Graham Rahal is racing in his father’s team
for 2013, where he will be driving the Midas/
Big O Tires-backed entry. The car’s color
scheme is aptly reminiscent of Bobby Rahal’s
Miller Genuine Draft entries of the ’90s.
AJ Allmendinger gets his open-wheel
mojo back, testing a Penske IndyCar
One day in Team Penske’s
DW12 put Allmendinger back
on the road he was on in 2006.
LED HIM THE
After a promising
start with RuSPORT,
Champ Car career
took off when he
joined Jerry Forsythe’s
squad after four
rounds of the 2006
season. He won five
dominance and was
the American ace
needed. But an offer
too good to refuse
lured him a way to
NASCAR for 2007.
After seven years in stock cars, it was
no surprise that AJ Allmendinger had a
lot of re-acclimating to do in an Indy car.
More of an eye-opener was how readily
he fit in alongside Team Penske regulars
Will Power and Helio Castroneves in a day
of preseason testing at Sebring.
While Power was a half-second quicker
and three-time Indianapolis 500 winner
Castroneves up a quarter-second on the
31-year-old Californian’s best on the
52sec short course, Allmendinger
demonstrated plenty of the raw talent
that set Champ Car alight in 2006.
He said: “The steering is really quick,
real physical to turn, which is what I
remember. I’m kind of getting up to speed
and I’m trying to learn how to relax in the
car, but it’s been fun so far.”
Power indicated Allmendinger’s
tryout had been fun for him, too. “It was
cool because I picked up a few things
from AJ,” he admitted. “He’s an animal and,
even though it was his first day in the car,
looking at our data was pretty interesting.
I think we all learned from each other.”
Team president Tim Cindric indicated
that Allmendinger would be back with
Penske for Spring Training at Barber
Motorsports Park. A third car for
Allmendinger in selected races is under
consideration – and such a program in
’09 worked out pretty well for Power.
RACING HARDER FOR LONGER
IndyCar hopes its adjustment
of race distances will boost
the entertainment quotient.
IndyCar has adjusted the race distances
for four of its 2013 events to try and
ensure more flat-out racing and reduce
attempts at fuel-saving in each stint.
The St. Petersburg, Milwaukee and
Mid-Ohio rounds will be increased by 10,
25 and five laps, respectively, while the
Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach drops
from 85 to 80 laps and thus becomes
one of the shortest races at 157 miles.
Although going a lap longer per stint
than your rival will still be desirable, and
although a stint’s duration will be greatly
affected by the length and frequency of
full-course cautions, race director Beaux
Barfield believes the changes make fuel-
saving strategies less likely at those venues.
14 SPRING 2013