Allmendinger still trying to get comfortable

AJ Allmendinger tested an Indy car at Texas Motor Speedway on

Wednesday and realized he has a long way to go before he’s

comfortable in his new ride.

”I think a lot of people assume back when I used to race Champ

Car that I did a lot of ovals, but I really didn’t,” said

Allmendinger, who last raced an Indy car on an oval in 2006 at

Milwaukee, where he finished fourth.

He was at Texas testing in advance of the April 11 Rookie

Orientation Program at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, where

Allmendinger is scheduled to run the Indianapolis 500 for Penske

Racing.

For now, he’s still adapting to his return to open-wheel cars,

and learned Wednesday he has room for improvement even though he’s

familiar with the Texas track. Allmendinger ran 10 NASCAR races in

a Sprint Cup car at TMS, but said there’s not a lot of carryover

between the cars.

”I do have a little bit of track knowledge of knowing what the

track does, but it’s still a lot different,” he said. ”For me,

it’s about going to Indy and feeling comfortable in an Indy car

going around a fast race track like this. There’s a lot of work

I’ve got to do still, just to feel comfortable.

”I feel like the speed will come, but just generally feeling

comfortable in the car and feeling like I’m more on top of the car

than the car is driving me is something I’m still fighting a

lot.”

Allmendinger is scheduled to make his IndyCar debut next weekend

at Barber Motorsports Park, the only race he’s got scheduled with

Penske before the Indy 500. He’s tested on the road courses at

Sebring and Barber, but there’s not much he can do on an oval in

advance of Indy.

Penske said last weekend he hasn’t ruled out running

Allmendinger on the street course at Long Beach, but doesn’t have

the funding put together yet.

Allmendinger is feeling the pressure to perform for Penske and

sponsor Izod.

”To be able to have the opportunity, it just means the world to

me,” he said. ”But at the same point, I want to take advantage of

it and I don’t want to just be here just to be here and say I ran

the Indy 500 and a couple of and I got to do a couple of races. To

have Izod step on board, and they’ve been such a huge supporter of

the IndyCar Series … there’s a lot of pressure there. And I put a

lot of it on myself.

”I don’t want to go out there and waste anybody’s time, and

waste Roger’s money. I want to go out there and be up front at the

start.”