Allmendinger released from Penske Racing

This combo shows the drivers in the starting field for the Daytona 500 NASCAR auto race at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla., Thursday, Feb. 5, 2009. The drivers are, Row 10; Paul Menard, A.J. Allmendinger, Row 11; Jamie McMurray, Clin

A week after Sprint Cup driver A.J. Allmendinger failed a second urine sample, Penske Racing announced Wednesday the former Hollister resident will be released from his contract.

Allmendinger, driver of the No. 22 Pennzoil car, was suspended indefinitely last week after he tested positive for amphetamines in a second drug test. He was originally suspended temporarily before a July 7 race at Daytona International Speedway.

“Penske Racing fully supports NASCAR’s substance abuse policy and we are disappointed with A.J.’s positive drug test results,” owner Roger Penske said. “A.J. 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 A.J. and we were confident in his success with our team. The decision to dismiss him is consistent with how we would treat any other Penske Racing team member under similar circumstances.”

In a statement on Allmendinger’s website, the driver apologized for his actions.

“I apologize for the distraction, embarrassment and difficulties that my current suspension from NASCAR has provided,” he said “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.”

Allmendinger joined NASCAR’s “Road to Recovery” program after testing positive in his ‘B’ sample last week. The program is a necessary step to become eligible for reinstatement back into NASCAR. The recovery program includes counseling, rehabilitation and further testing, according to NASCAR’s website.

There is no time table for a return from the recovery plan.

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