Wednesday, July 25, 2012

AJ Allmendinger "B" Sample Fails: Updated

Tuesday evening just prior to 9PM ET a press release was forwarded to the media from NASCAR. Here is the copy:

"AJ Allmendinger, driver of the No. 22 car in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, has been suspended indefinitely from NASCAR for violating the sanctioning body’s substance abuse policy."

On July 24,Allmendinger was found to have violated Sections 12-1 (actions detrimental to stock car racing) and 19 (NASCAR’s substance abuse policy) of the 2012 NASCAR rule book.

As outlined in the rule book, NASCAR next will provide Allmendinger a letter outlining a process for reinstatement. By agreeing to the letter, he will be allowed to participate in the Road to Recovery Program.

The surprise in this announcement was that both Allmendinger's spokespeople and many media members had been relating that the results of this test would not be available until late Wednesday or early Thursday. The timing of this announcement, long after regular business hours on the East Coast, is just as awkward as the original notice of a substance abuse policy violation only hours before a Sprint Cup Series race.
At 9:45PM, ESPN's Marty Smith passed this along on Twitter: Allmendinger's agent stated the sample was "within nanograms" of accepted tolerance. (That) they're unsure whether to fight or do NASCAR recovery program.

Minutes later a full statement was released at 10PM ET from Tara Ragan, AJ's longtime business manager. It reads:

"Aegis Analytical Laboratories in Nashville has delivered the results of the 'B' sample test for Penske Racing driver AJ Allmendinger, which confirmed the results of the 'A" test"

"This was not the news we wanted to hear and we will work to get to the source of what may have caused this. To that end, we have secured the services of an independent lab to conduct thorough testing on every product within AJ's home and motor coach to find what might collaborate with his test, which created results that were within nanograms of accepted standards. We are working closely with NASCAR and Penske Racing to identify the next action steps in this process."

"We continue to be extremely grateful by the breadth and scope of support for AJ from his fans and partners. We would like to again thank NASCAR, Penske Racing and all our sponsor partners for the open communication, and for helping us at every step in this process. We expect to have further updates in the upcoming days."

The next stop for Ragan was the SiriusXM Radio NASCAR channel. She repeated the content of her statement but then answered the question most fans and media have been asking.

SiriusXM radio: Do you have any plays to reveal what the substance is?

Ragan: It’s a good question. I don’t have the answer to that right now. I agree with you. It matters to us. It matters to him. I think, for sure, you’re right, there are things that have various connotations to them. We want to get to the bottom of it. I believe that will be the case. Until I get the secondary report and we do that with the lab, which is going to start first thing in the morning. again it’s kind of like a needle in the haystack, so I don’t really know what it is we’re looking for what it is that we’ve got.’’

The paragraph above was transcribed and made available by reporter Dustin Long of and Athlon Sports. Thanks to him for the content.

Wednesday brings a 3PM version of the NASCAR Now program on ESPN2 and a 6PM live Race Hub program over on SPEED. It should be interesting to watch how these two very different networks approach the issue.

Ms. Ragan has been a public relations professional throughout this ordeal and often allows facts to emerge by simply disclosing others. In saying Allmendinger was slightly over the limit for a stimulant, she pushes aside the issue of illegal drugs and alcohol. By controlling the information flow and not allowing Allmendinger to speak with the media she removes the potential for his words to take on different meaning. That potential was on display with the Jeremy Mayfield suspension and subsequent media mayhem.

Update: Early Wednesday morning Allmendinger took to Twitter for some messages. Here they are:

"I just want to say thank you first and foremost for all of u sticking by me. Please dont think me being (silent) means i havent been reading all ur support."

"And man, it means more than u will ever know. Im sorry we even have to have this going on. But i promise ..i will do whatever it Takes to get to the bottom of this and get back our there no matter what. Thanks guys."
This post will continue to be updated on Wednesday with whatever information becomes available. In the meantime, we invite your opinion on this topic. Comments may be moderated prior to posting.


Roadgeek Adam said...

Well, balls. I was so hoping this would not be the result.

Bye A.J. :( - I was so hoping to cheer your first win.

Colorado said...

Good Christ. Has Brian France lost his mind? This policy makes everyone out to be a dope dealer.He's confidant? That the policy is a good one? He's in London, so of course it makes sense that a stock car president is in London, when his sport is in Indy, one of the biggest events of the year. I hate drugs, and I'll be the first to say, Burn druggies down, but I think this is s**t. I wonder what Brian tests positive for? Or maybe that's why he's doing this, to take the spotlight off of his drug use. JD, you can not post my blog, that's fine, but I know what I know.

