Wednesday, July 25, 2012

NASCAR Suspends AJ Allmendinger After Recent Drug Test

Photo Credit: Penske Racing

Less than a month ago, 2003 Toyota Atlantic Series Champion, former Champ Car series race winner and current NASCAR Sprint Cup driver AJ Allmendinger was preparing to endure the summer and fall races on the tour with his Penske Racing crew. In his last two competitive races on the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series schedule, Allmendinger was en route to steer his season into a positive territory with a pair of 9th place race finishes in the #22 Dodge sponsored by Shell/Pennzoil. In shocking development however at the Daytona International Speedway's Coke Zero 400, news spread that the California native would not for competing in the #22 machine as the driver was suspected by breaching NASCAR's substance abuse policy.

Barred from competing immediately after the first test discovered an undisclosed banned substance, AJ Allmendinger and his Penske Racing team quickly pressed to have a second test. On July 24th, results of the B sample test concluded with NASCAR’s substance abuse policy suspending the driver of the Penske Racing #22 Dodge Charger indefinitely.

In a statement posted on theWalldinger Racing Incorporated website (AJ Allmendinger's website), the B sample failure was addressed. “This was not the news we wanted to hear and we will work to get to the source of what may have caused this. To that end, we have secured the services of an independent lab to conduct thorough testing on every product within AJ’s home and motor coach to find what might collaborate with his test, which created results that were within nanograms of accepted standards." The statement added, "We continue to be extremely grateful by the breadth and scope of support for AJ from his fans and partners. We would like to again thank NASCAR, Penske Racing and all our sponsor partners for the open communication, and for helping us at every step in this process. We expect to have further updates in the upcoming days.”
In a brief statement published by AJ Allmendinger's Penske Racing organization, the team expresses respect for NASCAR's decision. "Penske Racing is very disappointed with the result of the B sample test and will evaluate its course of action as it pertains to AJ over the coming week." said the press release. As was the case at Daytona and New Hampshire, the #22 Dodge will be wheeled by Sam Hornish Jr for the coming races including the Brickyard 400 this Sunday.
While there have been a small number of crew members and even drivers in lower NASCAR series suspended by the NASCAR substance abuse policy, three of the more mentionable names parked over the drug testing have been Kevin Grubb, Shane Hmiel and Jeremy Mayfield. Unfortunately, all three drivers were eventually banned for life from NASCAR competition. AJ Allmendinger's return to competition will involve proceeding through the NASCAR Road to Recovery Program. 

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