IndyCar now, Nationwide later for AJ Allmendinger

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DOVER, DEL. (AP) - AJ Allmendinger is set to drive in two NASCAR Nationwide Series races for Penske Racing.

Penske Racing announced Saturday it plans to put Allmendinger in road course events at Road America on June 22 and the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on Aug. 17.

“With his stock car experience and his road course experience, we think this is the perfect opportunity for him and for the team,” team owner Roger Penske said.

This weekend, Allmendinger is driving in the Detroit Grand Prix races and insists he doesn’t have a preference between IndyCar and NASCAR racing.

“I’m just happy to have the opportunity to drive something,” he said before a first-lap crash ended his race Saturday.

Allmendinger has driven a limited NASCAR schedule since being suspended for a failed drug test last year. Penske fired him but gave him another chance in IndyCar.

“There’s nothing I could do to come even close to repaying him,” Allmendinger said. “So, I just try to give everything I’ve got and hopefully it’s enough.”

Allmendinger finished seventh in the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday, losing a shot to fare better because his seat belt became undone.

“It’s kind of tough when you’re leading the race and your belt just falls off,” he said. “I tried to fix it down the back straightaway into the corner, and it wasn’t going to be fixed by me. At that point, all you can do is pit and try to make up for it.”

That put Allmendinger off the pit cycle, and forced him to stop for gas twice far in advance of the rest of the field.

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AP Sports Writer Larry Lage in Detroit contributed to this report.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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