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Allmendinger starts 'road to recovery'

Suspended Sprint Cup driver AJ Allmendinger has waived his right of appeal and said that he will start on the mandatory 'road to recovery' programme with immediate effect.
Sprint Cup driver AJ Allmendinger will not appeal the positive result in a random drugs test that has seen him suspended indefinitely from all NASCAR competition, and has said that he will immediately start the mandatory 'road to recovery' treatment and rehabiliation program he needs to successfully undertake before he can be reinstated.

"He's officially on the 'road to recovery,'" NASCAR spokesman David Higdon said on Wednesday. "In fact he just signed this afternoon [the] letter that provides him the first steps," he said.

By signing the letter, Allmendinger accepts the drug test findings and waives his right to an appeal under NASCAR's substance abuse rules.

“We're very pleased that AJ Allmendinger has chosen to participate in the NASCAR Road to Recovery program,” NASCAR's official statement on the matter said. "It's designed, as proven, to provide a roadmap leading to a return to competition, and we wish him the best of luck. As we have with other competitors, we look forward to the day when the program administrator recommends him for reinstatement.”

Allmendinger's business representative explained why the driver had decided to act quickly to sign up for the program, even while some aspects of the drugs findings remain unclear.

“We made the decision this morning to do that, and exhaust every resource that we can, including those that have been given to us by NASCAR, so that we can make that process as quick as possible,” said Tara Ragan, the vice president of Walldinger Racing Inc. “We didn't want to wait. We've already lost a lot of very valuable time. We didn't want to sit here and wait."

There's still some confusion over whether the precise nature of the substance that caused Allmendinger's positive result, with different media sources carrying different stories. In some, Ragan appears to be waiting for confirmation from NASCAR as to the substance involved, while in others she is reported as confirming that it was an amphetamine.

"It was not cocaine, not ecstasy, not marijuana, not alcohol. Those are not stimulants. Not methamphetamine. The test does show that it wasn't any of those," Ragan told SPEED TV channel's NASCAR magazine show. “There are things we know that it's not. We haven't been informed yet of what it is.”

NASCAR's David Higdon insisted that individuals found to have violated NASCAR's banned-substance list are informed of “the exact substance that he or she has tested positive for," in the letter that they receive formally notifying them of the positive finding.




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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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