By Patrick Rall
Almost two months ago, Penske Racing released driver AJ
Allmendinger from his duties at the helm of the #22 Shell/Pennzoil Dodge
Charger after testing positive for a substance banned by NASCAR under their
substance abuse/drug testing policy.
Allmendinger insisted that he took a pill one night from a friend of a
friend that allegedly contained some amphetamine not allowed by the sanctioning
body and for failing a pair of drug tests, Allmendinger was indefinitely banned
from the sport.
Less than two months after he was officially release from
his position with Team Penske, AJ Allmendinger has been reinstated after
successfully completing NASCAR’s Road to Recovery program. However, he is still without a ride in the
NASCAR Sprint Cup ranks and as the big league racing series is 1 event into its
12 race “Chase for the Cup” championship shootout – it is unlikely that
Allmendinger will be piloting a Dodge stock car before the end of the year.
Penske Racing will move to Ford next year as the Chrysler
Group officially removes itself from factory backing of any the NASCAR Sprint
Cup, Nationwide Series or Camping World Truck Series events. This means that Dodge fans will likely not
have a chance to root for AJ Allmendinger behind the wheel of a Dodge stock car
but for those faithful Dodge fans who were disappointed to hear about AJ’s
failed drug test – he has acted quickly according to NASCAR’s wishes and has
jumped through the necessary hoops to gain reentry.
The bigger test for Allmendinger will be moving forward, as
he will certainly be a target for future drug testing procedures. The last NASCAR driver to fail a drug test,
be suspended, and return to the sport was Jeremy Mayfield. Mayfield failed a second drug test shortly
after being reinstated and for that, he received a lifetime ban. Hopefully Allmendinger has learned a valuable
lesson from this whole mess.