Series drivers speak out on A.J. Allmendinger suspension

Eric Mauk

As A.J. Allmendinger continues to contest his positive drug test many of the top drivers in NASCAR addressed the suspension of their compatriot after today’s qualifying at Loudon.

The majority of them expressed shock at the fact that Allmendinger would be on the wrong end of a drug suspension, and would like to know for sure how he got there.

Story Highlights

  • Drivers were surprised that Allmendinger would fail a drug screen
  • NASCAR protocol means that most drivers check all supplements with the series
  • Drivers believe in the testing process - for the most part

That is not in AJ Allmendinger’s character so I don’t know what is going on there,” said reigning NASCAR champion Tony Stewart. “It’s unfortunate because he’s a good guy and he’s a really good race car driver so I mean I would say there is probably a logical explanation for it.”

“I think you always wonder and you’re never really sure until it all comes out, and especially on the person who tested on the positive side,” said Matt Kenseth. “If or when they ever come out and say what they did or didn’t do, or how it happened, I think you’d feel better, so I think you’ve got to let some time pass until everything comes out. They get the B sample done and maybe AJ talks and you hear what it was, maybe that will clear everything up and, then again, maybe it won’t – maybe you’ll never know.”

If Allmendinger is guilty of anything, according to the veteran drivers polled yesterday, it is of the crime of not following protocol and not taking the time to make sure that everything he put in his body – supplement, energy drink or vitamin – would not cause him to test positive.

“I go ask questions,” said Dale Earnhardt Jr. “If you are curious about anything I think the policy to be able to go up in that hauler and ask anybody what you want to know is been always pretty good for me. I’ve never been turned away, never felt like I didn’t get an honest answer or feel better when I walked out of there.”

I assume, although I don’t have any answers or don’t know anything about this particular incident. I have to believe that they are making the right calls and the right choices and there is a reason to make the call they made.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. about the A.J. Allmendinger drug test result

“Prior to taking supplements I worked out the list that I wanted to take and submitted it and four or five days later I heard back that everything was approved,” reported five-time champion Jimmie Johnson. “At the start of each year when we get our physicals, I make sure I lay out anything. I think I’ve had some prescription changes mid-season, and I make sure that I file those as well.”

But despite thoughts that Allmendinger is not the sort of person to take something illegal, and that he might have been guilty of a sin of omission, his fellow drivers appeared to have strong faith in the NASCAR system.

“I’m certain that as big and structured an organization as NASCAR is and the agency they have that works with them on their drug program, they can’t afford to make any mistakes,” Earnhardt said. “I assume, although I don’t have any answers or don’t know anything about this particular incident. I have to believe that they are making the right calls and the right choices and there is a reason to make the call they made. You just have to believe in it that they are doing what’s right and they aren’t making any mistakes. I mean they can’t afford to so you just have to assume the best.”

“Obviously the test came back with something positive,” said four-time series champion Jeff Gordon. “So, I have pretty strong faith in that system that when it happens, that they’re right. But what could have caused it? Is it something very minor that could have caused it or is it yeah, somebody made a mistake or that it definitely should have shown up that way.”

Although NASCAR’s testing is a tried-and-true method and the drivers that live with it are as confident in it as they are with their own abilities – at least recognized that something could have gone wrong in the testing procedure.

“Let’s be honest, it’s an imperfect world,” said Carl Edwards. “People are imperfect. Tests are imperfect. The people who make different products sometimes use factories – one of the first things my trainer told me when he started working with me is he said, ‘Be careful. Anything you ingest is made somewhere and you don’t know what that factory was making the day before it made the product you’re using.”

Edwards went a step farther and suggested that the drivers could band together and come up with a program of their own that might eliminate the doubt.

“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. I don’t think it would be a contentious thing, I think that would remove almost all doubt in any situation of a positive test. If a driver had someone that they could go to and say, ‘Hey look, this is my representative. They tested at the same time on the same day and we have this result.’ If the results are the same, obviously I think we’d all agree that it was a positive, and if they’re different, I think it would give a different perspective. But I think until we do that, no matter what is found to be positive, no matter what the test results are, there is always gonna be that little question of, ‘Maybe there was a mistake.’”

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt Jr. , Jeff Gordon , Matt Kenseth , Tony Stewart , Jimmie Johnson , A.J. Allmendinger , Carl Edwards
Article type Analysis
Tags allmendinger, earnhardt, edwards, featured, kenseth, loudon, mauk, nascar, stewart