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AJ Allmendinger isn't at New Hampshire...but his story is everywhere here. And OBTW, Kyle Busch wins the pole for Sunday's 301

AJ Allmendinger isn't at New Hampshire...but his story is everywhere here. And OBTW, Kyle Busch wins the pole for Sunday's 301

Kyle Busch: time to get in gear? Think so. He's been pretty much MIA since Charlotte




   By Mike Mulhern

    LOUDON, N.H.
   AJ Allmendinger is still under wraps somewhere, not yet surfacing, except through some cryptic press releases.
   But the surprising story of his 'failing' a NASCAR drug test is hanging heavy over his fellow drivers in the Sprint Cup garage.
   The next official step for Allmendinger will apparently be to have that 'B' sample tested, and he apparently wants his lawyer and his own analyst on hand. Where the sample would be tested is unclear.
   Aegis (http://www.aegislabs.com/ ) is the NASCAR testing company.

   While drivers and the media tried to make sense of the roiled waters of the Allmendinger story, Kyle Busch and Kasey Kahne were keeping focused, and the two took the front row for Sunday's Lenox 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

   Busch, who had a slow start to the season, then hit a four-week hot streak beginning at Richmond in April, has struggled since May at Charlotte. He did have a decent run at Kentucky Speedway two weeks ago, but otherwise it's been a slog for him and crew chief Dave Rogers.

    Surely Busch and Rogers will make the playoffs, but they're playing it on the edge. They're 12th in the standings, with the Richmond win, they almost certainly need to win again between now and Labor Day to lock in the chase. "We need to get a win, for sure, but we just need to have our finishing position match our runnings," Busch said. "Things come in threes....but I've had two bad runs of threes."

    Here Busch figures the man to beat is Ryan Newman.

    However a number of drivers 'need' to win races to make the chase, and that complicates things.

    The major story of the day, of course, was driver reaction to the Allmendinger mystery. It dominated conversation here. And no one had any good answers.


  Danica Patrick: her personal fitness trainer told her to "be careful" where she buys dietary supplements like protein powder. (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)



   NASCAR execs remained silent on the issue, a spokesman saying there was nothing much to say until Allmendinger's 'B' sample is tested.

   That left it to the drivers to try to come to grips with it. And many seemed nervous about the whole thing for some reason, or at least uneasy. Carl Edwards said drivers need to come together and pay for their own testing company, to work with the NASCAR testing group, because careers are at stake if a mistake were made.

    NASCAR officials declined to say when or where the next Allmendinger test would be, calling that information 'private.'

    Since the B sample is presumably the same urine that was tested as the A sample, the test itself -- however that it done -- is at issue. Allmendinger will apparently ask to have a lawyer and his own drug expert on hand for that second test.

    Allmendinger says, without being specific, that the A sample was positive for a stimulant. He insists he was completely surprised by the test result and is reviewing his medicines and supplements for whatever answer there might be.   
   The issue of 'dietary supplements' may be part of the current AJ Allmendinger story. He has been promoting an energy supplement, Fuel in a Bottle'  ( http://bit.ly/MpDIic ).
   Nate Ryan's USAToday piece on such supplements (   http://usat.ly/P4vCQ5  ) points out potential dangers.
   Virtually every NASCAR star has a physical fitness program, and most have a personal trainer.
   What, for example, does Danica Patrick's personal trainer (N. C. State's Bob Alejo) think about such supplements?
   "Being in sports and being someone who pays attention to how I look, I always tell him what I want to try to take. And he advises me where to buy it.  We're talking everything...like protein drinks. You have to  be careful where you buy it; that's what he tells me.  
   "He knows all those rules; he's worked in baseball, and now is a director at a college in North Carolina. So he's well aware of all those rules. And there are certain places you get your supplements from, if you want to take them....and certain places you have to be careful."


  Matt Kenseth: "...if we ever find out."  (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)

    Matt Kenseth, the man currently atop the Cup standings, and a two-time Daytona 500 winner, conceded "I don't really know any details about it.  I think it will become probably more clear, one way or the other, once we hear the rest of the details from his side and from NASCAR's side: what it was, if we ever find out.
    "I think everybody hates to see that, from the fans to especially the competitors. 
    "It's hard to comment on taking him out (of the car) right before the race (last Saturday night at Daytona) because I don't know what it was.  I don't know what they found.
    "Obviously when you're out there racing at 200 mph you want everybody to be right. 
    "That's what the program is for. If there was something wrong, you don't want to be out there with somebody if there's something wrong with them."
    The gut reaction from fellow drivers to Allmendinger's situation, Kenseth says, is to "withhold judgment.
   "Being a driver and knowing how serious we all take it, and how hard we work at it, it seems unbelievable somebody would do something, or put something in their body that they don't know about, and take that risk. 
    "The (NASCAR) drug testing policy is a great thing.  I think there's always a fear of the unknown -- You don't really know what's going on with someone else...
    "I know I've never in my life done an illegal drug, and I don't use any supplements.  I don't do any of that stuff. 
    "I know a lot of people do a lot of different workout stuff (like protein supplements); I just don't take any of that stuff.  I just eat stuff that you guys can all buy in the supermarket.
     "So I don’t worry about it that way.  But there is a fear of the unknown:  You take a test, and they ship the stuff away, and you hope not to hear about anything later. 
     "I think you always wonder. And you're never really sure until it all comes out."
    Patience here with Allmendinger?
    "I think you've got to let some time pass until everything comes out," Kenseth says. "They get the 'B' sample done, and maybe AJ talks, and you hear what it was... maybe that will clear everything up.
     "Then again, maybe it won't.
     "Maybe you'll never know.
     "But I think they did a lot of things when they put that system in place to make it as fair as they can.
     "And I really believe that NASCAR is going to err on the side of caution.  I think they're going to be pretty darn careful before they do something that could really jeopardize somebody's career.
    "So I'd have a hard time believing that it's not pretty rock solid, or I don't think NASCAR would have reacted like that."

    NASCAR says it tests five drivers from each of the three touring series each week, at random. It also tests crewmen.
    Kenseth says NASCAR or the drug testers have never called him up to ask for any explanation of anything found in a test. And he says he doesn't know of any other drivers either, "besides the people I've read about, who have been suspended, and in the media."



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