NASCAR should reveal Allmendinger's offense

Associated Press Modified: July 9, 2012 at 8:01 pm •  Published: July 9, 2012
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — There are a lot of questions surrounding AJ Allmendinger after a failed drug test got him suspended.

The biggest?

What exactly did he do?

NASCAR, per its policy established in 2009, did not reveal the substance found in a positive test late last month.

That lack of transparency is harmful to both NASCAR and, potentially, to the 30-year-old Allmendinger, who is just the second Sprint Cup Series driver suspended since the policy went into effect.

NASCAR's not alone in its decision to keep the information confidential. The NFL and NHL do not reveal the substance, and the NBA only announces the drug if it's a performance enhancer.

Major League Baseball's new agreement with the player's union calls for the substance to be released in positive tests for players with major league contracts, and the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency reveals the substance — as it did Monday when it said U.S. national team goalkeeper Hope Solo tested positive last month for a banned diuretic.

But in NASCAR, where drivers race bumper-to-bumper at speeds up to 200 mph, nothing is said beyond the announcement of the positive test and the ensuing suspension. It was only through a lengthy legal battle with Jeremy Mayfield that NASCAR revealed in court documents that the first driver suspended under the policy had tested positive for methamphetamines.

Driving a race car under the influence of meth is bad. It's dangerous. And, at minimum, the 42 other drivers on track with Mayfield deserved to know about the hazards they may have faced.

Now Allmendinger is out, learning Saturday that a random test conducted June 29 had come back positive for a banned substance. He was suspended hours before Saturday night's race at Daytona, and his Penske Racing team said Monday that Sam Hornish Jr. will drive Allmendinger's No. 22 Dodge this weekend at New Hampshire.

The decision to move forward with Hornish came before the situation is even close to being resolved. NASCAR on Monday received a request for Allmendinger's "B'' urine sample to be tested. If the "B'' sample comes back positive, the suspension becomes indefinite.

There are only two ways for Allmendinger to get back on the race track: either the "B'' sample must pass the test or he must complete a recovery and rehabilitation program designed by Aegis Sciences Corp. in Nashville, Tenn.

But what is it that Allmendinger has tested positive for? Is it meth like Mayfield? A prescription drug? A supplement bought over the counter? Booze?

Nobody knows, everyone is trying to guess and the answer is critical to Allmendinger's career.

NASCAR is unlike any other sport in that corporate sponsorship is critical for a driver to have any sort of success. Companies that shell out millions of dollars rate marketability and personality as high as they rate talent, and they aren't going to align themselves with drug users.

So Allmendinger's reputation takes an instant and immediate hit because NASCAR hasn't said what he's done wrong. Penske Racing officials have also stayed silent, and Allmendinger has said nothing publicly since Saturday.

His longtime business manager told The Associated Press on Monday that Allmendinger, whom she described as so "health conscious" was "shell-shocked" by the positive test.



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