Allmendinger returns for Talladega

AJ Allmendinger is back behind the wheel of the No. 84 Red Bull Toyota Camry for this weekend's Sprint Cup Series race at Talladega Superspeedway

Allmendinger returns for Talladega

Allmendinger was replaced by Mike Skinner for the fourth race of the season at Atlanta Motor Speedway, after he failed to qualify for the first three races of the year, while his teammate Brian Vickers made the field for all those events.

"It sucks being out of the race car. There's no simple way to put it," Allmendinger said. "Your ego takes a hit. For a race car driver being at the track and watching cars, especially yours, go around might be the worst thing in the world."

The former Champ Car race winner attended all races despite being out of the car and was in close contact with Skinner through every race weekend, trying to absorb as much as he could from the NASCAR veteran.

Although Allmendinger says he has learned a lot, he claims watching Skinner interact with the team gave him some relief, as he feels both him and his replacement have struggled for the same reasons.

"I have learned a lot," Allmendinger added. "Obviously Mike has done a good job of getting the car in the show just like we knew he would. There was no question in my mind that he would make all the races.

"I've learned a good bit being outside the car, by the race car about listening to how to communicate and the good thing is Mike and I've been saying the same things.

"So the only thing is just the peace of mind that being back in the race car, when we do it at Talladega, you know what? I have been feeling the right things and it isn't only on my shoulders. We need to work better as a team."

In his five races replacing Allmendinger, Skinner's best result was a 27th place at Atlanta, while at the same race the sister car of Brian Vickers finished ninth.

In that period also, the team has moved from 46th to 40th in the owners' standing, which means Allmendinger needs to qualify on time once again on his return this weekend at Talladega.

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