In an October 1 Jeremy Dunn article titled Red Bull Racing releases A.J. Allmendinger, NASCAR proves once again how brutal and short lived the life of a Sprint Cup driver really is. It was announced that Scott Speed and Mike Skinner would replace Allmendinger for the rest of the season. Unfortunately for Allmendinger he was just starting to show progress in his sophomore year in the stock car series although he had barely any previous experience. Just a rookie last year he missed 19 of the 36 races. But can Red Bull and NASCAR really be so hard on him. What can really be expected of a rookie driver climbing into a brand new car with a rookie team in support of a new manufacturer? Is he supposed to be making a run for the Cup in his first season? After being replaced by Mike Skinner at the beginning of the season, Allmendinger returned to the seat of the Red Bull Toyota and began to show a great deal of progress. Red Bull, making another glorious move, decided to put Formula One Star Scott Speed in the 84 Toyota in 2009. Allmendinger, a young driver showing a great deal of promise in only his second year, now has his future up in the air and Red Bull is banking on an untested Formula One Star.
NASCAR Sprint Cup owners rush drivers into the biggest stock car series in the world. With the lights, the cameras, millions of fans, and most of all pressure, is it really fair to say new drivers might take a few years to get the hang of this thing. Drivers are released and left out to dry when they don’t become instant super stars or something more appealing comes along. This is not the first time this scenario has happened and most certainly won’t be the last. In 2001, Ray Evernham’s young star, Casey Atwood, struggled through most of his rookies season and just like Allmendinger began to show a great deal of improvement towards the end of the season. Atwood won a pole and led laps at Phoenix and a week later almost won at Homestead. Unfortunately it was again not enough and Evernham replaced him with veteran Jeremy Mayfield.
We will see what the future holds for Allmendinger as well as Scott Speed. And that’s the view from here.