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NASCAR NOTES: Allmendinger suspended by NASCAR

Photo Credits: Tom Pennington/Getty Images Photo Credits: Tom Pennington/Getty Images
Glenn Campbell - "The Lugnut Cowboy" Glenn Campbell - "The Lugnut Cowboy"

Penske Racing was notified by NASCAR four hours before the start of the Coke Zero 400 that their driver, AJ Allmendinger, tested positive for an unapproved substance during a random drug test administered last week in Kentucky.

The official announcement from NASCAR said, "Driver AJ Allmendinger has been temporarily suspended from NASCAR competition based upon notification of a positive "A" test NASCAR received from the Medical Review Officer as stated in Section 19-11B (6,7) of the NASCAR Substance Abuse Policy. Pursuant to the rule book, Allmendinger has the opportunity to request within the next 72 hours that his "B" sample be tested. NASCAR will follow its policies and procedures set forth in the rule book in dealing with this matter."

Translation: his first test indicated a disallowed drug in his system and he has 72 hours to submit to another test if he disputes that result.

The announcement caught the Penske team by surprise and sent them frantically looking to get a backup driver for the night's event. The team's Nationwide driver, Sam Hornish Jr. was already back home in North Carolina when he received the call to return to Daytona.

The Penske Team's private jet rushed to Charlotte to pick up Hornish while a Penske crewman rushed to the Charlotte race shop to pick up a fire suit. Once on board the plane, Hornish wasn't even sure if they would make it to Daytona in time.

"It was one of those deals where we flew in and I half expected to see race cars going around the track," said Hornish of his arrival in Daytona.

It was fortunate for the Penske team that the airport in Daytona was located just off the backstretch of the speedway.

"It's kind of a weird thing when you land in an airplane and you see cop lights that are out there for you," continued Hornish after his arrival in Daytona at 7:20 p.m.

The Penske team had Kenny Wallace on standby just in case Hornish's flight didn't make it in time. However, the police escort to the speedway took only a few minutes and Hornish arrived as the invocation was being given.

The team didn't fare well - a blown tire cost them any chance of a respectable finish and they left Daytona with a 33rd-place finish.

Allmendinger did not issue a statement and has until Tuesday afternoon to give permission for the "B" sample to be tested. If the results return with a different result, Allmendinger will be reinstated. If those results also turn out positive, the young driver will be terminated indefinitely. He will then have to undergo a rehabilitation program and apply for reinstatement with NASCAR.

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