Penske Racing parts ways with Allmendinger
By: NASCAR Wire Service, Superior Telegram
Penske Racing released AJ Allmendinger as driver of the No. 22 Dodge in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series on Wednesday, one week after Allmendinger agreed to enter the Road to Recovery program after violating the sanctioning body's substance abuse policy.
Allmendinger was initially suspended from competition just before the July 7 race at Daytona International Speedway after he failed a random drug test administered the week before at Kentucky Speedway. He was suspended indefinitely July 24 after his "B" sample confirmed the findings of the "A" sample; both were collected in Kentucky.
The personnel move brings Allmendinger's first season with Penske to an end after 17 races. He was 23rd in Sprint Cup points with just one top-five finish at the time of his initial suspension.
"Penske Racing fully supports NASCAR's substance abuse policy and we are disappointed with AJ's positive drug test results," car owner Roger Penske said in a statement released by the team. "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."
The team also announced that Sam Hornish Jr., who has driven in Allmendinger's place the last three races, would remain in the No. 22 Dodge "for the foreseeable future."
"I apologize for the distraction, embarrassment and difficulties that my current suspension from NASCAR has provided,' Allmendinger said in a statement. "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."