AJ Allmendinger is set to stay with Richard Petty Motorsports in 2010 after the team picked up an option on his services for next year.
Allmendinger first competed for the team last year when he ran five races for the squad then known as Gillett Evernham Motorsports. His results earned him a seat for this season, although it was uncertain how many races he would run due to sponsorship worries. However, he has been able to compete in every round thus far and he currently sits 20th in the points, scoring two top-ten finishes topped by a third place in the season-opening Daytona 500.
"I'm thrilled about this," Allmendinger said. "Racers are no different than anyone else. We like to know we have a job. I'm very thankful to be where I am and I expect we will keep running better and better each weekend. I think I have found a long-term home at Richard Petty Motorsports."
The team has yet to find enough sponsorship so that Allmendinger is able to run the full schedule, but according to Richard Petty, it has already been able to secure funding to keep the 27-year-old on the track at least until just before the Chase kicks off in September.
"We want to keep him on all the time," Petty said. "The deal is sponsorship, being able to afford to keep everything going. On our end of the deal, our crowd worked and said, 'We'll tell you about the programme. Here's the program. You go out and make sure the program works.'
"They were able to get enough stuff going that we'll be able to continue on. That gives him and his crew confidence and makes them better right now because they know they've got something out in front of them."
Petty currently fields four full-time teams for Kasey Kahne, Allmendinger, Elliot Sadler and Reed Sorenson, but it remains to be seen if it will continue to run as many cars in 2010.
This year Allmendinger was initially expected to replace Sadler but the team had to field another car for the former Red Bull racer when the matter was taken to court. While Kahne, Allmendinger and Sorenson are believed to be signed for next year, Sadler's future with the team remains uncertain.