Allmendinger to drive for Penske during IndyCar test at Sebring
|By Matt Beer||Thursday, February 7th 2013, 13:39 GMT|
AJ Allmendinger could be set for a return to single-seater racing in IndyCar after lining up a test with Penske.
The Champ Car race winner lost his Penske NASCAR Sprint Cup seat when he was suspended for a drugs violation last summer.
Allmendinger subsequently returned to NASCAR with Phoenix Racing and seemed set to continue in stock cars.
But his former employer Roger Penske has now offered him an IndyCar test at Sebring on February 18-19.
"I'm so happy and feel so blessed to have a chance to test for Penske Racing at Sebring in an Indycar," Allmendinger wrote on his Twitter feed.
"The whole organisation, and Roger especially, is such a class act.
"I can't thank them enough for the chance and for keeping me a part of the family throughout it all."
Penske has fielded three IndyCar entries for Will Power, Helio Castroneves and Ryan Briscoe in recent years, but was expected to scale down to a two-car line-up and drop Briscoe for 2013. It recently indicated that it was only likely to field three cars for the Indianapolis 500.
Reports in the American press suggest that Allmendinger could be entered for the Barber Motorsports Park and Long Beach rounds plus Indy if the test is a success.
The 31-year-old American left single-seaters after his breakthrough Champ Car season in 2006, joining Red Bull's NASCAR programme.
Progress was slow in stock cars, but in 2011 Allmendinger achieved a career-best position of 15th in the Cup standings with Richard Petty Motorsports. He earned the chance to replace 2004 champion Kurt Busch at Penske, only for that deal to turn sour with the drugs suspension.
After completing NASCAR's Road to Recovery scheme and regaining his licence, Allmendinger admitted he was torn between IndyCar and NASCAR for his next step.