"This sucks" those were the words Anthony James Allmendinger uttered on a sunny Daytona Thursday afternoon in February 2007 to describe missing the Great American race. You couldn't help but feel for the dejected driver of the #84 Red Bull Toyota. He came so close to racing his way into the 2007 Daytona 500 until he got caught up wreck in race 1 of the Gatorade duels. Unfortunately this would be just the begging of what would turn out to be a season of misery for the Red Bull organization. The #84 team would fail to qualify for 19 races that season(2007)this combined with poor on track performance left folks wondering would Red Bull retain the Dinger for 2008? Allmendinger would continue to race for Red Bull until the fall of 2008. He was released just before the October race at Charlotte in favor of another former open wheel standout Scott Speed. On the surface this appeared be the final blow that would place A.J. in the dubious category of open wheel drivers who failed to make the transition to stock car racing. Fortunately for the dinger his release from Red Bull Racing would turn out to be a career changing. He would go on to find success with RPM then known as Gillett Evernham Motorsports. That new found success reached great heights ironically at Daytona in 2009 during the season opening Daytona 500. Just two years removed from missing the big race dinger was in a position to win the biggest race of his career. Although rain put an end to that dream coming to fruition, The dinger would continue to improve his stock racing skills vastly over the next three season's becoming a driver to contend with on the tour. 2011 was a career year for A.J. who found steady success with RPM and looked poised to take that organization to the next level. Guess we'll never know if the dinger could have been the face of RPM heading into the future, but luckily his hard work paid. Now the dinger heads into his sixth season in the Sprint Cup Series with an opportunity to drive for the legendary Roger Penske. Racing for Penske presents Allmendinger with his best chance to visit victory lane for the first time in his Cup career. Although this appears to be a one year deal expect the dinger to capitalize on what could very well be the opportunity that propels him to superstardom in Sprint Cup. 2012 could be the year of the dinger.