A.J. Allmendinger Suspended For failed Drug
Tony Stewart said that the last few laps of the Coke Zero 400 was like a Figure 8 race. Indeed, it looked as though the Sprint Cup drivers were set to wreck at any moment.
The cars had not even made it out of the garages before the fuse was lit. Roughly an hour or so before the scheduled dropping of the green flag, NASCAR’s president of racing operations, Steve O’ddonnell called a press conference and only moments after notifying Penske Racing and the #22 team, announced that the driver of the #22 car, A.J. Allmendinger had been given a urine drug screen earlier in the week and the results tested positive for a controlled substance.
The actual drug/drugs in question had not been announced, yet the result of the test was a violation of NASCAR’s Substance Abuse Policy and an immediate suspension of A.J. Allmendinger.
With the Coke Zero 400 only an hour away from green, this left Penske and the #22 team scrambling for a replacement. They quickly got a hold of an already experienced Sprint Cup driver and seasoned IRL series Champion Sam Hornish Jr., who at the time was on a lake with his kids.
He dropped everything and hurried to meet the Penske plane that would bring him to the track. Meantime, in case Hornish didn’t make the 7:50pm deadline, while crews on the #22 went to work switching out the ‘molded to fit’ driver’s seat and adjust the three foot pedals to better fit Hornish, veteran Cup racer and current Nationwide regular, Kenny Wallace, brother of former Sprint Cup driver Rusty Wallace, was being called to the Penske #22 trailer for standby.
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