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AJ Allmendinger takes Strike Two. So what does he do next? He agrees to undergo NASCAR's 'recovery' program

AJ Allmendinger takes Strike Two. So what does he do next? He agrees to undergo NASCAR's 'recovery' program

AJ Allmendinger: good guy, but can he bounce back?



   By Mike Mulhern

   The clock is running on AJ Allmendinger, who struck out again Tuesday in his second NASCAR drug test.
   The big question now for him is what to do next, with NASCAR having put him on indefinite suspension.
   That may also be a question for team owner Roger Penske.

   Allmendinger made a first step Wednesday afternoon, though spokesman Tara Ragan saying he would sign up for the NASCAR 'recovery' program.
   "While we await further information from testing to determine the cause, we have notified NASCAR that AJ will participate in the Road to Recovery Program starting immediately," Ragan said.
   "As we have stated earlier, we respect NASCAR's drug testing policies. They are first and foremost in place to protect drivers and AJ being among those.  We fully support the program, and  and as more details become available, we will share them.
   "We would like to personally thank Mr. Helton and John Bobo for helping worked through this in an expeditious manner."
   Allmendinger, only the second Sprint Cup driver to be hit with NASCAR suspension for failing a drug test, continues to insist he has not knowingly taken any banned substances. Because he is a health and fitness enthusiast, speculation is that contamination of some dietary supplement may be at issue here, though NASCAR officials have not shown any sympathy for such a defense. And Dr. David Black, the man who, through Nashville's Aegis Sciences, has dismissed any such 'contamination' claim.
    Neither NASCAR nor Allmendinger has said precisely what substance he tested positive for, though Allmendinger says it was "a stimulant."

   Hanging over him -- aside from anger and frustration -- is another question: how long will Penske wait for him to resolve the issues, and how long will sponsor Shell wait?
   Shell-Pennzoil is one of the top sponsorships in the sport, and as tight as money is these days, hungry rivals are certain to be lining up at Penske's door with such a lucrative potential opening suddenly available.
    Among the drivers Penske could plug in here, Ryan Newman might be at the top of the list. Newman drove for Penske for years, won the Daytona 500 for him in fact, a first for Penske. And Newman's current situation, driving for Tony Stewart, is up in the air because major sponsor Army just decided not to renew. Stewart says he wants to sign Newman to a new contract; however finding major sponsorship looks to be an issue.

   Penske at Loudon, N.H., two weeks ago, said he would stand by Allmendinger as he stood by Helio Castroneves during his legal issues. However Castroneves was an established star, while Allmendinger is still looking for his first NASCAR tour victory.
    The NASCAR-sponsored 'recovery' program could take several months to complete -- which could very well take Allmendinger past any Penske deadline.
   By agreeing to the 'recovery' program, Allmendinger apparently is abandoning any legal battle.
   However, just accepting the NASCAR program may not end Allmendinger's delimma. He may not have a big window here, because Roger Penske has to line up a driver for 2013 and get sponsor Shell's approval.
   Sam Hornish, despite two mediocre runs as Allmendinger's sub, is getting the call again from Penske to fill in here in this weekend's Brickyard 400...at the legendary place where Hornish first made his claim to fame, in Indy-cars, before moving to NASCAR four years ago. Hornish was also tabbed to run the car again next week at Pocono.
   Shell, in its first official statement on the Allmendinger situation, called the NASCAR drug testing process "appropriate."
   Shell says "We share Penske Racing's disappointment with the result of AJ's 'B' sample test and will work closely with them to determine plans moving forward. 
   "We hope for the best for AJ during this difficult time."
   Allmendinger has yet to meet the NASCAR media to address the situation.

   Immediately after the second drug test also proved positive, Allmendinger, In a statement from Ragan, said "This was not the news we wanted to hear, and we will work to get to the source of what may have caused this.
    "To that end, we have secured the services of an independent lab to conduct thorough testing on every product within AJ's home and motor coach to find what might collaborate with his test, which created results that  were within nanograms of accepted standards.
   "We are working closely with NASCAR and Penske Racing to identify the next action steps in this process. 
   "We continue to be extremely grateful by the breadth and scope of support for AJ from his fans and partners.
   "We would like to again thank NASCAR, Penske Racing and all our sponsor partners for the open communication, and for helping us at every step in this process.
    "We expect to have further updates in the upcoming days."

   The Penske team itself issued a curt statement: "We respect NASCAR's policy and the process they have taken." The team expressed disappointment "and will evaluate its course of action as it pertains to AJ over the coming week."
   NASCAR officials said they will next send Allmendinger "a letter outlining a process for reinstatement. By agreeing to the letter, he will be allowed to participate in the Road to Recovery Program."
  NASCAR says it tests about five Cup drivers each weekend, at random, which means a driver could expect to be drug tested about four times a season.



as his publist said no drugs then whats in those

as his publist said no drugs then whats in those energy drinks? if it comes out that it is will it send those energy drink company dollars out of the sport? certain energy drinks already have a bad image.

AJ is doing the only thing he can without

AJ is doing the only thing he can without creating another debacle like Mayfield's turned into. A prolonged legal battle would do him no good what so ever. Going through NASCAR's recovery program is him smartly playing by the rules. I do like that he is having all his stuff tested, the results of that could be very interesting. Personally I'd like him to release the percentages that he was over the guidelines. Then release whatever results his testing shows as the delivery method.

I also find it interesting that once again adderall was one of the possible causes for the positive test results and now Dr Black say's it can show positive when in the Mayfield deal he stated just the opposite, that it wouldn't show a positive result. That really calls for an explanation.

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