AJ Allmendinger to Reunite with Penske Racing for IndyCar Test at Sebring February 7th, 2013 at 8:18 PM
By Mark Eddinger
A little over eight months since AJ Allmendinger lost his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series ride in the No. 22 car at Penske Racing due to failing a drug test the driver will again be behind the wheel of a Penske Racing car. Penske announced on Thursday that on February 19th Allmendinger will be testing an IndyCar for him at Sebring International Raceway.
The test session means Allmendinger is in line to drive part-time in Team Penske's third car in the 2013 IZOD IndyCar Series season.
“I felt bad about his situation, people make mistakes and we wanted to try and get him back on his feet after the mess he was in,” said Penske
. “So we’ll get him back in a car at Sebring and try and get some sponsorships for a few races and maybe Indy would be his re-launch.”
Allmendinger hasn't raced in open-wheel competition since the 2006 season when he won five races in CART and finished third in that series' points standings for Gerry Forsythe's team.
“I know it’s been a long time since he’s driven an Indy car but we watched him run (Mike) Shank’s car at Daytona and chase (Juan) Montoya around and that was impressive,” Penske said
. “We think he might be an interesting guy in an Indy car.”
The 31-year old moved to NASCAR
in 2007 from his open wheel background and has 173 career Sprint Cup Series starts and 29 top ten finishes. He could join Team Penske
's two full time drivers, Will Power
and Helio Castroneves
, in the IndyCar Series while also running some Sprint Cup Series races. He is scheduled to race for Phoenix Racing at Phoenix on March 3rd and then again at Bristol, Auto Club Speedway, and Martinsville in early season action.
“A.J. doesn’t have a full-time ride yet and if finds something on the NASCAR
side that’s OK too but he’s got a lot of support behind him,” said Penske
. “We’ll see how the test goes and get him re-acclimated to an Indy car. If we get him to Indianapolis and a few races, we think he’s got talent.”
The disappointing 2012 season for Allmendinger is behind him and 2013 looks like it will present him with plenty of chances to prove himself on the track again.
Tags: AJ Allmendinger
, Helio Castroneves
, IndyCar Series
, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
, Penske Racing
, Sebring International Raceway
, Team Penske
, Will Power