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All doors open, Allmendinger says

- dpoole@charlotteobserver.com
Friday, Feb. 20, 2009

AJ Allmendinger doesn't have a full-time ride this season in the Sprint Cup Series, but he's not closing any doors on his racing future.

He was asked Friday if he might be interested in driving for the Charlotte-based U.S. team in Formula One that will be formally announced next week.

"I've learned in this sport over the past couple of years that you don't deny anything," Allmendinger said. "You just nod your head and say, 'There’s a chance.' "

Allmendinger and Scott Speed, who was in Formula One before moving to NASCAR competition, were rivals through the early part of their racing careers. Allmendinger wound up in the Champ Car World Series, while Speed was in F1. Now they're both in Sprint Cup.

"I love being a part of NASCAR, going to all of these races and being around the fans and everything," Allmendinger said. But he admitted a shot at F1 is not without intrigue.

"It has intrigue, for sure," Allmendinger said. "Driving a race car, no matter what it is, has intrigue for me. ... but it's not my focus, either."

Ken Anderson and Peter Windsor are the principals in the USF1 team that is scheduled to formally announce its plans Tuesday in Charlotte. Another name mentioned is Danica Patrick's, but she told the Associated Press on Friday that she has not been contacted and has no plans to leave IndyCar racing.

"It's funny how these things get going," Patrick said. "But I'm happy driving in the IndyCar Series, I'm happy in North America."

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