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Allmendinger Issues Statement

| , RacinToday.com Tuesday, July 10 2012

AJ Allmendinger says he would never knowingly jeopardize his career. (RacinToday/HHP file photo by Christa L Thomas)

Penske Racing driver AJ Allmendinger, parked by NASCAR after failing a drug test, has issued a statement on his situation.

The statement, issued on Tuesday, reads:  “I have informed NASCAR that I have requested that the “B” sample be tested, following the steps according to NASCAR’s 2012 rule book regarding this situation. I fully respect NASCAR’s drug usage policy and the reasons they have it.

“I am hoping this can get resolved as quickly as possible so that I can get back to driving the No. 22 Penske Racing Dodge. I am sorry that this has caused such a distraction for my Penske Racing team, our sponsors and fans. Obviously I would never do anything to jeopardize my opportunity here at Penske Racing or to my fellow drivers. I am very conscious about my training and health and would never knowingly take a prohibited drug.”

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

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.

Allmendinger was replaced in the No. 22 Penske Dodge by Sam Hornish Jr. at Daytona.

On Monday, the Penske team released this statement:

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.”

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.

| , RacinToday.com Tuesday, July 10 2012
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