A.J. Allmendinger is now a free agent, and the fight for the seat in the Penske Racing #22 Pennzoil Dodge can begin.
Allmendinger announced today that he was officially released by Penske Racing after testing positive for amphetamines during a random NASCAR drug test taken during the Kentucky race weekend.
Allmendinger's statment follows:
"Effective today, I have been released from Penske Racing as driver of the No. 22 Dodge Charger. I wish to thank Mr. Penske, Penske Racing, their sponsors, and especially all the of the No. 22 team for the opportunity they provided me and for their support in this difficult time. I also, again, would like to thank all the fans that really have been awesome through this.
“I apologize for the distraction, embarrassment, and difficulties that my current suspension from NASCAR has provided. As I stated last week, 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 Racing released a statement as well, saying that the positive results were a "disappointment" and that they were evaluating what their options are for the remainder of 2012 as well as 2103. The team is expected - at least in the short term - to keep Sam Hornish Jr. in the Sprint Cup car as they have done since NASCAR suspended Allmendinger on the day before the July Daytona race.
"Penske Racing fully supports NASCAR's substance abuse policy and we are disappointed with AJ's positive drug test results," said Roger Penske. "AJ is a terrific driver, a good person and it is very unfortunate that we have to separate at this time. We have invested greatly in AJ and we were confident in his success with our team. The decision to dismiss him is consistent with how we would treat any other Penske Racing team member under similar circumstances. As AJ begins NASCAR's ‘Road to Recovery' program, we wish him the best and look forward to seeing him compete again in NASCAR."