Allmendinger: I will never return to IndyCar unless they have closed cockpit

Until canopies are added to IndyCars to make them safer, Allmendinger isn't going to race one
Until canopies are added to IndyCars to make them safer, Allmendinger isn't going to race one

NASCAR racer AJ Allmendinger has ruled out an IndyCar comeback following the death of friend Justin Wilson last August.

Wilson was killed in an accident at last year’s IndyCar round at Pocono Raceway, and former CART star Allmendinger insists he would now only ever consider a return to the series if closed-cockpit safety was introduced.

"The moment Justin Wilson passed away is the moment I said 'never'," Allmendinger said. “Never again.

"The only way I would do it is if they put in a closed cockpit over the car and tested it and they thought that was a good direction in safety. Then, I might do it again."

Allmendinger raced in CART with the Forsythe team – clinching five victories in 2006 – before making the switch to stock car racing in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.

The American returned to open-wheel racing in 2013 to join Team Penske for six races in IndyCar, and briefly led the Indy 500 for 23 laps before a safety harness became dislodged.

Allmendinger admits that drivers will never reach a moment when they can strap themselves into a racing car and feel assured that they are 100 per cent safe.

“Will you ever get to the day when you strap into a race car and say, ‘there’s really no chance of anything bad happening?’ No. That’s a part of racing that will always be there," he said.

“But the best thing we can do is make it as safe as possible. It’s way safer now than it was 15 years ago.

“It’s getting better. But when it comes to the IndyCar side of it, that [Wilson’s death] took a big part of me away right there."

Allmendinger will focus entirely on the NASCAR Sprint Cup in 2016, as he prepares for his 10th season in the series.

Leave a Reply