AJ Allmendinger has been through the wringer this year. One of the fastest, most exciting open-wheel racers in the US quit Champ Car at the end of last season to become a Red Bull Toyota driver in the squad's inaugural year in NASCAR.
It hasn't been easy: several times Allmendinger hasn't made the races, a snowball effect from not getting enough seat time. But he has earned respectability among his peers, and there have been signs of real progress.
Autosport.com caught up with him on Sunday morning at the season finale in Miami-Homestead. Unfortunately he had nothing to do, having chalked up a DNQ for the Cup race.