In a surprising revelation, NASCAR announced shortly before Saturday night's Coke Zero 400 Sprint Cup race at Daytona International Speedway that it has "temporarily suspended" driver A.J. Allmendinger for failing a random drug test. Allmendinger was not allowed to compete in the race, being replaced by Penske Racing teammate Sam Hornish Jr.
Allmendinger allegedly failed a random drug test following last Saturday's Cup race at Kentucky Speedway. According to various reports, Allmendinger's "A" sample tested positive for illegal substances. He has the option to appeal the suspension and seek reinstatement if a second sample is tested to determine if it also would cause a positive response, or potentially a negative response.
However, if the "B" sample also tests positive, Allmendinger's "temporary suspension" would be upgraded to an indefinite suspension, essentially ending any hope he has of making this season's Chase for the Sprint Cup.
Here is NASCAR's official statement on the issue, released prior to the start of the race:
"Driver AJ Allmendinger has been temporarily suspended from NASCAR competition based upon notification of a positive "A" test NASCAR received from the Medical Review Officer as stated in Section 19-11B (6,7) of the NASCAR Substance Abuse Policy. Pursuant to the rule book, Allmendinger has the opportunity to request within the next 72 hours that his "B" sample be tested. NASCAR will follow its policies and procedures set forth in the rule book in dealing with this matter."