One week after he was suspended from NASCAR racing due to a positive drug test, AJ Allmendinger has been fired by his racing team.
Penske Racing announced on Wednesday that they were left with no choice but to terminate the contract of the 30-year-old driver. In the issued release, team owner Roger Penske called Allmendinger a “terrific driver” and a “good person” and added it was “very unfortunate” that circumstances left the team with only one course of action.
“The decision to dismiss him (Allmendinger) is consistent with how we would treat any other Penske Racing team member under similar circumstances,” Penske said. “As AJ begins NASCAR’s Road to Recovery program, we wish him the best and look forward to seeing him compete again in NASCAR.”
The NASCAR website is reporting that Allmendinger released a statement thanking Penske for the opportunity to drive for Penske Racing and apologizing to the team and its sponsors.
“I apologize for the distraction, embarrassment and difficulties that my current suspension from NASCAR has provided,” the statement read. “I have begun NASCAR’s Road to Recovery program and look forward to using those resources and its completion to compete again in NASCAR in the near future.”
Penske went on to say that Sam Hornish Jr. will take over in the driver’s seat of the No. 22 car starting this weekend at Pennsylvania 400, at Pocono Raceway, and “for the foreseeable future.”
Allmendinger was suspended on July 25 after testing positive for a banned amphetamine. After last week’s announcement, the driver said he would voluntarily enter NASCAR’s substance-abuse rehab program.
As reported in Digital Journal last week, NASCAR did not specified the substance found in Allmendinger system. Tara Ragan, Allmendinger’s business manager, said in a July-11 statement that the driver had tested positive for a “stimulant” but that he did not know what led to the positive test result.