that’s gonna leave a mark…

“We’re at a crossroads where we need to make a change that will elevate the No. 84 team to success,” said VP and General Manager Jay Frye. “AJ’s our guy and he’s a talented driver, but there’s a lot being asked of him. In order for him to be successful, we have to get this team pointed in the right direction. We hope we can do that with the help of a veteran driver.”

Unlike some other classless “fan” folks, I’m not going to dance or cheer for a driver being out of work. Considering the plight of several of our open wheel drivers at the moment, it certainly would be pushing the karmic boundries.

Do I like what AJ did a couple of years ago? No.
Truthfully, I didn’t much like the kid when he was a Champ Car driver. His ego and attitude far outshone his talent.
Do I think he got some bad advice from people looking out for their own best interests instead of his own? Yes.
Do I think he simply ran out of talent? Yes and No.
The ridiculously convoluted “owner’s points” qualifying is probably to blame for 80% of his lack of success. (a conversation for another time) Of course once you do get into the show, you’ve got to be able to drive the wheels off the car and bring it across the finish line in one piece and in a good place. He had the same problem in open wheel too. They don’t call him “wallmandinger” for nothing…

All that said, had he stuck it out with Champ Car and signed on the bottom line with GF, he would be sitting on the sidelines beside PT with an iron clad contract and nothing to drive now anyway.

I sincerely hope for AJ’s sake that this truly is a temporary situation, that he gets the training and guidance needed and that he can get back in the show and prove the naysayers wrong. Although this is Red Bull we are talking about… Their treatment of their drivers in all genres of racing is questionable at best.


4 responses to “ouch…

  1. You had to think that the maiden efforts for Toyota and Red Bull in a notoriously clannish form of racing would spell disaster for the first generation drivers.

    I hope he got a lot of his money up front.

    On the other hand, if I were an ICS team, I might consider giving him a call. He seems like the sort of driver Penske could mold.

  2. Allmendinger stood out in a weak field in CCWS. When he got to NASCAR his faults were not so easily masked.

    There’s a lot – a LOT – going on behind the scenes at TRB as well that I can’t talk about that has contributed to his poor performance, but the bottom line is that it was easier for AJ to look like a star in a 17-car series with only one or two “star” teams than in a 43-car field with 35 capable teams.

  3. IMO this could not have worked out better for AJ. I honestly do not believe we will see him in the 84 car again. However look at how things have transpired over the course of 2 years since he left open wheel. Name anyone outside of Paul Tracy who has been paid in open wheel racing. If this thing plays out as I think it will then A.J will come out smelling like a rose. He can make a move back to open wheel racing with more money in the bank then when he left and a whole lot more oval track experience then when he left going into a merged series that will have a lot more oval tracks.

    A.J did pretty well in the COT last year and IMO I think A.J has been looking over his shoulder at Scott Speed this year. I would not be surprised to all to see Speed in that car at some point by the end of this year. I think bringing in Speed to the RedBull team was a huge distraction for A.J. Living in So-Cal and getting to see those guys grow up and interact with each other. There is a lot of hostility there between those two. Speed has always been able to get into A.J’s head and I do not think much has changed since the Karting days.

  4. hmm… interesting theory, although I don’t know if AJ would make the jump back. (never say never though right?)

    Interesting insight as well into the background of Speed and AJ. Surprised there is room for anyone else in his head, when he does such a good job of getting in there himself…

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