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Penske team 'not in loop' on Allmendinger

"Right now, you get to the point after the initial shock where you're trying to figure out what strategy there is for going forward," he added. "And you want to make sure that whatever cards you play, you play them in the right order."

During earlier media opportunities at Loudon, Brad Keselowski had been quoted as saying that as far as the 'B' test goes it would make no difference to the harm that would be done to his team mate's NASCAR career: "Whether it comes back positive or negative, it doesn't make a difference. It's still a death sentence," he said.

Cindric didn't agree. "Brad's always going to give you his opinion. You've got to love him for that. It's his opinion," he said. "I think that's a bit harsh. From our end, if we felt like that was it, we wouldn't be talking about it."

But there was no doubt that the situation with the #22 had attracted a huge amount of attention from other drivers in pit road searching for a strong Cup seat for 2013, with Penske's Nationwide Series regular driver Sam Hornish Jr. recruited as a temporary stand-in for Daytona and New Hampshire but nothing certain beyond that while Allmendinger's status is still up in the air.

"All of a sudden you're the prettiest girl in town as far as other drivers are concerned," agreed Cindric. "I think we've said that we have a solution. Luckily, we have Sam and we have the depth and we're going to give him the opportunity and play this thing week by week."

Describing Hornish's unexpected extra Cup runs in the #22 as an opportunity rather than a tryout for the driver, Cindric suggested that Hornish might have been rushed too quickly into Sprint Cup competition in 2008 direct from his former career in IndyCar, and that he was a stronger driver now for having more experience - which might make it the right time for him to return to fulltime Cup racing.

"Roger has maybe taken a shot at himself and wondered if we put him in there too early," said Cindric, referring to team owner Roger Penske. "[Sam] has had a chance to step back and I think he's really watched the way Brad's been able to battle through adversity. I think that's one of Brad's strongest suits. When things don't go very well, he makes hay out of it rather than making a hole in the ground."

But for now, Cindric and Penske have a little breathing space before they're required to make their next tough decisions on the stewardship of the #22, with Cup racing heading into a rare weekend off before the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 29.

"The good thing is that we've got next week off," agreed Cindric. "It helps us going into Indy to let it all play out and figure out what's next."




Related Pictures

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Sam Hornish Jr., driver of the #22 Shell/Pennzoil Dodge, walks on the grid after NASCAR announced that AJ Allmendinger was temporarily suspended prior to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coke Zero 400 Powered by Coca-Cola at Daytona International Speedway on Saturday in Daytona Beach, Fla. Sam Hornish Jr. was Allmendinger replacement for the Coke Zero 400. (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
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