That provides AJ Allmendinger with the knowledge that the No. 2 IZOD Team Penske car he'll drive in the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama on April 7 is capable of winning on the road course.
"I have high expectations of myself and I don't want to go out there and waste anyone's time and (team owner) Roger (Penske's) money. I want to go out there and be up front from the start," he said. "There's a fine line, though, of having lofty expectations and realistic expectations."
Allmendinger, who won five races in Champ Car from 2004-06, has tested in the Chevrolet-powered car three times in the past seven weeks.
Last week, he went through the paces of a rookie oval orientation at Texas Motor Speedway as a prelude to the Rookie Orientation Program on April 11 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the 97th Running of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race on May 26.
No other IZOD IndyCar Series races are scheduled beyond Indianapolis, but "I've told Roger I'd love to do as many races as possible."
"To go to Barber and think I'm going to win the race – that's what I hope to do and what I want to do – but it's about having realistic expectations, get all the laps in, get better as the weekend goes on. If I feel like I'm competitive at the end of the weekend – where ever that puts me in the finishing order — and I feel like I'm a lot better than when I started I'll be happy."
03/28/13 Beyond a doubt, the best drivers in the USA are IndyCar drivers. IndyCar drivers have won many NASCAR races and titles, but you will never see a NASCAR driver win an IndyCar race. It has not happened yet and we doubt it will ever happen.
The reflexes and physical strength and endurance to win an IndyCar race is at a much higher level. Things happen faster, the g-forces on the body in the corners much higher, braking distances very short, and you are sitting mere inches off the ground at speeds up to 230 mph – not for the faint of heart.
Because things happen much slower in NASCAR, Niki Lauda coined it 'Lazy Racing' and when you 'Lazy Race' your reflexes slow down making it hard to make the transition back to an IndyCar and AJ Allmendinger is finding out just how hard it is. Driving for the top Penske team, he cannot yet turn laps as fast as he should be.
AJ Allmendinger tested an Indy car at Texas Motor Speedway on Wednesday and realized he has a long way to go before he’s comfortable in his new ride.
“I think a lot of people assume back when I used to race Champ Car that I did a lot of ovals, but I really didn’t," Allmendinger told the Associated Press.
He was at Texas testing in advance of the April 11 Rookie Orientation Program at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, where Allmendinger is scheduled to run the Indianapolis 500 for Penske Racing.
“I do have a little bit of track knowledge of knowing what the track does, but it’s still a lot different," he said. “For me, it’s about going to Indy and feeling comfortable in an Indy car going around a fast race track like this. There’s a lot of work I’ve got to do still, just to feel comfortable.
“I feel like the speed will come, but just generally feeling comfortable in the car and feeling like I’m more on top of the car than the car is driving me is something I’m still fighting a lot."
Allmendinger is feeling the pressure to perform for Penske and sponsor Izod.
“To be able to have the opportunity, it just means the world to me," he told the AP. “But at the same point, I want to take advantage of it and I don’t want to just be here just to be here and say I ran the Indy 500 and a couple of and I got to do a couple of races. To have Izod step on board, and they’ve been such a huge supporter of the IndyCar Series … there’s a lot of pressure there. And I put a lot of it on myself.
“I don’t want to go out there and waste anybody’s time, and waste Roger’s money. I want to go out there and be up front at the start."