NASCAR Driver AJ Allmendinger Arrested for Drunk Driving

Janelle JalbertCorrespondent IOctober 29, 2009

AVONDALE, AZ - APRIL 17:  AJ Allmendinger (L), driver of the #44 Charter Dodge, talks with team owner Richard Petty (R) during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series SUBWAY Fresh Fit 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on April 17, 2009 in Avondale, AZ.  (Photo by Todd Warshaw/Getty Images)
Todd Warshaw/Getty Images

AJ Allmendinger, former open wheel racer and NASCAR Sprint Cup driver of the number 44 for Richard Petty Motorsports, was arrested early Thursday morning after failing a sobriety test.

"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 said. "It was a bad judgment call and I apologize for that."

Allmendinger had admitted to having drinks with dinner when he was pulled over at 1:27 a.m. along highway 150 in North Carolina. Police said he blew a .08 on a breathalyzer test. He has a court date for Dec. 18.

The AP had reported only yesterday that Allmendinger was going to be moving to the storied number 43 next year, taking Elliot Sadler’s sponsor Best Buy with him.The word was the Stanley would remain with the number 19 of Sadler, according to team officials who spoke under conditions of anonymity.

Allmendinger had been showing improvement in the Cup series in his number 44 this year.  This arrest could be a factor in those plans for 2010 as it has been not secret that the Petty enterprise is firmly against the use and abuse of alcohol.