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Hornish To Be Back In ‘Dinger’s Car At Loudon

Jim Pedley | Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Monday, July 9 2012

Sam Hornish Jr. will again take the seat of suspended AJ Allmendinger. (File photo by Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR)

By Jim Pedley | Managing Editor
RacinToday.com

Sam Hornish Sr. will be back in the No. 22 Penske Racing Dodge Sprint Cup car this coming weekend at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, the team announced Monday.

Hornish will again be substituting for AJ Allmendinger, who has been suspended by NASCAR for failing a drug test.

A statement released by the Penske team Monday read: ”Penske Racing is continuing to work with NASCAR to follow its process and procedures related to the positive drug test that AJ Allmendinger was notified of this past weekend. While this process continues, Sam Hornish Jr. will drive the No. 22 car in this week’s Sprint Cup Series race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.”

NASCAR announced the suspension Saturday afternoon, saying he was temporarily suspended for his “A” sample including a banned substance. The test was conducted at Kentucky Speedway the weekend before.

His team said it would ask for his “B” sample to be tested within 72 hours, but had not done so on Sunday.

If his “B” sample comes back positive, he will be indefinitely suspended and will not be allowed to drive until he completes a recovery program prescribed by NASCAR. The rehabilitation program would be tailored specifically for Allmendinger after he gets evaluated by a substance-abuse professional.

Allmendinger is 23rd in Cup points and was coming off consecutive ninth-place finishes before his suspension.

Because the penalty was announced late on Saturday, Hornish had to be hastily flown to Daytona Beach to drive in Saturday night’s race.

Hornish, a three-time IndyCar Series champion and a winner of the Indianapolis 500, finished 33rd at Daytona Saturday after getting involved in a wreck.

Hornish has 111 Cup starts. He has no victories but eight top-10 finishes. He competed in full Cup seasons in 2009 and 2010.

His last Cup start prior to Saturday came at Kansas Speedway earlier this year where he finished 19th.

Allmendinger is in his first season Penske Racing as it was announced in December that he would replace Kurt Busch, who was released after a series of emotional outbursts and difference of opinion with Penske officials over the direction of the team.

A former open-wheel racer and multi-race winner in the CART Series, Allmendinger began full time in Cup in 2007 with Red Bull Racing. He spent nearly two years there and then three at Richard Petty Motorsports.

He has 169 career starts with five top-five finishes, including a second at Martinsville earlier this year.

Jim Pedley | Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Monday, July 9 2012
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