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
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
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
”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