.
"I made an error in judgment last night for which I take full responsibility," Allmendinger said in a statement released by his Richard Petty Motorsports team. "I went out to dinner and I had a couple of drinks. I honestly felt fine but I obviously should have erred more on the side of caution, particularly given what I do for a living. It was a bad judgment call and I apologize for that to my fans, sponsors, team and NASCAR.
"If anything good can come of this then hopefully I can be an example of being more aware of drinking responsibly and if even if you feel fine, take a cab, call a friend ... just don't risk it. I will do my best to make it right and use this to learn myself and hopefully educate others."
It is unclear how the issue will affect Allmendinger, who remains, for the moment, listed as the driver of the RPM team's 44 car for this weekend's race at Talladega. He is expected to take over the iconic No. 43 car for next year, when RPM merges with Yates Racing and becomes a Ford operation.
Richard Petty's squad has traditionally refused to be involved with any kind of marketing or sponsorship activities involving alcohol. This year, however, one of his cars is sponsored by Budweiser in a deal carried over through the team's purchase of Gillett Evernham Motorsports.
Allmendinger's court date to address the DUI charge is scheduled for Dec. 18.