A.J. Allmendinger to compete with Penske at Barber, Indy 500

Multiple outlets are now reporting that A.J. Allmendinger will drive the No. 2 Team Penske Chevrolet-powered Dallara at Barber Motorsports Park and the Indianapolis 500.

Allmendinger recently tested the No. 2 machine with Team Penske at Sebring International Raceway in Florida, and he will be back in that particular ride for next week’s “Spring Training” test sessions at Barber. The California racer is also competing part-time in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series for Phoenix Racing.

A formal announcement is expected to be made later today.

For Allmendinger, the Barber race on April 7 will mark his first open-wheel event since leaving Champ Car following the 2006 season to go race in NASCAR. He made 40 Champ Car starts from 2004 to 2006, winning five times and collecting 14 podium finishes.

Last summer, Allmendinger was suspended and then released from his Sprint Cup ride at Penske Racing after failing a drug test. Since that point, he has completed NASCAR’s Road to Recovery program (which brought him his reinstatement) and has been working toward opportunities to rebuild his career.

When word first got out about Allmendinger’s first IZOD IndyCar Series test at Sebring, Allmendinger expressed his gratitude toward team owner Roger Penske for not casting him off following his suspension – and he has continued to do that recently.

"It was the fact that [Penske] asked me to drive a car for him that means more than anything,” he told Jim Tomlin of the Tampa Bay Times last week.

“Back in a stock car, a Nationwide car, a prototype (sports car) if he had one, just to get back in one of his cars. He doesn't have to do that. There's no reason for him to do that, honestly, except the fact that he does believe in me and wants me to be a part of it. It's not like I made his life easy. And he still has the faith."

Now he’ll be looking to bring “The Captain” a 16th Indianapolis 500 victory.