Penske hires Allmendinger for 2 IndyCar races

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MOORESVILLE, N.C. (AP) -- NASCAR driver AJ Allmendinger will compete in two IndyCar races this season including May's Indianapolis 500 with Roger Penske's team.

Allmendinger will drive the No. 2 car, which will be sponsored by IZOD, at Indy and April 7 at Birmingham, Ala. A news conference is scheduled for Friday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The 31-year-old Allmendinger drove the first 17 races for Penske's Cup team last season before being suspended for violating the series' substance-abuse policy. He was reinstated following after completing NASCAR's Road to Recovery program.

Allmendinger has strong ties to open-wheel racing. He won five times in 2006 in the now defunct Champ Car circuit and had 14 podium finishes in three years before moving to NASCAR.