AJ Allmendinger will drive a Ford for the remainder of the 2009 season, as Richard Petty Motorsports continues its switch from Dodge.
Last weekend, Elliott Sadler drove a Ford at Talladega, leading laps during the race and getting caught in a wreck towards the end, but still managing to finish ninth with some damage to his car. While Sadler returns to drive a Dodge this weekend at Texas, Allmendinger will continue to gather information for the team in preparation for the 2010 season, when the squad will be fielding three Ford Fusions.
Allmendinger drove a Ford this week during a Goodyear tire test at Daytona International Speedway.
"This is exciting stuff," he said. "It's like a new beginning for Richard Petty Motorsports. Whenever you do something new you are a little bit excited and a little bit nervous because you haven't done it before.
"Elliott drove a Ford for us at Talladega last week and everyone was really positive about the experience. It's our turn this week tire testing a Ford in Daytona and we'll drive one at Phoenix and Homestead as well.
"For us, these next three weeks are just learning about what a Ford likes and dislikes as far as chassis setup and engine tuning. Nothing beats experience in this sport and the only way you get experience is by just doing it. So we are starting our learning curve this week and hopefully we will be a little bit further ahead for next season by doing this."
With Texas an intermediate track, the team expects to learn more about the aerodynamic performance of its new technical package for 2010. However, Allmendinger will not race the new Ford FR9 engine yet.