News & Media

Allmendinger suspended indefinitely after 'B' fails

July 25, 2012, David Caraviello,

AJ Allmendinger has been suspended indefinitely after a second sample from a drug test collected earlier this month violated the league's substance abuse policy, according to NASCAR.

The driver of the No. 22 car at Penske Racing will next receive a letter from NASCAR outlining the terms and conditions of potential reinstatement. If Allmendinger chooses to participate, the following step would be further medical examination or treatment, according to NASCAR's Road to Recovery program.

Late Tuesday night, Allmendinger released a statement through a series of posts on his Twitter feed. "I just want to say thank you first and foremost for all [of you] sticking by me. ... It means more than [you will] ever know," he wrote. "I'm sorry we even have to have this going on. But I promise ... I will do whatever it takes to get to the bottom of this and get back [out] there no matter what."

NASCAR did not reveal the substance for which Allmendinger tested positive, citing the privacy of the individual involved. The testing of the "B" sample was conducted Tuesday at Aegis Sciences Corp. in Nashville, Tenn., which administers NASCAR's substance-abuse program. Allmendinger had a toxicologist of his own present for the test.

"This was not the news we wanted to hear and we will work to get to the source of what may have caused this," Tara Ragan, Allmendinger's business manager said in a statement. "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. We are working closely with NASCAR and Penske Racing to identify the next action steps in this process. 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."

Sam Hornish Jr. will continue to drive the No. 22 while Allmendinger is suspended.

"We respect NASCAR's policy and the process they have taken with this matter," the Penske team said in a statement. "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. Sam Hornish Jr., will drive the No. 22 Dodge Charger this weekend at Indianapolis and next weekend at Pocono."

NASCAR announced July 7 that Allmendinger's "A" sample from a random drug test conducted the previous weekend at Kentucky had violated the substance-abuse policy, and the driver had been suspended temporarily. Hornish, a regular competitor for Penske in the Nationwide Series, was flown back from Charlotte to race in that night's event at Daytona International Speedway, and also competed last week at New Hampshire in Allmendinger's usual No. 22 car.

"Shell and Pennzoil believe that the process and procedures that NASCAR has in place as part of their substance abuse policy are appropriate and serve to ensure that the sport and its participants are held to the highest standards," Allmendinger's primary car sponsor said in a statement. "We share Penske Racing's disappointment with the result of AJ's 'B' sample test and will work closely with them to determine plans moving forward. We hope for the best for AJ during this difficult time."

On July 11, Ragan released a statement saying the driver had tested positive for a "stimulant." She added that Allmendinger was uncertain as to what could have led to the positive test, and that he was attempting to determine if it could have been inadvertently triggered by his consumption of an over-the-counter product.

For Allmendinger to be reinstated, he has to agree to the terms and conditions set forth in the letter sent to him by NASCAR, under section 19-11-F of the Sprint Cup rule book. A program administrator in the Road to Recovery program would then work with Allmendinger to coordinate a plan that can include substance abuse counseling, treatment, or rehabilitation. There is no set timeline for the length of the program, which is tailored to the individual involved.

Allmendinger would also have to undergo additional drug testing. His program administrator would determine how often he would be tested, and for what substances, and under what conditions. The additional testing would be at Allmendinger's expense. If Allmendinger successfully completes the plan, the program administrator would send a letter to NASCAR recommending reinstatement.