Anonymous said...

Pretty predictable result considering it was the same overall sample being tested in presumeably the same lab.The only real way they were going to get a overturned result was with a complete re-test,but this may have been AJ's only option.Fuel in a bottle,huh?Im not even going to go anywhere with that.


AveryNH said...

I hope this isn't the end for AJ. Pretty sad he has to go to rehab for what we presume is an energy drink. Really hope both parties can learn from this debacle. Such a shame.

red said...

@Colorado: I'm not in any way defending Brian France but he's in London representing NASCAR at the Beyond Sports Summit. Since he rarely attends races during the year, why suppose he would attend Indy anyway?

As for the balance of your comment: what Brian France may or may not be taking is irrelevant since he is not working on or driving a race car. All the men who have been busted by the NASCAR drug testing policy were either driving or working on a race vehicle at the time of the positive test. AJ is just the latest.

Which leads to this: where was the outrage from fans about the testing policy when all the others were suspended?

For me, as I've said before: it's about the science. Take the personality out of the situation and look at the science of the event. The sample was tested twice; each time, it came back over the accept tolerances for something. How far over is irrelevant: it was over.

And before someone gets all "kinicker twisted" about it: while a nanogram is, indeed, very small, it is chemically significant in the level of testing being done. It matters. A Lot.

I like AJ & I hate seeing this result. I personally hope he can prove that there was some sort of freak contamination of whatever supplements he was taking. But the realist in me says that's a very, very long shot.

red said...

@AveryNH: I'm not understanding where the "debacle" is in all this. I'm not presuming the positive test is the result of an energy drink -- and frankly, neither should anyone else. That is a supposition and until/unless AJ decides to reveal what stimulant, exactly, he tested positive for, it's not right to condemn the test as being "just for an energy drink."

In fact, NASCAR defines stimulants as “amphetamine, methamphetamine, Ecstasy (MDMA), Eve (MDEA), MDA, PMA, Phentermine, and other amphetamine derivatives and related compounds.”

So, we can also "presume" that AJ was busted for one of the above stimulants as much as we could for "an energy drink."

Here's what can be learned from this (as from all the other positive drug tests that have happened in NASCAR):
-> NASCAR does random drug tests on a regular basis
-> Test positive on both A and B sample and you're suspended indefinitely
-> Therefore, to keep the right to work in NASCAR, don't use drugs.
-> If you have ANY concerns about anything you're taking, follow Jeff Burton's and Jimmie Johnson's strategy and get everything OK'd BEFORE you take it.

larry said...

Aegis had a vested interest in the test being positive. It should have been performed by an independent 3rd party.

Meanwhile, I couldn't care less. NASCAR had no credibility left to lose in my mind.

Sophia said...

Yea it's a long shot to fight his way back.

hard to tell what he tested positive for.

Denial is the biggest symptom for any abuse so trying to deny even to justify never wins you any friends. The tests tell the story if the tests are indeed, foolproof.

I'm just so leery of ALL OTC "Energy drinks" Bad for the heart to name just one thing. I'd never take one even if given a court order. You never know what's in 'each bottle'. Many natural stimulants cola nut, mau hauang (sp) others can stress cortisol leves and make you dump extress stress in your urine so I'm still not buying the supplement is NOT the issue. But no matter what, I want AJ to get it together for his own sense of self.

AJ Foyt wants AJ back in OW. Get yourself together AJ Dinger and go back to Foyt. He's a tough old bird. He won't take any crap and calls it like he sees it.

Hate seeing this happen but I guess we knew this would happen with the same sample.

Fed UP said...

Not surprising that both samples came back.

The thing for AJ to do is to seriously consider going the program if he wants his career back.

I just hope that his employer stands behind him and offers their support.

Anonymous said...

I hope AJ uses this opportunity to turn it around. He may be screwed as far as having a racing career or a top rid but he does have a long life ahead of him. The quiet can be deafening, but it can provide perspective. I hope he can see that.

I did happen to see the tail end of a 5 hour Energy commercial yesterday with someone sitting next to a couple of feet of paper that I believe were testimonials and stating that the product was clean.

So, there is some backlash and at least 1 company is running scared.

Ancient Racer said...

This is sad, but not unexpected as has been said.

I, too, have been impressed with the way Ms. Ragan has managed the situation on behalf of AJ.

I am also pleased with the professional behaviour of the Penske Racing organization in the face of this situation.

