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Allmendinger runs in Sebring test

AJ Allmendinger has been behind the wheel of an IndyCar for the first time in over six years, driving the #2 Team Penske car in Tuesday's pre-season open test at Sebring.
AJ Allmendinger has been reacquainting himself with an open wheel race car at Sebring International Raceway this week, driving the #2 Penske IndyCar in the first pre-season test session of 2013.

"My heart was beating fast and the first couple of runs the car was definitely driving me," admitted Allmendinger. "It slowly has come back to me. Everything feels real fast."

He was joined in chilly conditions at the Florida test circuit by the other two confirmed Penske drivers Will Power and Helio Castroneves, as well as Ganassi team mates Scott Dixon, Dario Franchitti and Charlie Kimball together with seven other of the 2013 IZOD IndyCar Series drivers.

"Will and Helio have welcomed me into their race team with open arms and I'm definitely happy to be here," said Allemendinger, who also got to meet IndyCar icon AJ Foyt at the track for the first time. "It was an honour to meet the person I was named after, one of the greatest drivers of all time."

Allmendinger drove in the Champ Car World Series from 2004 until 2007 when he switched to stock car racing in the NASCAR Sprint Cup championship. He was competing for Roger Penske's Cup team in 2012 when he failed a random drugs test mid-season and was suspended from competition until he completed the mandatory Road to Recovery program.

Although he was fired from the Penske team, Allmendinger has since returned to NASCAR competition with four races at the end of 2012, and Roger Penske himself has remained supportive throughout and now seems set to back a possible Indianapolis 500 outing for Allmendinger in IndyCar - if the driver can readjust to the open wheel equipment, that is.

"A Cup car has more horsepower, but because of its weight that sensation of speed is a lot different," Allmendinger explained. "When you get an IndyCar on a road course, it feels like it has 1,500 horsepower," he said, adding that an IndyCar was much more physically demanding to drive than a Cup car.

The first step of the process of seeing whether Allmendinger is up to driving in the Indy 500 was to take part in the first track test of 2013, and he posted the 12th fastest time of the 13 drivers in action on Tuesday.

Even so, that was just a creditable 0.6s slower than the fastest man on track on the day, which was Takuma Sato in the #14 AJ Foyt Racing car. Sato's best lap of the day was 51.947s while Allmendinger's best effort was 52.618s, just ahead of Oriol Servia who was slowest of those taking part in an unwieldy-looking Panther-DRR car.




Related Pictures

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Andretti Autosport`s Ryan Hunter-Reay during pre-season testing at Sebring. March 2012. [Photo Credit: Michael Levitt - LAT for IndyCar Media]
Ryan Briscoe in the #2 Penske Chevrolet during pre-season testing at Sebring. March 2012. [Photo Credit: Michael Levitt - LAT for IndyCar Media]
Penske`s AJ Allmendinger at work. (Photo Credit: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon, driver of the #9 Degree Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet V6 IndyCar, raced to a sixth-place finish Saturday, June 27, 2015, in the Verizon IndyCar Series race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Will Power and Takuma Sato crash out during the MAVTV 500 at Auto Club Speedway (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Will Power crashes out during the MAVTV 500 at Auto Club Speedway (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon climbs into his car on pit road for his qualifying run during qualifications for the MAVTV 500 at Auto Club Speedway (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon on pit lane after qualifications for the MAVTV 500 at Auto Club Speedway (Photo by: Richard Dowdy for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon enters Turn 3 during practice for the MAVTV 500 at Auto Club Speedway (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon on pit lane following practice for the MAVTV 500 at Auto Club Speedway (Photo by: Richard Dowdy for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon, Ed Carpenter, and Tony Kanaan go three-wide during practice for the MAVTV 500 at Auto Club Speedway (Photo by: Richard Dowdy for IndyCar Media)
Will Power crosses the start/finish line during practice for the MAVTV 500 at Auto Club Speedway (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Will Power out front in the early stages of the Honda Indy Toronto (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Will Power, driver of the #1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet V-6 IndyCar, qualifies fastest Saturday, June 13, 2015 capturing the pole position for Sunday`s Verizon IndyCar Series race through the streets of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Power will start in the front row with teammate Simon Pagenaud, driver of the #22 Avaya Team Penske Chevrolet V-6 IndyCar. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Will Power, driver of the #1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet V-6 IndyCar, celebrates after qualifying fastest Saturday, June 13, 2015 capturing the pole position for Sunday`s Verizon IndyCar Series race through the streets of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Power will start in the front row with teammate Simon Pagenaud, driver of the #22 Avaya Team Penske Chevrolet V-6. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Will Power wins the Verizon P1 Award and the pole position for the Honda Indy Toronto (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Will Power affixes the Verizon P1 Award emblem to his Chevrolet after winning the pole position for the Honda Indy Toronto (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Will Power wins the Verizon P1 Award and the pole position for the Honda Indy Toronto (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)

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