NASCAR: AJ Allmendinger back in Penske Racing Car for two different races

AJ Allmendinger, last-year’s Penske Racing Sprint Cup regular driver will be back in a Penske Racing Nationwide car and IndyCar later this year according to report in Racer.com.   

Allmendinger failed a NASCAR required drug test but successfully completed NASCAR’s Road to Recovery drug rehabilitation program and since returned to race at the Sprint Cup level for Phoenix Racing and JTG Daugherty Racing.

Moreover, the 31-year old has driven in the Nationwide Series and IndyCar Series for Penske.

He’ll race a Penske Racing Nationwide Ford Mustang at Mid-Ohio next week and add the 500 miler Auto Club Speedway in October (his sixth IndyCar Series race) at a minimum in a Penske Dallara Chevrolet later this year. And he may race twice more in the IndyCar series for Penske.

“He will run for us in a third car at the IndyCar race at Fontana, and he’ll drive for us at Mid-Ohio in the Nationwide race, so he’s got two more drives for us that are planned this year,” team owner Roger Penske told RACER.

“We’d like to run him some more, but sponsorship is key to everything today. The costs just to run an Indy car have gone up, so it’s not something you do without having the budget in place.”

Penske wants to keep him under the Penske Racing umbrella but says he’ll let the driver find a better deal if he can.

“He’s had a number of people contact me about him and he’s had just as many reach out to him directly, and I said we should talk about them as they come in, and if there’s a full-time opportunity waiting for him, I’m certainly not going to stand in his way or hold him back.

“If I have something I can offer him full time, that’s certainly something to take a look at, but there’s also a couple of good things he’s taking a look at to see if it’s feasible or not for him to do.”

Penske, who backed Allmendinger quietly through his NASCAR problems said  “my main mission was to get him through his problem, which he did – he faced up to the issue, had the poison he had to drink and came back stronger.”

Penske added “and I think people are thinking about going forward with him based on what he’s doing today and not some of the negative stuff that took place earlier in NASCAR.”

The California native is driving the JTG Daugherty Toyota at the Sprint Cup race at Watkins Glen this weekend.


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