NASCAR has reinstated suspended driver A.J. Allmendinger after he finished the Road to Recovery Program. The announcement has been made almost a month past the anticipated Aug. completion date that Allmendinger previously shared with the press. The 30-year-old now faces the difficult task of finding another ride in NASCAR, and I think he may also have problems attracting sponsors.
NASCAR Reinstates A.J. Allmendinger
A.J. Allmendinger has been reinstated on Sept. 18 after being suspended in July 2012 for testing positive for an amphetamine in a random drug test. The driver successfully finished NASCAR's Road to Recovery Program that included multiple drug tests and educational programs. Allmendinger lost his ride with Penske Racing because of the suspension, but he is eligible to race again.
Allmendinger has explained that the Road to Recovery Program has helped him focus on his career better. He has mentioned that he is "willing to do whatever it takes" to get back to racing and hopes to regain the trust of his fans. A.J. Allmendinger continues to insist that he inadvertently took an Adderall pill offered by a friend because he believed it was an energy supplement.
Is A.J. Allmendinger Going to IndyCar?
Despite Allmendinger's insistence that his relationship with Roger Penske has not been permanently damaged, the team owner does not seem to have any plans to reinstate him as a Sprint Cup driver. Joey Logano will drive the No. 22 car in the 2013 season, and Penske Racing has not revealed any plans to bring back Allmendinger. However, the driver has mentioned that he is willing to consider any series that will take him.
Recent reports indicate that Allmendinger may have a difficult time finding another team in NASCAR that would be willing to take the risk on a driver who is rebuilding his reputation. Unfortunately, the dependence on sponsors makes most teams hesitant to do anything that could be perceived as bad publicity. Nevertheless, Roger Penske's recent comments imply that he could still end up in IndyCar. Penske pointed out that Allmendinger is "someone we would consider" for IndyCar. A.J. Allmendinger's desire to get back to the track could mean he would be willing to accept any offer.
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Growing up in Indiana, Lana developed a love for motorsports at an early age. She follows NASCAR, IndyCar and Formula One. Follow @Lana_Bandoim on Twitter.