Team Penske has confirmed that on-off driver AJ Allmendinger will race for the team in an expanded three-car line-up at next weekend’s IndyCar Series season finale at Fontana’s Auto Club Speedway.
The Californian will join Team Penske drivers Helio Castroneves and Will Power for the 500-mile MAVTV-sponsored race around the two-mile super speedway, with the team no doubt hoping that an additional car will give Castroneves a fighting chance of claiming the 2013 championship crown. The Brazilian trails series leader Scott Dixon by 25 points after a disastrous pair of races last weekend at Houston.
Allmendinger joined Team Penske’s IndyCar program on a part-time basis this year after a lengthy open-wheel-racing hiatus in the NASCAR Series. The 31-year-old had outings in the Barber Motorsports Park, Long Beach, Indianapolis 500 and Detroit Belle Isle events, although his year has been more moss than hit, with a strong seventh-placed finish at Indianapolis being a rare highlight.
Nonetheless, team boss Roger Penske is hoping that the former Champ Car race-winner will deliver a strong performance at Fontana, where he has previously enjoyed success.
“AJ has been a good addition to our team this season and he was terrific racing the IZOD Chevrolet in the Indianapolis 500,” Penske said.
“With his experience racing on the Auto Club Speedway oval in the past we believe he will be very competitive as we try and end the season with a strong result for Team Penske.”
Allmendinger is set to make a full-time return to the NASCAR Series next year, while Team Penske has confirmed it has hired former CART champion and F1 race-winner Juan Pablo Montoya to drive its #2 Chevrolet-powered entry full-time next year.