Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Breaking News

Sports

April 2, 2013

Allmendinger returns to open wheel

It’s been several years since A.J. Allmendinger has competed in an open-wheel series on a national stage, but that will change this weekend.

Allmendinger, who recorded five wins in the former CART series, will be making his first IZOD IndyCar Series start at Barber Motorsports Park in Alabama on Sunday.

He made the switch from open wheel to NASCAR several years ago and it would be safe to assume he wouldn’t have returned to IndyCar, except for his suspension by NASCAR for use of a banned stimulant.

Whether or not the suspension was justified is irrelevant, Allmendinger will have to work his way back to a full-time ride in Sprint Cup.

With an eye toward the Indianapolis 500 in May, Allmendinger signed with Team Penske to run a limited schedule of races with IndyCar. Right now it appears the road course event in Alabama will be his only start before Indy, but I would venture a guess that there will be more starts before the month of May.

It would be safe to assume that Allmendinger will be in contention for a top finish at Barber since in the three previous races Penske teammates Will Power and Helio Castroneves have won all three and started on the pole position every time.

Entering the second race of the season there are plenty of story lines for the weekend. Power failed to finish in the top ten at St. Petersburg and defending champion Ryan Hunter-Reay finished 18th with mechanical issues.

Both drivers will be looking to bounce back from the poor performance in the opener. Another driver looking to bounce back is four-time series champion Dario Franchitti, who crashed and finished 25th.

One driver to watch could be Simona de Silverstro who finished a respectable sixth at St. Petersburg and was poised to record a podium finish until the tires on her KV Racing Technology lost their grip over the final 20 laps.

With a new team this year and Tony Kanaan as a teammate, de Silvestro could be the second woman driver to win an IndyCar event, joining Danica Patrick.

The Honda Indy Grand Prix will be televised on the NBC Sports Network at 2:40 p.m., one of many sporting events on Sunday hoping to lure sports fans.

In other racing news

Just three years ago Denny Hamlin challenged for the Sprint Cup championship, but any hopes of making the Chase all but vanished after he broke his back in a crash in California.

Hamlin will be out of the Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota for an estimated five races. It will be interesting to see if replacement driver Mark Martin can record a win for the Gibbs stable.

The series races at Martinsville this weekend, where Hamlin was always a threat to win on the paper clip-shaped track.

• Ken de la Bastide may be reached at ken.delabastide@kokomotribune.com or 765-454-8580.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Sports
  • SPL - KT042314 - Prep roundup - pic Prep roundup for Wednesday, April 23 Northwestern's track and field teams swept visiting Tri-Central on Tuesday night.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • SPL - KT042414 - Brett Bowman column - Brett's column sig BOWMAN: Cottle has high hopes for new campaign In an era that sees superstar athletes at any sport walk around and boast how great they are, it's refreshing to see the likes of Shane Cottle. He is an open wheel racing standout who never blows his own horn and is embarrassed by the attention he receives for being considered one of the top sprint car drivers in the country.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • SPL - KT042214 - Prep roundup - pic Prep roundup for Tuesday, April 22 Eastern's girls tennis team beat Northfield 4-1 Monday at Greentown for its second straight win following a season-opening loss to Peru last week.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • SPL - KT042214 - B1 briefs - mug Sports briefs for Tuesday, April 22 The Mid-American Conference on Monday named former Kokomo Wildkat standout T.J. Weir its West Division Pitcher of the Week.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • SPL - KT042114 - Athlete of the week - mug Simmerman is Athlete of the Week Simmerman helped the Comets go 3-0 last week.

    April 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • SPL - KT042014 KT Prep Roundup - pic Prep Roundup for Sunday, April 20 Eastern's softball squad built a 5-0 lead through six innings, only to have Taylor rally for four runs before the Class 2A No. 9-ranked Comets were able to close the door for a 5-4 win Saturday in a non-conference game at Taylor. Maddie Vint put East

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • SPL - KT042014 Ortmann-mug Ortmann headed to Taylor When Northwestern senior Graham Ortmann learned last month that he'd been named a recipient of the Lilly Endowment, that was a major weight off his shoulders. The endowment, working with the Community Foundation of Howard County, awards full tuition

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Sports briefs for Sunday, April 20 Maupin set to play hoops at Hanover WALTON -- Lewis Cass senior point guard Maci Maupin will continue her basketball career at Hanover College. She will play for Hanover coach Molly Jones, who just completed her 15th year at the Division III school l

    April 20, 2014

  • SPL - KT042014 - John Martino column - Martino column sig MARTINO: You may have company in woods Daylight has lengthened and cold winds have finally given way to warm, gentle breezes, for the most part, anyway. This is the special time of year when many of us enjoy being outdoors, a welcome escape from the four walls that almost held us hostage

    April 20, 2014 3 Photos

  • NWHS tennis 04 Prep Roundup for Saturday, April 19 Northwestern's girls tennis team got a sweep from its doubles tandems and a point from the No. 1 singles player to edge Northfield 3-2 Friday on the Northwestern courts, improving to 2-1 on the season. Emily Harshman won 6-3, 6-2 at No. 1 singles, Me

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

NCAA Men's Basketball Poll
Featured Ads
SportsKT twitter
More kokomotribune.com
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
AP Video
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.