- David Newton, ESPN Carolina Panthers reporter
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Sprint Cup driver AJ Allmendinger was charged with drunken driving by Mooresville, N.C., police Thursday morning.
The Richard Petty Motorsports driver, according to the police report, was driving a 2007 Lexus when he was pulled over at 1:27 a.m. He was released to others at the owner's request. Police said he blew a .08 on a Breathalyzer test.
He has a court date for Dec. 18.
NASCAR announced Thursday afternoon Allmendinger has been placed on probation by the sport until Dec. 31.
"I made an error in judgment last night for which I take full responsibility," Allmendinger said in a statement released by RPM. "I went out to dinner and I had a couple of drinks. I honestly felt fine but I obviously should have erred more on the side of caution particularly given what I do for a living.
"It was a bad judgment call and I apologize for that ... To my fans, sponsors, team and NASCAR. If anything good can come of this then hopefully I can be an example of being more aware of drinking responsibly and even if you feel fine, take a cab, call a friend ... just don't risk it. I will do my best to make it right and use this to learn myself and hopefully educate others."
Allmendinger, 27, drives the No. 44 for RPM, but is scheduled to move into the famed No. 43 in 2010, with Best Buy as his primary sponsor.
RPM officials said Allmendinger will be in the car this weekend at Talladega Superspeedway.
Co-owner Richard Petty has a long-standing tradition of not using alcohol sponsors on his cars, although an exception was made for Kasey Kahne and the No. 9 Budweiser Dodge because the sponsor was in place when Petty Enterprises merged with Gillett Evernham Motorsports.
On Friday, Petty said in a statement that Allmendinger was fined $10,000, which will be donated to charity. "We are disappointed with his actions. A.J. has told us that he has accepted full responsibility for his actions and will do what is right," Petty said.
David Newton covers NASCAR for ESPN.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
NASCAR driver AJ Allmendinger has been arrested for drunk driving.