Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Penske Racing Axes Suspended Driver AJ Allmendinger

Photo Credit: Tom Pennington/Getty Images

There is now a new chapter in the fall from grace of NASCAR driver AJ Allmendinger after being parked by the stock car organization for substance abuse concerns. As Sprint Cup series mainstay enters the NASCAR Road to Recovery problem after two positive drug tests, he will not be welcomed back to his job with Penske Racing.

Late Wednesday morning, the owner of the #22 Dodge that Allmendinger campaigned earlier in 2012 has released the troubled racing star from their organization. "The decision to dismiss him is consistent with how we would treat any other Penske Racing team member under similar circumstances." said team owner Roger Penske. "AJ is a terrific driver, a good person and it is very unfortunate that we have to separate at this time." said Penske.

The #22 Dodge Charger is destined to become a cursed vehicle. Signing with Penske Racing at the beginning of this season, AJ Allmendinger replaced former NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Kurt Busch in the #22 car. Busch was released from the team after the 2011 season following an altercation with a member of media at the Homestead-Miami Speedway. Kurt Busch is now driving for the #51 Phoenix Racing team regarded as a measure to rebuild his career. With Sam Hornish Jr driving the Dodge Charger for Pocono and for "the foreseeable future" according to Penske, the Shell/Pennzoil car has now had three drivers in less than 3 months piloting the vehicle (a rarity for a Penske-owned team in the major leagues of auto racing).

With the release of AJ Allmendinger, Roger Penske did offer additional words of support to his former driver and his recovery process. "As AJ begins NASCAR's ‘Road to Recovery' program, we wish him the best and look forward to seeing him compete again in NASCAR." Penske said.

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