NASCAR has temporarily suspended Sprint Cup driver AJ Allmendinger, 30, after he failed a random drug test.
Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR’s senior vice president of competition, made the announcement Saturday, an hour and a half before the start of the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway.
O’Donnell, who did not take questions from reporters, issued a brief prepared statement, saying that Allmendinger’s "A" sample tested positive and "pursuant to the rule book, Allmendinger has the opportunity to request within the next 72 hours that his ‘B’ sample be tested.”
The test was administered by NASCAR last weekend during the Sprint Cup Series event at Kentucky Speedway.
As cars were being readied for the starting grid for the Coke Zero 400, Allmendinger’s Penske Racing team was working frantically in the garage putting in a new seat in the No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Dodge so Sam Hornish Jr. could drive the car.
Hornish, the 2006 Indy 500 winner, competed in Friday’s Nationwide Series race for the team and had to fly back to Daytona on Saturday afternoon, team president Tim Cindric told The Associated Press.
Cindric is in Toronto with the organization’s IndyCar team, and legendary team owner Roger Penske was returning from Europe, according to AP.
Penske Racing released a statement via Twitter saying it "fully supports" NASCAR’s "strict drug testing program." And the team "will work with NASCAR through this process and its next steps.”
Allmendinger, whose best finish in the marquee Cup series was as runner-up at Martinsville, Va., in April, had qualified eighth for the Daytona race.
This is only the second time a Sprint Cup Series driver has tested positive for a banned substance. Jeremy Mayfield was suspended indefinitely after failing a drug test in 2009.