I am also pleased with the racing media to date. With few exceptions they have taken a wait and see approach without pre-judging and none has, apparently, gone off the reservation searching for dirt or trying to cultivate a leak.

I am pleased the samples will now be tested by an independent lab with the caveat that I hope the independent lab is "blind" in the sense they do not have access to the particulars of the results from Aegis while having full access to the particulars of Aegis' methodology and testing protocols.

I am NOT (OK, so what's new here?) pleased with The Palace. I could care less where Brian The Clueless is physically, in fact the further away the better, or what he may or may not do personally. It was not he who released the information at 9pm ET (3am in the UK btw). I do not know who authorised it and its timing but I would think Prime Minister Helton was somewhere about. Whoever did it was a poor move.

Once upon a time, and yes, I did it myself, dropping information that late could serve a purpose as it would help to keep a full blown report out of the morning papers. But that is a technique everyone I know of who knows the media business well gave up years ago as the 24 hour news cycle dawned. Now, with Twitter, etc., a story dropped in the night hits HARDER in the morning -- though one could argue that is what NASCAR's object was in doing it. Either way The Palace looks bad: One the one had they look dumb and on the other they look too clever by half. And while I am on the subject of NASCAR just who came up with the "Road to Recovery" name? While it may be cast as appropriate it is cutesy-poo to the point of nausea.

Now, we wait a little longer for the independent lab and I am fine with that. In the meantime were I in AJ's camp I would advise undertaking public preparations to enter the prescribed treatment regime on the grounds it may become necessary to complete it so why waste time, and besides, even if he is not forced to go one is never harmed by learning opportunities.

I have much more to say on the subject of "Zero Tolerance" policies as policies, but I shall let that rest for now.

Anonymous said...

Aegis had a vested interest in the test being positive.

What a bunch of hoo-haa. Aegis is a federally accredited lab. Any tampering with results would not only put them out of business, but would subject the company to federal criminal charges. The fact is that Aegis uses advanced testing techniques and has NEVER had a test overturned.

Anonymous said...

I think we all expected "B" sample to come back positive... Hopefully AJ, his "camp, Roger Penske, along with NASCAR can/will work through this and have AJ driving again ASAP....

Anonymous said...

I have already mentioned this before,but to enlighten everbody i will quote to word a article from the 2010 Athlon Sports Racing Preview Magazine.It is actually part of a series they do every year called "13 tough questions and the politically incorrect anwers".

"What's to come in the sordid tale of Jeremy Mayfield?
The answer may begin to play itself out in september,the earliest Mayfield's suit against NASCAR could go to trial.Mayfield,who failed a random drug test at richmond last may,continues to plead his innocence in the matter,claiming that a mixture of the prescription drug Adderal and Claritin-D showed up as a false positive for methamphetamines.Mayfield took another test at NASCAR's request after a bizarre series of events that ultimately led to another positive result.Mayfield also produced negative results through an independent lab and claimed that NASCAR was using his case as a warning to others on the circuit as to how it would handle such offenses.NASCAR's drug policy is more of an outline,not citing what substances(prescription or otherwise)are banned,causing drivers to demand that a list be made available to them after Mayfield's first failed test--the fear being that an over-the-counter medication such as Claritin-D (a NASCAR sponsor)could trigger a false positive.NASCAR CEO Brian France countered that there was a list that drivers could ask to see,although with ever-evolving performance-enhancing drugs,the list would never be absolute.NASCAR,of course,prefers to keep its dirty laundry in the hamper,and other than the Mauricia Grant sexual and racial discrimination suit that was settled out of court last year,this has the potential to be the most damaging case against it.NASCAR is a privately owned business that doesn't have to open its books to anyone--unless the courts demand to see certain personal and business information in a hearing,making that information available to the public.In short,this case going to trial is a nightmare scenario for NASCAR--not because it's afraid of losing to Mayfield,but because the public would get a look behind the curtain.And all indications are Mayfield will fight this to the bitter end".

Another unrelated(but still important)article in the 2011 magazine has another intresting part that i will quote.
"Considering NASCAR's inauspicious history with penalty calls,it's no surprise that this breeds suspicion in a transparent world where Wikileaks,Facebook and Deadspin feed the public's desire to know.For generations that's how the France family has run NASCAR,a family owned dictatorship with more secrets than Nixon and Watergate.But that needs to stop,pronto,if the sport wants to stop the bleeding of angry fans and nose-diving attendance.It's time to drop the act,open the books and work to ensure that fans can believe the legitimacy of official's calls".

