CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – AJ Allmendinger picked up a sponsor Wednesday that will keep his Richard Petty Motorsports entry running at least until September.

Hunt Brothers Pizza will sponsor six races and the All-Star event, ensuring the No. 44 will stay on the track at least through the Sept. 12 race in Richmond, Va.

Allmendinger started the season with just enough sponsorship to take him through the first quarter of the Sprint Cup schedule, and RPM officials recently extended that deal through the end of May.

“This is awesome news,” Allmendinger said. “I want to thank Hunt Brothers Pizza for coming on board and supporting us. We plan to give Hunt Brothers Pizza a lot to talk about in the coming weeks.”

There’s been a buzz surrounding Allmendinger since his release from Red Bull Racing late last season. He was impressive in a brief stint driving for Gillett-Evernham Motorsports, and the team briefly considered dumping Elliott Sadler in favor of Allmendinger.

GEM then merged with Petty Enterprises in January, and the new organization instead started the season with Allmendinger in an underfunded fourth entry. Then he opened the season with a third-place finish in the Daytona 500, and has continued to impress RPM officials since, qualifying on speed for the first five races of the year to lock himself inside the top-35 in points.

Allmendinger, a former Champ Car star, is currently 20th in the Cup standings after slipping five spots with a poor race last week in Texas. He’s currently higher in the standings than RPM drivers Sadler and Reed Sorenson, and only trails teammate Kasey Kahne, who is 10th.

“I think we have shown that we have the ability to run up front in this series,” he said. “I think you are going to see our results get progressively better the longer this team stays together. We started the year putting an emphasis on qualifying, but now that we are locked in the starting field we can turn our attention to the race and that’s going to help our race results.

“We are committed to making this thing work and I think we offer a great opportunity for Hunt Brothers, our existing partners as well as any partner looking to be part of NASCAR and Richard Petty Motorsports.”

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