LONDON – NASCAR suspended Sprint Cup Series driver AJ Allmendinger indefinitely Tuesday after a test of his backup urine sample confirmed the original positive result. The violation of NASCAR’s substance abuse policy puts Allmendinger’s future in NASCAR and at Penske Racing in doubt.
Allmendinger originally was suspended July 7 after failing a random drug test taken in late June. His backup “B” urine sample was tested Tuesday by Aegis Analytical Laboratories in Nashville, Tenn.
NASCAR officials announced the result and subsequent suspension Tuesday night.
Officials did not announce what substance Allmendinger tested positive for. Allmendinger previously said he tested positive for a stimulant, but did not give specifics. He has denied knowingly taking a banned substance.
“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.”
Given the indefinite nature of his suspension, Allmendinger’s only avenue to return to NASCAR is to complete a “road to recovery” program. He will be issued a letter outlining a process for reinstatement, and he must agree to the letter to participate in the program.
In a statement, Allmendinger’s Penske Racing team acknowledged it had been notified of the test results.
“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,” the team said.
The team said Sam Hornish Jr. will drive the No. 22 car this weekend at Indianapolis and next weekend at Pocono. Hornish has filled in for Allmendinger in the past two Sprint Cup Series races.
Earlier Tuesday, before Allmendinger’s “B” sample results were announced, NASCAR CEO Brian France said he is confident in the series’ drug testing program that again came under scrutiny after Allmendinger’s original failed test.
“We believe it’s a strong testing system that works,” France said in London, where the NASCAR executive will speak today at the Beyond Sports Summit. “We’ve got the best guy (David Black, Aegis’ CEO) running the program, and it’s a solid system that we believe does the job intended.”