As you can see,there are some clear reasons(none of them good)why NASCAR is the only "major sport"that takes the confidential approach when it comes to drug testing,and its why,on top of everything else,this whole thing stinks.He may not be able to do anything about his suspenion,but if i were AJ,i would fight this to death,It's high time us fans got to see what goes on behind the curtain and see the organization's dirty little secrets(WHEW that's a lot of typing!).


AveryNH said...

I just wish this wasn't all speculation on what he took that resulted in this failed test and that we had actual facts to go by instead of assumptions. Either way this should be a learning experience for all parties involved. When in doubt, ASK!!

Anonymous said...

Has anbody been(im not on twitter but i have been looking at his tweets)following Jeff Gluck?Apparently his dad tweeted(then deleted it)that "My son never has done drugs.Nascar can ---- off!!!"
There is quite(or at least was) a discussion going on over there on whether it was really him.


Anonymous said...

Mayfield said his failed tests were all a mistake as well.

Sophia said...


WOW, you triggered memories of all sorts of stuff I'd forgotten about. Mayfield ended up looking like a crook for stolen property which did not help his case. I still remember his outing his ex bosses affair that did NOT go over well. Sure, he should've kept his mouth shut but I don't know.

I'm not one to believe in conspiracy theories but am tired of the Iron Fist of NASCAR and I'd forgotten of the sexual harrassment case.

so who knows.

I worked in the drug treatment industry years ago as a volunteer and know drug/alcohol problems can happen to anybody who look "fine in public, and the workplace" from attorneys, senators, to pilots and (gasp!) surgeons. Heard many hair raising stories.

So if AJ has a problem, I won't be shocked.

If AJ is innocent, I will only be shocked how his name is getting drug through the mud in the media and this will make NASCAR lose what little credibility they have left with me.

Then again, AJ Foyt is not one to make excuses for anybody and the fact he wants AJ Allmendinger back in Open Wheel makes me think he knows something we don't know and STILL believes in AJ.

Alleged "drug screen failing" or not.

Honestly, I'm tired of this being big news and asking why I'm still commenting on this :-/

Wish we could expedite things, no matter what direction or what kind of end this truly takes.

Anonymous said...

Aside from satisfying fans' curiosity, I do not see any upside to NASCAR revealing the substance AJ tested positive for. After all, not even AJ himself wants anyone to know, otherwise he would have revealed it himself. He hasn't done so, therefore he doesn't want it known. If the driver didn't want it revealed and NASCAR did release the information, everyone would then be complaining that NASCAR doesn't respect the drivers' privacy.

GinaV24 said...

Not surprised that the B sample also failed considering they were both taken at the same time, so no reason to expect there be a different result.

If I were a driver being tested at this point, I would ask for a split sample and have it sent to an independent lab of my choosing as a precaution.

I've seen the 5 hr energy commercial, too. The one with the lady sitting next to a stack of papers saying "it's safe, don't worry, doctors will swear by it". Still not going to use it. I'll stick with Pepsi and iced tea for my caffeine load.

Sally said...

Just a question: if a drug test comes back positive, why don't they immediately ask for another sample to see if there is, indeed, an ongoing problem, or if the positive could be from something taken one time(as in an over the counter drug that could produce the positive result). While I'm not arguing with the test results, I have to assume that most drivers are tested on a somewhat regular basis, no? And isn't it tnteresting that the 'B' smaple resutls were in so quickly? Again, not disagreeing about the result, but the whole setup seems a bit draconian to me.

Ancient Racer said...

To add to what @Ginav24 said:

I've seen the 5 hr energy commercial, too. The one with the lady sitting next to a stack of papers saying "it's safe, don't worry, doctors will swear by it". Still not going to use it. I'll stick with Pepsi and iced tea for my caffeine load.

I have seen the old (print) ads from the 1930's and 40's and 1950's saying Doctors recommended this or that Cigarette -- some even as a digestion aid.

I bet @KoHoSo has some of these on his site

Anonymous said...

Does ESPN have a Re-run available on the internet of Nascar Now?I missed it.

There was a comment i was going to add on the AJ situation.

It's gone now.


Vicky D said...

Is it any surprise that these A & B samples would have different results???? Of course these two shows are acting like AJ is shooting up heroin! I feel really bad for him now.

Sally said...

@AR...just now saw the ad. What the lady says is that 73% of doctors would recommend a low calorie energy drink...NOT that they would recommend 5 Hour Energy.