News of Sprint Cup driver A.J. Allmendinger's positive drug test has his NASCAR peers on edge entering Sunday's Lenox Industrial Tools 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
Allmendinger was removed from the lineup last week by NASCAR officials not long before the start of the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona last Saturday. He's temporarily suspended and claims he tested positive for a stimulant pending the results of a test of his "B" sample. The second sample was taken at the same time as that which tested positive and is scheduled to be tested in Nashville at Aegis Sciences no later than Wednesday.
"People are imperfect. Tests are imperfect," said Carl Edwards, who drives the No. 99 Ford. "One of the things my trainer told me when he started working with me is 'Be careful. Anything you ingest is made somewhere, and you don't know what that factory was making the day before it made the product you're using.'"
Allmendinger hasn't identified the stimulant that led to the positive rest result. NASCAR's drug policy lists "amphetamine, methamphetamine, Ecstasy (MDMA), Eve (MDEA), MDA, PMA, Phentermine, and other amphetamine derivatives and related compounds."
"They did a lot of things when they put that system in place to make it as fair as they can, and I really believe that NASCAR is gonna err on the side of caution," Kenseth said. "I think they're going to be pretty darn careful before they do something that could really jeopardize somebody's career, so I'd have a hard time believing that it's not pretty rock solid. Or I don't think NASCAR would have reacted like that."
Edwards said that when the current drug-testing system was adopted in 2009 he suggested pooling resources to establish a group employed by Sprint Cup teams to be present to take its own samples to be testing at a facility agreed upon by NASCAR's regulatory body.
"I don't think it would be a contentious thing, I think it would remove almost all doubt in any situation of a positive test," Edwards said.
NASCAR does not confirm or specify the substance that prompts positive drug test results. Kenseth said he wouldn't judge Allmendinger until he knew the particulars, which might not be released to the public.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. said he has asked NASCAR several questions but like Kenseth, the fear of the unknown exists for most drivers no matter how implausible a positive test might seem.
"I have to believe that they are making the right calls and the right choices, and there is a reason to make the call they made," Earnhardt said. "Even though you don't get what you want in terms of details you have to believe that the program is true, and it's definitely a good thing to have. You just have to believe in it that they are doing what's right.
"I'm more nervous about it being a mistake or the agency making a mistake and it being a big problem for the sport."