By Patrick Rall
AJ Allmendinger, driver of the Penske Racing #22 Dodge
Charger in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series was suspended after a random testing
procedure administered at last weekend’s Kentucky Speedway came back positive
for banned drug use. NASCAR did not
state what drugs were in Allmendinger’s system but his suspension that was
announced Saturday kept him out of the driver’s seat for the Coke Zero 400 at
Unfortunately, very little information was offered on
Saturday when NASCAR Senior Vice President of Racing Operations Steve O’Donnell
took to the media stage at the Daytona International Speedway so we do not know
how long AJ Allmendinger will be suspended but we do know that Allmendinger had
72 hours to request for NASCAR to test the other portion of the sample collected
at the Kentucky race. Per NASCAR
guidelines, when a driver is subjected to a random drug test, the sample is
split in half with the first sample being used for the random testing
procedure. Should Allmendinger believe
that his sample was falsely found to be positive, he can ask NASCAR to test the
other sample portion.
NASCAR has not offered any more on this story but The
Sporting News stated that AJ Allmendinger was “shocked” to hear of the positive
results. There is no indication as to
whether or not the driver of the #22 Dodge Charger will ask NASCAR to test the
other half but rumors suggest that his time at Penske could be in jeopardy
should he be suspended further for drug use.
Since the suspension, Penske Racing called upon veteran
Nationwide Series driver Sam Hornish Jr to drive Allmendinger’s car. Hornish currently drives the #22 Dodge
Challenger for Penske in the Nationwide Series and for at least one more race
(the upcoming event in Loudon), he will drive the #22 Dodge Charger in the
Sprint Cup ranks.
AJ Allmendinger is the first big name NASCAR driver to fail
a random drug test or to face a drug test related suspension since Jeremy Mayfield
was handed an indefinite ban from the sport for testing positive for methamphetamines
in May 2009. Even though Mayfield had
that ban lifted in July 2009, it was found later that month that Mayfield had
tested positive again for meth use and he was suspended indefinitely –
essentially for life.
As a supporter of the Team Dodge NASCAR program, I hope that
this turns out to be a false positive and young driver AJ Allmendinger will
soon be behind the wheel of the #22 Dodge Charger. Unfortunately, none of the three NASCAR
drivers previously banned for drug use have been reinstated but I have my fingers crossed to soon be posting a piece here on DF about how his test produced a false positive.