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Allmendinger drug test found 'stimulant'

11 July 2012

A representative for AJ Allmendinger has disclosed further information about the circumstances behind the positive random drug test result that has seen the Sprint Cup regular placed on temporary NASCAR suspension, saying that Allmendinger tested slightly over the allowed limit for an unspecified 'stimulant'.

"In an effort to help our colleagues in the media report on this in a timely and accurate manner, we wanted to provide some additional details regarding AJ's sample 'A' test results," said a statement from Tara Ragan, vice president of Walldinger Racing Inc. and the driver's business manager.

"AJ tested positive for a stimulant," the statement revealed. "He has no idea why the first test was positive, and he has never knowingly taken any prohibited substance," the statement read.

"AJ is collecting his medicines and supplements for testing to determine whether an over-the-counter product caused his positive test," said Ragan, adding: "Our understanding is that AJ's test was slightly above the threshold."

The exact identity of the detected stimulant was not disclosed. NASCAR's drugs policy uses the description of banned stimulants as being "amphetamine, methamphetamine, Ecstasy (MDMA), Eve (MDEA), MDA, PMA, Phentermine, and other amphetamine derivatives and related compounds."

That would appear to make it unlikely that the test results were affected by caffeine-based products and normal commercially-available sports power drinks, many of which are or have been big sponsors of NASCAR and other sports teams including Red Bull, Monster Energy and 5-Hour Energy. Allmendinger himself signed up as a brand ambassador for the new Fuel in a Bottle range of energy and protein drinks from Coca-Cola subsidiary BYB Brands, Inc. in March.

"AJ and all of us at Walldinger Racing respect NASCAR's testing program, and he has requested that his 'B' sample be tested as part of the process of getting to the bottom of this," said Ragan. "We will have the opportunity to review all of the scientific data surrounding the test following the 'B' sample test."

The statement from Walldinger Racing Inc. concluded: "Thanks again for all of the support of our fans, team, and sponsors as we continue working through the process."

After he was put on temporary suspension on Saturday afternoon, Allmendinger had to be replaced behind the wheel of the #22 Shell/Pennzoil Penske Racing car at very short notice for the Coke Zero 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Daytona International Speedway by Sam Hornish Jr.

Team owner Roger Penske told radio interviewers on Tuesday that, "We're standing behind him until we understand the results," adding: "I'm hoping that the second test will find him clean and we can move on from this situation."

It has already been confirmed that Hornish will continue to substitute for Allmendinger at this weekend's race in New Hampshire, while tests are conducted on a second 'B' urine sample taken at the same time as the first, on June 29 at Kentucky Speedway. The 'B' sample is intended to ensure there has been no mixup or mistake in the original result, and to allow the driver and his legal and medical representatives to observe the testing process.

The exact timing of when this new test at Aegis Sciences Corporation in Nashville, Tenn. will take place is not yet known: "As of this morning, we have not been given notice of when the testing of the 'B' sample will take place," said Ragan.

Allmendinger's suspension remains temporary pending the 'B' sample results. A negative result would allow him to return to competition, while a second positive result would see him put on indefinite suspension. That would last until such time as he completed a mandatory bespoke 'Road to Recovery' program, unless he was able to persuade NASCAR's medical review officer that there is an alternative acceptable explanation for the result.

The first NASCAR driver to test positive under the new random drug testing system was Jeremy Mayfield in 2009. He denied using methamphetamine and said that the positive result was due to a combination of an over-the-counter allergy medication together with a prescription drug for attention deficit disorder, but he lost his appeal and remains on suspension to this day.


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