IndyCar open test: AJ Allmendinger improving with help from Penske Racing teammates

Team Penske driver AJ Allmendinger during IndyCar Series media day at Barber Motorsports Park - Matt Weaver

LEEDS, Ala. -- AJ Allmendinger got out of his car after Tuesday's IndyCar open practice session and was immediately greeting by his newest teammate, Will Power.

Allmendinger was somewhat miffed. After all, his two Penske Racing teammates were fastest in practice and he was just 16th out of 26 cars and went off-course several times on Tuesday. Allmendinger picked Power's brain for a few minutes and the two headed their separate ways.

Power was the fastest in practice and thus required to speak to the media following the session. There, he quickly explained that Allmendinger has nothing to be frustrated about and expects the former Champ Car star to be competitive once he gets used to the DW12.

"I think he's doing a bloody good job for someone who hasn't been in these cars for seven years or something," Power said. "He's been driving a stock car which is so different to an Indy car, especially around this place where downforce plays a big part.

"The car's just stuck, and it's really hard to understand the limit. But he keeps creeping up. He keeps getting closer. I think where he is right now; he's in a good place."

Ultimately, Power believes Allmendinger will successfully make the transition, citing his previous success in Champ Car and his overall talent level. Allmendinger competed in Champ Car from 2004-2006 and had a career year in his final season, picking up five wins in 14 races. He finished that year third in the season standings.

"He doesn't need to get frustrated," Power said. "He just needs to chip away at it, and he'll get there because he's been really fast in open wheel cars. He just gets better every time he goes out, so he shouldn't feel discouraged at all."

Allmendinger is grateful for his Penske teammates and believes that every day brings him one step closer to matching his their times.

"Today was another positive step in the learning process and I thought the No. 2 IZOD Team Penske Chevrolet showed some good speed," Allmendinger said. "We need as many laps as we can get but my teammates are being great about sharing information to accelerate the learning curve and I am excited to see what we can get done tomorrow."

Allmendinger is scheduled to compete in two races for Penske this season, including the April race at Barber and the Indianapolis 500. Allmendinger will next compete in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, this weekend, at Bristol Motor Speedway for Phoenix Racing.

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