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Allmendinger confident and happy with new start at JTG Daugherty Racing

AJ Allmendinger 2014 NASCAR photos
AJ Allmendinger 2014 NASCAR photos
Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images

AJ Allmendinger knows how fortunate he is to have a full-time ride this year in the NASCAR Sprint Cup series and he said during Media Day Thursday at Daytona International Speedway that he is as happy as he has even been. Saturday he hit the track for Daytona 500 practice with a new team and a positive attitude.

AJ Allmendinger will drive for JTG Daugherty in 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup
Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

“We have the confidence in ourselves that if we get everything right, we can compete with the best of the best,” Allmendinger said Saturday in a JTG Daugherty Racing news release. “I truly believe that.”

Allmendinger’s future was uncertain when NASCAR announced in July of 2012 that he had failed a NASCAR drug test and he was released from Penske Motorsports. To Allmendinger’s credit, he accepted responsibility, complied with all of NASCAR’s requirements and raced where he could while he worked to rebuild his image.

JTG Daugherty Racing officials announced last August that Allmendinger would pilot the No. 47 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series entry full-time beginning with the 2014 season. "For me, it is an amazing opportunity," Allmendinger said at the time of the announcement.

“I am happy to be back full-time in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series,” Allmendinger said Saturday. “I feel lucky; very fortunate to be back full-time and with the JTG Daugherty Racing team.

The NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers will take to the track at Daytona International Speedway Sunday for qualifying laps to determine the two drivers who will start the Daytona 500 from the front row on February 23. The rest of the starting order will be determined during the Budweiser Duels on Thursday.