On Saturday, July 7, 2012, just before the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway, Penske Racing got word that driver A.J. Allmendinger had been suspended due to an allegedly positive drug test. No official statements have been released yet. There has been no indication of what he tested positive for but it is somewhat telling that there was an almost immediate suspension before the second sample was tested. Generally, the driver is not suspended until both samples are tested. It is unlikely that the second sample will have a different result, because each comprises half of an original sample.
The NASCAR Road to Recovery Program was designed to help individuals in the sport who have drug and alcohol problems. Often times, the series seems to lift indefinite suspensions once an individual has completed the program. The Road to Recovery Program includes several different things and will generally last for at least 30 days.
A.J. Allmendinger has not had the best season so far. Though joining Penske Racing provided him with a great opportunity, he is currently out of the running for the Chase for the Cup and in 23rd place in the points. Out of the 17 races he participated in this season, he managed just one top five finish and three top ten finishes. It was clearly a disappointing season for his fans, his team and himself. Without a win, even if he did manage to get into the top 20 in the points, he would not have been able to make the Chase.
Hopefully, his second test will comeback negative for drugs. It is always disappointing to see an athlete or driver test positive for drugs. It more or less negates the good works the individual did and should make fans think twice before supporting that individual again. If the second sample also comes back positive, I hope that Allmendinger gets the help he needs. It would be tragic to see another driver fall into drugs. Unfortunately, I would guess that he will not have a ride with Penske waiting for him if he returns. Penske and Shell likely expect more from their drivers.
Kristin Watt has been a NASCAR Winston Cup, now Sprint Cup, fan for as long as she can remember starting way back when she was a little girl and her mother would sit on the couch with her every Sunday during the season to watch the races. Back then, they were fans of Bill Elliott and newcomer Davey Allison.
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