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Allmendinger released by Penske Racing

It's also embarrassing for Penske Racing and its sponsor, Shell-Pennzoil, which only hired Allmendinger at the end of 2011 after parting company with the previous incumbent of the #22, Kurt Busch, after a stormy season together. To turn over two drivers in under a year in such circumstances is not a comfortable situation for a team owner who prides himself on a well-run ship.

It seems likely that the current stand-in driver in place in the #22, Sam Hornish Jr., will remain in the car for rest of the season. However, the team statement simply said that this would be the case "at Pocono this weekend and for the foreseeable future."

"We talked to the sponsor," team owner Roger Penske said of the decision to keep Hornish in place for the time being. "We think that gives us the most chance to see how Sam develops. Then as we get further down the road, if we want to make a change, we can do that."

The team added that they would be evaluating their options for the 2013 Sprint Cup season in due course.

Speaking to reporters last weekend at Indianapolis, Roger Penske had revealed that, "Quite honestly, our phone is ringing off the hook with people who are interested in the ride in the #22."

Penske had previously said that he intended to meet with Allmendinger mid-week before making the decision that was announced today. "I have a very open mind, but I want to sit down face to face with him, which is the only fair way to do it to determine what is the best thing for the team and for him," he said on Sunday before the Brickyard 400. "There are so many factors. Our policies, you have people within your company if something like this would happen, what action would you take?"

Penske had raised eyebrows by suggesting that Allmendinger was in a different situation as an "independent contractor" to that of a full time Penske staffer who would have been immediately released after a positive drugs result, but he has ultimately decided that letting Allmendinger go was the only realistic response to the situation.

"Bigger people than you have made mistakes and come back and been able to benefit from the experience and be a bigger and better person," Penske revealed that he had told Allmendinger. "I hope that he'll rebound and have a successful career because he's a terrific kid. And it almost feels like it's one of your kids. That's what makes it so tough.

"He realizes it's a serious situation," Penske added.




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)
Sam Hornish Jr. (second from right) with the managers and drivers of Penske  Racing during the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Media Tour hosted by Charlotte Motor Speedway on Thursday in Concord, NC. AJ Allemendinger is to his right followed by Brad Keselowski. Team owner Roger Penske is second from left. [Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images for NASCAR]
AJ Allmendinger meets with the press at Pocono Raceway. (Poto Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images for NASCAR)
AJ Allmendinger walking in pit lane after practice for the Sprint Cup event at Pocono. (Photo credit: Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)
Marcos Ambrose, driver of the #9 Stanley Ford, poses with his team before his last race, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 16, 2014 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images)
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Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet SS, celebrates his victory and the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship Sunday, November 16, 2014 winning the final NASCAR Sprint Cup race of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet SS finishes 2nd. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet SS, celebrates his victory and the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship Sunday, November 16, 2014 winning the final NASCAR Sprint Cup race of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet SS finishes 2nd. (Photo by Christa L Thomas/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet SS, celebrates his victory and the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship Sunday, November 16, 2014 winning the final NASCAR Sprint Cup race of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet SS finishes 2nd. (Photo by Garry Eller/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet, celebrates with the trophy in Victory Lane with team owner Dale Earnhardt jr. after winning the series championship during the NASCAR Nationwide Series Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 15, 2014 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/Getty Images for NASCAR)
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Darrell Wallace Jr., driver of the #54 ToyotaCare Toyota, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Ford EcoBoost 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 14, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Darrell Wallace Jr., driver of the #54 ToyotaCare Toyota, takes the chequered flag to win the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Ford EcoBoost 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 14, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #51 ToyotaCare Toyota, pits during the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Ford EcoBoost 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 14, 2014 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images)
Matt Crafton, driver of the #88 Jeld-Wen/Menards Toyota, and his daughter Elladee take part in pre-race ceremonies for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Ford EcoBoost 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 14, 2014 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet SS, who is in the Championship Four final phase of the Chase, qualified for 21st position Friday, November 14, 2014 for Sunday`s final NASCAR Sprint Cup race of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. Newman is 3rd in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings.(Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)

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