Penske stands behind suspended driver Allmendinger
Team owner Roger Penske says driver AJ Allmendinger will be back for the next Sprint Cup race if he is reinstated by NASCAR.
Allmendinger was suspended about 90 minutes before the race at Daytona International Speedway on July 7 after a urine sample taken the previous weekend at Kentucky Speedway came back positive for what his team identified only as a stimulant.
"We're standing behind A.J," Penske said before the NASCAR race on Sunday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. "Hopefully, we'll know something in the next week to 10 days. Our goal is, hopefully, that he'll be fine and he'll be back in the car in the next race. We have nothing else we can do. It's entirely in the hands of NASCAR."
Allmendinger's "A" sample tested positive and a "B" sample is to be tested with his toxicologist present.
The next race is July 29 at Indianapolis.
Allmendinger, 30, "is an independent contractor and he has a requirement under NASCAR's program to take these tests periodically," Penske said. "We have a (drug testing) policy within our company.
"To me, it's business and I said to him that if this goes the wrong way, that there are people bigger than he is that have had issues they had to deal with. He's strong and he's a young man and we'll help him work through it."
Allmendinger is driving for Penske on a one-year contract with an option for 2013.
"His option doesn't come until later in the year and, obviously, we'd have to evaluate that with all the circumstances at that point," Penske said. "We've made no commitment now."
Sam Hornish Jr., driving full time for Penske in the second-tier Nationwide Series, where he is fourth in the season points, replaced Allmendinger at Daytona. He also filled in on Sunday, finishing 22nd.
Penske said it would be a personal thrill if Hornish moves back to Sprint Cup, where he had little success in an earlier three-year stint, and becomes a contender.
"We've invested a lot of time and effort together," Penske said. "We'd like to take him to the (Indianapolis) speedway where he won (the Indy 500) in 2006, back where he's got a good car and confidence."