Penske to test Allmendinger in an IndyCar

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 7, 2013 at 3:08 pm •  Published: February 7, 2013
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Penske Racing supported AJ Allmendinger through his drug suspension from NASCAR and vowed to help the driver resurrect his career.

His opportunity appears to be in IndyCar.

Allmendinger will test an IndyCar for Penske at Sebring, Fla., on Feb. 19, with an eye on running the Indianapolis 500 for the storied organization. He was at Penske Racing on Thursday having a seat fit in an IndyCar.

"Roger is one of the most loyal owners you will ever know, and I think his loyalty has come into play in this case," Penske President Tim Cindric said. "AJ is obviously talented and when you look at the circumstances and how he handled the circumstances, well, he made a mistake. But he's a talented guy and someone who has shown what he can do in an IndyCar.

"We are in the racing business, and AJ has gone through the process required for him and as far as we are concerned the slate is wiped clean."

Allmendinger was suspended by NASCAR hours before the July race at Daytona for failing a random drug test. He asked to have his backup "B'' sample tested, and was released by Penske Racing on Aug. 1 when those results also came back positive for a banned substance.

Allmendinger completed NASCAR's "Road to Recovery" program and was reinstated in September. The Penske organization had already moved on without him in NASCAR, but is willing to give him a shot in IndyCar.

Allmendinger won five races in Champ Car in 2006, his final season in open-wheel cars before he moved to NASCAR. Cindric said he believes Allmendinger will adapt quickly to IndyCar's DW-12, which debuted last season.

"This IndyCar is relatively easy to drive — it needs more power and less downforce, so his learning curve would be less than other IndyCars," Cindric said. "When he was driving the open wheel car, he was very competitive. When you gauge him next to Will Power — it was the reason why he was able to make the step to NASCAR, because he was successful and a proven talent. Typically, guys don't forget what they know."

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