AJ Allmendinger believes his new multi-year deal with Richard Petty Motorsports will allow him to get some continuity in his NASCAR career and build upon it.
On Friday at Watkins Glen, RPM officially announced Allmendinger's contract extension. The former Champ Car race winner is now in his second full season with the team, after his first two years in the Sprint Cup with fellow newcomer Red Bull Racing proved tough.
Since Allmendinger joined RPM at the end of 2008, the team has gone though a number of changes, mainly switching from Dodge to Ford power at the end of last year. He believes the team is on the verge of showing all its potential and hopes to continue to help build up the organization into a winning outfit.
"To be able to drive the No. 43 is a huge honor that I'm really enjoying and I think with the partnership with Ford there are great things happening at Richard Petty Motorsports," said Allmendinger. "I've looked at a lot of places and we went through a lot of things. Tara, my manager, she asked a lot of hard questions but in the end we got the answers that we wanted to and I really feel that this is a place that I can really keep building on.
"We're definitely not where we want to be but I see the potential and we just can keep building and have a team around me that just continues to get better and go out and contend for victories every weekend and hopefully eventually get a championship. That is the goal."
The 28-year-old said the close relationship RPM currently enjoys with Ford was key to him committing to a multi-year deal with the team. This season the outfit has been instrumental in helping Roush Fenway Racing as both organizations have worked together in trying to develop their package, beyond sharing the same power from Roush Yates engines.
Last week at Pocono, Greg Biffle claimed the first win of the year for the blue oval brand in the Sprint Cup, which Allmendinger believes to be proof of Ford's progress.
"[Ford] give us all the tools that we could ask for to go out there and have a chance to win races every weekend," said Allmendinger. "Obviously the new motor is getting a lot better and it was great to see Ford finally back in Victory Lane last week with the new engine.
"For me it was tough to go out there and know everything that we've built up and maybe go to a different team and just completely start over. You look at all the great teams and they're not one or two-year teams, they've been around five, six, seven years and I look at that and it just made it easy to know that we had potential here. That's all I wanted to see."
Team boss Richard Petty said the team has a number of announcements coming in the next few weeks regarding its driver line-up and sponsors for 2011. Australian Marcos Ambrose has been linked with one of the seats for next year as Kasey Kahne is leaving the outfit at the end of the season and Elliott Sadler is believed to be on the move as well.