DWI doesn't sideline Allmendinger

Thursday, Oct. 29, 2009

TALLADEGA, Ala. – Despite an arrest Thursday for driving while impaired, Sprint Cup Series driver AJ Allemendinger will compete in Sunday’s Amp Energy 500 at Talladega Superspeedway.

In an e-mail distributed internally at Richard Petty Motorsports – a copy of which was obtained by The Observer and – the organization said Allmendinger’s status with the team had not changed.

"AJ will be driving this weekend in Talladega and will honor all partner/media commitments," the e-mail said in part.

NASCAR on Thursday penalized – but did not suspend – Allmendinger, placing him on probation until Dec. 31.

Allmendinger, who drives the No. 44 Dodge for RPM, faces a Dec. 18 court date for one misdemeanor count of driving while impaired. Police stopped the 2007 Lexus he was driving about 1:30 a.m. Thursday and a field sobriety test showed Allmendinger's blood-alcohol content level at 0.08 percent.

"I made an error in judgment last night, for which I take full responsibility," the driver said in a statement. "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."

Allmendinger called the decision to drive "a bad judgement call."

"I will do my best to make it right and use this to learn myself and hopefully educate others," he said.