AJ Allmendinger to drive at Michigan

Updated: June 11, 2013, 5:07 PM ET
By Terry Blount | ESPN.com

LONG POND, Pa. -- AJ Allmendinger will replace Bobby Labonte in the No. 47 Toyota for the Sprint Cup race next weekend at Michigan International Speedway, along with the Watkins Glen road course on Aug. 11 and possibly three other races this season.

Brad Daugherty, a co-owner of JTG/Daugherty Racing, confirmed the move Saturday.

"But Bobby is still our guy," Daugherty told ESPN. "We have five unsponsored races, but we may get sponsorship on three of those, so we'll see. We plan to pick three other races for A.J. to run."

Daugherty said the switch is a comparison move to get a feel for where they are as a team. He said they had hoped to expand to two cars at some point this season, but the performance had not justified adding a second car. Allmendinger will race the No. 47 Toyota at Michigan and Labonte will be back in it for the road race at Sonoma Raceway in two weeks.

Labonte, the 2000 Cup champion, is in his third season as the driver for JTG/Daugherty Racing. The 49-year-old driver ranks 23rd in the 2013 season standings, but hasn't posted a top 10 finish. His best finish this year was 15th in the season-opening Daytona 500 and his average finish is 25.7.

Allmendinger, 31, has competed in four Cup races this season, driving the No. 51 for Phoenix Racing and team owner James Finch. Allmendinger doesn't have a top 10, but finished 16th or better in all four events for an average finish of 13.5.

Allmendinger is starting 18th in the No. 51 Chevy on Sunday at Pocono. Labonte will start 29th, based on team owner points since qualifying was rained out Friday.

Allmendinger also is running some IndyCar Series events this year for Penske Racing. He led 23 laps and finished seventh in his first Indianapolis 500 last month.

Terry Blount

ESPN Seattle Seahawks reporter