AJ Allmendinger will pilot the No. 22 Penske Racing Nationwide Series car at Road America on June 22 and Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on Aug. 17.
Allmendinger’s return to the Nationwide Series marks the first time he’ll compete for Penske Racing in NASCAR since he was suspended last July 7 after testing positive for Adderall at Kentucky Speedway the previous week.
“I think this is a great opportunity for us to have AJ drive the No. 22 Discount Tire Ford,” team owner Roger Penske said in a release. “He is a great talent on road courses and has been doing a great job for Team Penske already this year in the IZOD IndyCar Series. With his stock car experience and his road course experience, we think this is the perfect opportunity for him and for the team.”
Allmendinger tested for Penske Racing at Virginia International Raceway this week before his IndyCar duties at Belle Isle on Saturday. He finished seventh in last weekend’s Indianapolis 500.
“I’ve always really enjoyed the road course racing in NASCAR, so to get the opportunity to compete in two events in the Nationwide Series with Penske Racing is amazing,” said Allmendinger in a release. “I’ve had the chance to test with the No. 22 Discount Tire team at Virginal International Raceway and the guys are great.They work hard to make sure they put an amazing piece on the track and that shows in the results.”
Allmendinger has eight Nationwide Series starts, but never drove for Penske Racing on that tour. However, he excelled on road course. In nine NASCAR starts, Allemdinger, 31, posted one top-five and four top-10 finishes between Sonoma and Watkins Glen, where he enjoyed a best average track finish of ninth.
Allmendinger was originally slated to drive the No. 51 Phoenix Racing car at Sonoma — and will be in the car next week at Pocono Raceway. While Penske Racing offered to fly Allmendinger to Sonoma for Sunday’s race, after Phoenix Racing finished third in last year’s Toyota/SaveMart 350, the team would prefer a driver that can participate in practice and qualify the car. Jacques Villeneuve has been mentioned as a possible replacement.