AJ Allmendinger firms up IndyCar plans with Penske

AJ Allmendinger has firmed up his return to single-seaters by securing two IndyCar Series outings with Penske

AJ Allmendinger firms up IndyCar plans with Penske

The Champ Car race-winner had tested for his former NASCAR employer at Sebring earlier this year.

Penske has now confirmed that Allmendinger will take its third car, ex-Ryan Briscoe, for Barber Motorsports Park and the Indianapolis 500. Allmendinger will also take part in IndyCar's official pre-season test at Barber next week.

"I think it's every driver's dream to race for Team Penske at the Indy 500 and that experience is going to be incredible," said Allmendinger, who will join Will Power and Helio Castroneves in the Penske line-up.

Allmendinger lost his seat in Roger Penske's NASCAR team last year when he was suspended for failing a drugs test. He subsequently returned to NASCAR with Phoenix Racing.

Penske said he had no doubts about giving Allmendinger another chance.

"He obviously went through a tough time last year but he has done everything he needed to in order to get back to racing at the top level of the sport," said Penske.

"We have always believed in AJ and his ability and he deserves this opportunity."

Allmendinger was a single-seater star before leaving Champ Car for NASCAR at the end of the 2006 season, when he had been a Champ Car title contender despite a mid-season team switch.

AJ Allmendinger in single-seaters

2002: Barber Dodge Pro Series champion
2003: Atlantic champion
2004: Champ Car rookie of the year with RuSPORT, sixth in championship
2005: Champ Car with RuSPORT, fifth in championship
2006: Dropped by RuSPORT after four races. Moves to Forsythe, wins next three rounds plus two more later in year. Finishes third in points. Signs for Red Bull NASCAR team for 2007 and sacked by Forsythe before season finale.

Champ Car stats
Starts: 40
Wins: 5
Poles: 2
Other podiums: 9
Fastest laps: 1

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Penske says it has no doubts about rehiring AJ Allmendinger

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