Since July 7, things in the life of A.J. Allmendinger have gone into a tailspin. At one moment he's suiting up, ready to climb into a race car and the next moment he's being told he's suspended for failing a drug test.
The thought of what caused the failure is still unknown, and it left Allmendinger with only a few options. Either he could enter treatment or have his second sample reviewed to find out what the issue was.
Today, his second option goes through.
Looking back, no matter what the result of the second test is, he is certainly going about it a lot better than the other famous driver who failed his test.
The differences between how Allmendinger is handling this situation and how Jeremy Mayfield handled his are on complete opposites of the spectrum. Allmendinger isn't in the news much right now because of this, and due to the situation he is in, being on a big-name team and only having a single-season contract, he can't afford negative publicity.
Allmendinger realizes this, and instead of making a big deal about it, although he certainly wants to get back to work. He's having his second sample tested today, and no matter what the results, he is not planning to run down NASCAR and make it a soap opera.
The big difference here is that Mayfield made accusations as to what it was, and when the failed substance was revealed, it opened up a major fiasco for everyone involved.
Lawsuits were submitted, and subequently thrown out. Mayfield's career is done, and he hasn't been seen with a major racing organization since.
In the case of Allmendinger, it shows that he is more confused than anything, but realizes the due process that NASCAR has is doing the right thing. He doesn't want to make a huge ordeal out of what happened simply because he doesn't know what he failed for. He's not making an excuse as to what caused the failure like Mayfield did. Instead, he will see the process through, and once the second sample comes in, go from there.
Of course this also hurts Penske because he now has Sam Hornish Jr. in the No. 22, which at the same time is not a bad thing. Hornish has done very well in the Nationwide car, and has said he would welcome the opportunity to race in the Cup series again.
It's unfortunate that right now, it's under these circumstances, especially the first weekend he was called upon to drive.
Allmendinger wants to get back where he wants to be, and that's driving the No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Dodge. He knows the pressure he's under, and knows that him not racing could mean he's out of a ride come the end of the season.
Hopefully, whatever comes after the test today, Allmendinger makes the right decisions for his future.
The "B" sample that was tested for Allmendinger today came back negative, and thus Allmendinger's original temporary suspension has now been made indefinite. NASCAR has not revealed what substance was found in both samples citing the privacy of the individual.
NASCAR will provide Allmendinger with a letter outlining the steps that are needed for reinstatement.
For the races at both Indianapolis and Pocono, Penske's Nationwide Series driver Sam Hornish will pilot the No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Dodge, just as he did at Daytona and New Hampshire.
Penske Racing announced today that Allmendinger has been released as the driver of the No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Dodge Charger.
In a statement, Allmendinger thanked Penske, the sponsors and crew along with the fans during this time, and apologized for the distraction and embarrassment that he has caused.
Allmendinger has already enrolled in NASCAR's "Road to Recovery" program in hopes of being reinstated.