Jun 23, 2013, 1:58 AM EDT
AJ Allmendinger’s month of June – like his last year – has been a roller coaster ride.
But if at the start of the month it seemed out of control with double first lap retirements in an IndyCar at Detroit, on Saturday at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wis., Allmendinger firmly reined in the train.
The most important of Allmendinger’s NASCAR Nationwide Series win? He’s finally put himself on a poster in the legendary halls of the Penske Racing facility, and repaid Roger Penske’s trust and belief in his ability.
“What Roger’s done for me, personally, it has meant a lot more,” Allmendinger said after the race. “After everything happened last year, he was making sure I was OK. He’s got so much going on. He kept checking up on me. I didn’t expect anything from it. It was nice to have a friend, someone to bounce ideas off of. Once the IndyCar thing for Indy got going, it was a surprise. But it was a bit of motivation to be focused.”
Allmendinger would not be denied Saturday. He had the pace all weekend but had to withstand pressure on several late-race restarts.
“The restarts started to frustrate me, but Jeremy (Bullins, crew chief) was good at calming me down,” he said.
“My confidence came from beating some guys in golf,” he deadpanned.
In that golf outing, Allmendinger didn’t hit any balls into the ocean. But his win is truly Penske material.