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Allmendinger’s suspension leaves NASCAR garage eager for answers

LOUDON, N.H. – Even with seven days to digest it, the failed drug test for A.J. Allmendinger left everyone at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway looking for some answers that may come with a second test next week.

Allmendinger remained suspended for Sunday’s LENOX Industrial Tools 301 after failing a drug test before last week’s race at the Daytona International Speedway. Most were shocked the driver of Roger Penske’s No. 22 Dodge apparently had substances in his urine that are banned by the sport. But most said they wanted to see a second sample tested before making judgment.

“I just don’t know where the truth is or what’s really going on,” Jimmie Johnson said. “But in time we’ll all find out.”

That could come next week. Allmendinger originally was tested at the Kentucky Motor Speedway. His test was divided into “A” and “B” samples. The “A” sample came back positive at the Aegis Sciences Corp. hours before last Saturday’s Coke Zero 400 at Daytona.

Penske Racing scrambled to get Sam Hornish Jr. in Allmendinger’s car for the Daytona race. He flew from Charlotte, N.C., and only missed one warm-up lap before starting the race.

NASCAR tried to notify Allmendinger hours before last Saturday’s race, NASCAR spokesman David Higdon said. The timing of the suspension, which created the hectic attempt to get Hornish in the car, was created by those delays, not any presumed urgency created by the substance found.

Allmendinger announced through a spokesman he plans to have the “B” sample tested this week. If that sample also is positive, NASCAR will move his suspension from temporary to indefinite. Once it’s indefinite, he can only win reinstatement by completing NASCAR’s drug treatment program.

Allmendinger said the finding was a false-positive created by a “stimulant,” according to Tara Ragan, vice-president of Allmendinger’s Walldinger Racing Inc. The substance identified during the “A” test is part of NASCAR’s list of banned substances.

NASCAR will allow Allmendinger or a qualified chemist to watch the second test.

Until then, most remained shocked by the original finding.

“I didn’t expect it,” Jeff Gordon said. “I didn’t see this one coming.”

“It’s just you don’t want; you just don’t know how that could happen,” Dale Earnhardt Jr. said. “It’s just hard to wrap your head around anybody making a mistake or a driver making a mistake or the agency making a mistake, you just don’t know. It’s hard to wrap your head around it.”

Carl Edwards suggested the drivers hire somebody to represent them during the entire process. That way, both sides will be more confident in the results.

“I think we’re all kind of in a position where, let’s be honest, it’s an imperfect world,” he said. “People are imperfect; tests are imperfect. My point is that I think until the drivers, this is just my theory, I think the drivers need to get together and we need to have our own group that is paid by us, that works for us, to be here in tandem with the NASCAR drug testers and have them test us at the same time so that we have not just an ‘A’ and ‘B’ sample, but an ‘A’ and ‘B’ testing facility, and we can all agree on that facility, it’s no big deal.”

Until then, everyone will have to wait … and wonder.

Denton (Denny) Newman Jr.
I've worked at the Brainerd Dispatch with various duties since Dec. 7, 1983. Starting off as an Ad Designer and currently Director of Audience Development. The Dispatch has been an interesting and challenging place to work. I'm fortunate to have made many friends, both co-workers and customers.
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