And now, for A.J. Allmendinger’s next trick …

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Fresh off his first career NASCAR win (in any series) Saturday in the Nationwide Series at Road America, A.J. Allmendinger will be back behind the wheel of the No. 47 JTG Daugherty Toyota next Sunday (June 30) in the Sprint Cup race at Kentucky, part of a fill-in deal designed to get a different perspective and input from another driver to improve the performance and consistency of the car in addition to that from regular JTG driver Bobby Labonte.

In essence, call it JTG getting a second opinion from Allmendinger.

The Kentucky race will be the second of five races with JTG for Allmendinger. He finished 19th last week at Michigan in his first stint with JTG, the team’s best finish since a 19th-place showing at Richmond in April. Allmendinger will also sub for Labonte at Watkins Glen in August, with the other two race venues to be announced.

Allmendinger  will also race in the Nationwide Series for Penske Racing at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on August 17.

“We’re going to try and get another one,” Allmendinger said after Saturday’s win.

Labonte qualified 20th for Sunday’s Toyota/SaveMart 350 at Sonoma Raceway while Allmendinger is still reveling in the afterglow of his breakthrough win. He will drive all three Cup races in July: Daytona, New Hampshire and Indianapolis.

 

Andretti Autosport picks James Hinchcliffe for last 3 races of season

Andretti Autosport James Hinchcliffe
Chris Owens/IndyCar
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James Hinchcliffe will finish the NTT IndyCar Series season for Andretti Autosport, replacing Zach Veach in the No. 26 Dallara-Honda.

The team made the announcement Friday afternoon that Hinchcliffe will return after racing for Andretti at Texas Motor Speedway, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course and the Indianapolis 500.

Hinchcliffe, who also has worked as an IndyCar on NBC analyst and pit reporter, will race in the Oct. 2-3 doubleheader race weekend at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course and the Oct. 25 season finale at St. Petersburg, Florida.

“It’s always unfortunate to have to change drivers this far into a season, but we have to look at finishing the year the best we can for the 26 team and start evaluating and looking at options for 2021,” team owner Michael Andretti said in a release. “James has an existing relationship with our team that we’d love to build on and it makes the most sense for him to step in for these last three races. We are looking forward to seeing what he can do.”

Hinchcliffe has a season-best finish of seventh in the Indy 500. He had been working on trying to put together a deal for next season after scrambling to secure a partial schedule this year when he lost his ride at Arrow McLaren SP after 2020 with a year left on his deal.

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“I know, probably better than most, what Zach is feeling right now, and I have to say that he has handled everything about as class act as you can,” Hinchcliffe said. “I’ve known Zach as a teammate, before that as a colleague and even before that as a friend, and he is a guy that I respect in every way. I know he is a fighter and will fight back to where he wants to be.

“For me now, my focus is 100% on racing the Harvest GP and getting the best possible results for Gainbridge, for Honda, for Michael and for the team. I obviously haven’t been on a road course in a while, but at least the last time I was, it was here at IMS! Hopefully that puts us in a good position to go out there and have a strong weekend.”