NASCAR Sprint Cup driver AJ Allmendinger has been released by Penske Racing in the wake of his positive drugs test result last month.
Allmendinger is currently on indefinite suspension from all NASCAR
competition following the drugs test result, and will remain so until he has undergone a mandatory 'road to recovery' rehabilitation program having waived his right of appeal over the test findings.
That's likely not to be before the end of the current season, and Allmendinger only had a one-year deal with Penske Racing in the #22 Shell-Pennzoil car.
"Penske Racing fully supports NASCAR's substance abuse policy and we are disappointed with AJ's positive drug test results," said Roger Penske in a statement released by the team on Wednesday. "The decision to dismiss him is consistent with how we would treat any other Penske Racing team member under similar circumstances."
Penske added: "AJ is a terrific driver, a good person and it is very unfortunate that we have to separate at this time. We have invested greatly in AJ and we were confident in his success with our team," he said. "As AJ begins NASCAR's 'Road to Recovery' program, we wish him the best and look forward to seeing him compete again in NASCAR."
In a separate statement, AJ Allmendinger acknowledged the decision and thanked the team for sticking by him during the testing process in July.
"Effective today, I have been released from Penske Racing as driver of the #22 Dodge Charger," he confirmed. "I wish to thank Mr. Penske, Penske Racing, their sponsors, and especially all the of the No. 22 team for the opportunity they provided me and for their support in this difficult time. I also, again, would like to thank all the fans that really have been awesome through this.
"I apologize for the distraction, embarrassment, and difficulties that my current suspension from NASCAR
has provided," he added. "As I stated last week, I have begun NASCAR's Road to Recovery program and look forward to using those resources and its completion to compete again in NASCAR
in the near future."
The news of his release from Penske Racing underlines just how difficult it will be for the 30-year-old to get back to full time competitive racing with a top team in the sport even after successfully undergoing the recovery program. Penske gave no indication that it would consider re-hiring Allmendinger in the future once he had served his suspension and finished his program.