With the IndyCar season in the books and a limited amount of news to come since the season finale at Fontana, my MotorSportsTalk colleague Chris Estrada and are taking a look back at the 2013 season just past. Chris and I each ranked our top 10 drivers and some of the biggest stories; now we take a look back at the field driver-by-driver.
P27, Roger Penske reclamation project and part-time IndyCar returnee AJ Allmendinger…
- Teams: Team Penske
- 2012: Did Not Participate
- 2013: 27th Place (6 Starts), Best Finish 7th, Best Start 2nd, 1 Top-10, 23 Laps Led, 9.3 Avg. Start, 19.2 Avg. Finish
DiZinno says: I’m not exactly sure how to quantify Allmendinger’s open-wheel return. Barber was one of the few races I missed on site this year so I can’t properly comment on the buzz there, but at his other races, Long Beach, Indianapolis, Detroit and Fontana, Allmendinger was as much a part of the scenery as the regulars and wasn’t covered too much more as a result. In other words, he didn’t really move the needle as a NASCAR convert returning to his roots. On the track, there was methodical progress through Indy and ultimately an excellent ’500 debut. But his double first-lap disaster in Detroit was one of the year’s biggest disappointments, and while he did well in Fontana after a four-month hiatus, it seemed he was little more than just a token third car since he’ll be doing a full Sprint Cup schedule in 2014.
Estrada says: Cranking out a Top-10 finish in his first Indianapolis 500 was a nice accomplishment for Allmendinger, but in the rest of his limited open-wheel return for Team Penske, the results weren’t there. Gearbox issues stopped him early at Long Beach, but his back-to-back, Lap 1 wrecks on Belle Isle were especially crushing. He was brought in again at Fontana to provide support for title contender Helio Castroneves and looked good until he found the wall with 61 laps to go. Unfortunately, for the reason Tony mentions above, that may be the last image we’ll have of ‘Dinger in an IndyCar for a while.