A.J. Allmendinger has been confirmed to replace former Sprint Cup champion Bobby Labonte in the No. 47 JTG/Daugherty Racing Toyota for next weekend’s Cup race at Michigan International Speedway.
Allmendinger, who is driving his fifth Cup race of the season for Phoenix Racing this weekend at Pocono Raceway, will be counted on to provide a competitive baseline for the team, which has struggled in 2013. Labonte currently sits 28th in the standings and has run for the team since the 2011 season.
“We’re not replacing Bobby – he’s still our driver,” team co-owner Tad Geschickter said to Bob Pockrass of The Sporting News. “But we have a few races that we don’t have any sponsor activation and it was pretty easy to do [a change and] some benchmarking. The big issue for a single-car team, how else do you benchmark for your car?
“…Michigan is the only one set in stone [for a change]. Bobby will be back in the car at Sonoma. It is just a good opportunity for us to verify what Bobby thinks the main issue is.”
Fellow team co-owner Brad Daugherty indicated to Pockrass that Allmendinger may run up to five races for JTG/Daugherty, but that the situation is yet to be determined.
Allmendinger recently completed a run of IZOD IndyCar Series events with Team Penske, and will return to Penske’s NASCAR operation later this summer for road races in the Nationwide Series at both Road America (June 22) and Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course (Aug. 17). He’ll start 18th for Phoenix Racing in tomorrow’s Party in the Poconos 400.