INDIANAPOLIS - The juxtaposition of A.J. Allmendinger meeting the media in Charlotte, N.C., to promote Sunday’s Indianapolis 500 was startling, to say the least.
Charlotte is the heart, soul and spiritual home of NASCAR and Allmendinger is, right now, the prodigal son of that racing series.
Allmendinger, of course, was suspended as a Sprint Cup driver and fired from Penske Racing’s No. 22 team last season after he tested positive for the banned drug adderall.
After completing NASCAR’s Road to Recovery program, Allmendinger has run four of the first 11 Cup races with Phoenix Racing No. 51 Chevrolet team, but he got his biggest boost from his old boss, Roger Penske.
Penske signed the 31-year-old California native to a part-time IZOD IndyCar Series deal that includes a spot in this week’s Indianapolis 500.