NASCAR Team Fires Driver Who Failed Drug Test
Penske Racing announced Aug. 1 that AJ Allmendinger has been released. He was suspended indefinitely by NASCAR a week earlier, after a second sample confirmed he had failed a random test.
Penske Racing released driver AJ Allmendinger on Aug. 1, a week after NASCAR suspended him indefinitely for failing a random drug test. The stock car racing organization had suspended him temporarily July 7 and on July 25 announced the indefinite suspension, saying a second sample from Allmendinger's test had been confirmed positive by Aegis Sciences Corp., the Nashville, Tenn. Company that administers NASCAR’s substance abuse program.
Allmendinger was driving the No. 22 Dodge Charger for Penske Racing.
"Penske Racing fully supports NASCAR's substance abuse policy and we are disappointed with AJ's positive drug test results," Roger Penske said in a statement posted on the company's website. "AJ is a terrific driver, a good person, and it is very unfortunate that we have to separate at this time. We have invested greatly in AJ and we were confident in his success with our team. The decision to dismiss him is consistent with how we would treat any other Penske Racing team member under similar circumstances. As AJ begins NASCAR's 'Road to Recovery' program, we wish him the best and look forward to seeing him compete again in NASCAR."
Allmendinger, 30, of Los Gatos, Calif., was ranked 23rd in points before being suspended, according to NASCAR, which said he released this statement: "Effective today, I have been released from Penske Racing as driver of the No. 22 Dodge Charger. I wish to thank Mr. Penske, Penske Racing, their sponsors, and especially all the of the No. 22 team for the opportunity they provided me and for their support in this difficult time. I also, again, would like to thank all the fans that really have been awesome through this. I apologize for the distraction, embarrassment, and difficulties that my current suspension from NASCAR has provided. As I stated last week, I have begun NASCAR's Road to Recovery program and look forward to using those resources and its completion to compete again in NASCAR in the near future."
NASCAR's David Caraviello noted Allmendinger was an independent contractor, not an employee, and thus was not subject to Penske Racing's testing policy.