A.J. Allmendinger could have used a job with Team Penske when he was an aspiring -- and five-race-winning -- driver in the now-defunct Champ Car World Series in 2006. He had to wait six years and switch regimens to finally land a job with one of motor sports' most storied teams, but the 30-year-old unwrapped the last plum job opening remaining in Sprint Cup with just four days left until Christmas.
Allmendinger was announced on Wednesday as the new driver of the No. 22 Dodge, a replacement for Kurt Busch, who split with the team by "mutual" agreement following a season of very public internal turmoil.
Allmendinger is among the fortunate. NASCAR is rife with the qualified but unemployed as scarce sponsor dollars continue to reduce jobs, like the one David Ragan once had in the now-shuttered No. 6 Ford at Roush Fenway.
A look at some high-profile drivers still looking for full-time work in 2012: