Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Sports

August 2, 2012

NASCAR: Penske dumps Allmendinger after drug test

Driver’s brief tenure with storied team ends badly

MOORESVILLE, N.C. — A.J. Allmendinger had a ride to envy with one of NASCAR’s top teams end in stunning disgrace.

He can only hope his failed drug tests don’t cost him his career.

Allmendinger’s first season with Penske Racing was an abbreviated one after team owner Roger Penske announced Wednesday that he had fired his suspended driver three weeks after he tested positive for a banned amphetamine.

“AJ is a terrific driver, a good person and it is very unfortunate that we have to separate at this time,” Penske said. “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.”

Sam Hornish Jr. will drive the No. 22 Dodge this weekend at Pocono Raceway and “for the foreseeable future,” the team said.

Penske made the decision to fire Allmendinger after a face-to-face talk Tuesday.

Penske Racing president Tim Cindric said the organization was disappointed with test results that left them with no choice.

“There’s certainly disappointment that we’re in the middle of the season and put in this position, without a doubt,” Cindric said by phone. “But on a personal level, I really feel bad for the guy. He understands the opportunity that we had together. I feel like he feels as if he is accountable. He understands, although he wishes it was different, he understands the position we’re in.”

Allmendinger, who was suspended indefinitely by NASCAR last week for the positive test in late June, thanked Penske for the support during a “difficult time” the past few weeks.

 

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