With Allmendinger's departure, Speed prepped to take over No. 84

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Red Bull Racing is laying the groundwork for Scott Speed to take over the No. 84 Sprint Cup car next season.

Mike Skinner will drive the next two races at Talladega Superspeedway and Lowe's Motor Speedway in Charlotte. Speed will take over the car that has been driven by AJ Allmendinger most of the year for the final five races, beginning with the Oct. 19 race at Martinsville.

"I can't describe how much it means to walk into Red Bull Racing and feel support from everyone on the team. It's a huge step up the ladder and another step towards the goal of becoming a Sprint Cup champion for Red Bull," Speed said. "I know this team has the performance level that it takes to be competitive."

Allmendinger finished a career-best ninth in his final race for Red Bull Racing on Sunday at Kansas. He has been in discussions with Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates to replace Reed Sorenson, who is headed for Gillett Evernham Motorsports in 2009.

Ganassi officials said they still are considering several candidates for that ride.

Allmendinger also has talked with officials at Petty Enterprises about replacing Kyle Petty, who would move to a third car and drive a limited schedule next season if sponsorship can be found.

Chad McCumbee is expected to drive the Petty car in five of the final seven races. Terry Labonte will drive this week at Talladega and Petty is scheduled for Phoenix.

Speed has driven in 10 Craftsman Truck Series events this season. He won at Dover and has three top-three finishes in his past five starts. He tested the Red Bull Racing Cup car last week at Lowe's Motor Speedway.

David Newton covers NASCAR for ESPN.com. He can be reached at dnewtonespn@aol.com.