AJ Allmendinger says his options for a return to racing are wide open and that he would consider an IndyCar move as well as rejoining the NASCAR Sprint Cup.
The Californian was reinstated by NASCAR on Tuesday, having after successfully completed the Road to Recovery rehabilitation program following a failed drug test that led to an indefinite suspension. Last weekend Allmendinger attended the IndyCar season finale at Fontana as a guest of his former NASCAR team boss Roger Penske, prompting speculation that a return to open-wheel racing was on his radar.
The 30-year-old drove in Champ Car between 2004 and '06 (ABOVE). He finished third in the championship in his final year, when he took five victories in a nine-race stint with Forsythe between moving from RuSPORT and leaving for NASCAR.
Speaking to USA Today, Allmendinger said he currently did not have a preference for IndyCar over NASCAR or vice versa.
"Ranking them is the wrong thing to do," said Allmendinger. "It's more than anything looking at the right option for me as a race car driver for what I want to do, what's fun for me. The best opportunity for my life as a whole in general. I won't prioritize anything.
"I will say there's a lot of unfinished business in NASCAR, and I definitely don't want to go out like that, but at the same point, I'm going to leave all options open."
Allmendinger thanked Penske, who fired him from his NASCAR squad following his indefinite suspension, for inviting him to Fontana,
"Roger has been so amazing in this process; he's been such a friend," Allmendinger said. "We're actually closer than we probably were when I worked for them. So he was so nice to invite me and [I was] really just able to look around, and it was nice to have people say, 'We want you back over here.'"
Speaking to reporters at Fontana, Penske said he would consider hiring Allmendinger back. Penske's IndyCar outfit has yet to confirm its full 2013 lineup, with speculation about the future of Ryan Briscoe in particular, while Joey Logano has already been signed for Allmendinger's erstwhile No. 22 NASCAR entry.