AJ Allmendinger battling nerves in single-seater return

AJ Allmendinger admits that he is having to work to keep his nerves in check as he prepares for his first single-seater race since 2006, despite an encouraging start to his IndyCar weekend at Barber Motorsports Park

AJ Allmendinger battling nerves in single-seater return

The Champ Car race winner, who moved to NASCAR in 2007, finished both of Friday's IndyCar practice sessions in the top 10, but said that he is still far from feeling comfortable.

"I thought I was going to throw up right before the first session," he said. "I'd be lying if I said I wasn't nervous. I want to go out there and be competitive in this series.

"I'm always going to have nerves. I'm going to have nerves going into qualifying because I've never done it before - or, haven't done it in seven years.

"I'm definitely going to have a lot of nerves going into Sunday before the race. They are good nerves though, I enjoy them."

Allmendinger tested at the Alabama track last month, but encountered different grip levels going into this weekend due to the combination of rubber laid down by Grand-Am cars, and rainfall cleaning the surface the previous night.

On top of that, he believes that the limited amount of track time compared to that available in NASCAR has forced him to dig deeper to try to get settled in the car.

"After seven years I kind of hoped it was kind of like riding a bike, and coming back I would get on it and learn how to do it again," he said.

"It kind of feels like a unicycle right now. I'm still like hanging on and trying to figure out what I am doing out there. In a way, for me, the mindset is, it is time to go get ready.

"But at the same point, it's just still about trying to get laps in this car, and take it all in; get more comfortable."

QUALIFYING A CONCERN

While he said he was pleased with his Friday efforts, Allmendinger is convinced that there is still a lot that he is yet to get out of the car.

This, he says, is a concern going into qualifying.

"I know the car is going to be fast and the set-up is going to be very close and it's just going to be me going out there and figuring it out, what I need in a race car, how I get the speed out of it," he said.

"I still left a lot out there on that [quickest] lap that I did, so I think the biggest and toughest thing for me is that qualifying lap.

"Going out there for the first time and not having any practice and you've just got to go get that lap."

shares
comments
Barber IndyCar: Helio Castroneves on top on Friday

Previous article

Barber IndyCar: Helio Castroneves on top on Friday

Next article

Barber IndyCar: de Silvestro fastest in final practice

Barber IndyCar: de Silvestro fastest in final practice
Load comments

About this article

Series IndyCar
Author Mark Glendenning
Why IndyCar is satisfying Grosjean’s appetite for his second life Plus

Why IndyCar is satisfying Grosjean’s appetite for his second life

After spending the majority of his 179-race Formula 1 career in middling to tail-end machinery, Romain Grosjean finds himself once again with an underdog team in IndyCar. While not without its challenges, he's relishing the more level playing field that means his Dale Coyne Racing crew can expect to claim a few scalps...

IndyCar
May 14, 2021
How Herta's aversion to complacency spells bad news for his IndyCar rivals Plus

How Herta's aversion to complacency spells bad news for his IndyCar rivals

Colton Herta's dominant IndyCar win on the streets of St. Petersburg confirmed what rivals have long-suspected - that the second-generation racer is destined for stardom. But it was Herta's comments afterwards that gave perhaps the most interesting insight into a driver that will be around for a long time to come

IndyCar
Apr 29, 2021
How good is Palou - and can he be Dixon's main IndyCar title rival? Plus

How good is Palou - and can he be Dixon's main IndyCar title rival?

Last Sunday, Alex Palou delivered his first IndyCar victory on his Chip Ganassi Racing debut. Is the young Spaniard going to become his legendary teammate Scott Dixon’s biggest title threat? DAVID MALSHER-LOPEZ investigates Palou's potential

IndyCar
Apr 21, 2021
Can Penske redress the balance in IndyCar's battle of the titans? Plus

Can Penske redress the balance in IndyCar's battle of the titans?

IndyCar's gold standard teams Ganassi and Penske are set for another slugfest beginning this weekend at Barber Motorsports Park. A poor start to the first season with the new aeroscreen left Josef Newgarden with too much ground to make up on Scott Dixon in the title chase, but his strong end to 2020 suggests a battle royale lies ahead...

IndyCar
Apr 16, 2021
The six major IndyCar subplots to follow in 2021 Plus

The six major IndyCar subplots to follow in 2021

From rookies arriving with big reputations to veterans who still have the fire and an F1-linked squad pushing to join the big leagues, IndyCar has it all this year. Here are six of the key storylines to keep track of

IndyCar
Apr 15, 2021
The Indycar season that proves Michael Andretti is better than F1 showed Plus

The Indycar season that proves Michael Andretti is better than F1 showed

Often unfairly characterised as a car-breaker, judged for his lack of an Indianapolis 500 win and a disappointing part-season of Formula 1 in 1993, Michael Andretti was highly respected by his rivals and only thwarted greater success by ill-fortune. When it all came together in 1991, he was a truly formidable force

IndyCar
Mar 6, 2021
How McLaren is striving towards IndyCar's elite Plus

How McLaren is striving towards IndyCar's elite

The second year of McLaren's full-time IndyCar return is looming, with Patricio O'Ward and Felix Rosenqvist leading its line-up. Strong team personnel and work behind the scenes means that 2021 could be the year it joins the established elite

IndyCar
Feb 21, 2021
The enigmatic legacy of a misunderstood Indy stalwart Plus

The enigmatic legacy of a misunderstood Indy stalwart

Flashes of brilliance amid spells of obscurity have been too common for Marco Andretti. While the third-generation racer has opted to bring his full-time IndyCar career to a close, his peaks and troughs have never been for want of trying

IndyCar
Jan 20, 2021