Monday, August 13, 2012

Special: A Bitter Pill To Swallow

A popular nickname for the prescription drug Adderall is "college crack." Students use it as a pick-me-up that aids in staying focused for a long period of time. That makes some sense, since the drug was originally created to help control Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD.)

Adderall comes in both capsule and pill form, as shown above. It's easy to get illegally and has become one of the most widely-abused forms of prescription medication on college campuses. Away from studying, Adderall is also a hit in bars. Used for its mood-heightening and energy-adding effects, it makes users feel euphoric and takes away reality for a while. Hardcore users crush the pills and snort them like cocaine.

On Tuesday ESPN's Marty Smith posted an interview with suspended NASCAR driver AJ Allmendinger. For the first time, Allmendinger disclosed his belief that his positive drug test was triggered by Adderall. On the Wednesday before the Kentucky race, Allmendinger says he ingested one pill given to him in the early evening by an unnamed friend while out on the town.

He later stated in other interviews that he had never done drugs and did not even know what an amphetamine was when told of his violation. He said only by retracing his steps that week did he discover that the friend had given him a prescription Adderall pill that matched the the type of drug Aegis Labs advised him had caused the violation. The friend was never identified.

So, the scenario put to the media is that while feeling tired, Allmendinger took one Adderall pill early on Wednesday evening thinking it was an energy supplement. Allmendinger felt nothing strange after taking it and on Friday afternoon he was given and subsequently failed a standard NASCAR random urine test. That story is tough to swallow.

The curious thing is that something else has emerged from his recent media interviews that perhaps paints a better picture of the situation. Despite having nothing to do with taking a random pill in a bar, Allmendinger has been speaking about his mental and emotional health.

In a Wednesday interview with reporter Bob Dillner shown on SPEED's RaceHub show, Allmendinger again referenced his struggle to deal with the world around him. "Things felt like they were spinning out of control," he told Dillner. "I've struggled for six years and haven't been happy."

Allmendinger told Lee Spencer at FOX Sports that his life was a disaster. "I’ve been through hell, I’ve created my own hell and I’m going through it," he said. "I’m still trying to figure out life in general."

In his interview with Smith, Allmendinger again said he had let things in his life get out of control. "It (NASCAR) has made me lose who I am," he said. "It is the most grueling thing I have ever had in my life."

These comments don't come from a person who took a random pill in a bar. They come from someone who is in big trouble. They come from someone who is screaming for help. They come from someone who is still at risk. They come from someone who may secretly be having very bad thoughts about life.

Aegis Lab is happy. The tests were right, the results were verified. NASCAR is happy. The violator is in the program, checks-in every week and is clean. Team Penske is happy. The problem is gone and the sponsor remained. In other words, the show goes on.

It seems that lost in the shuffle is Allmendinger. Outside of being a driver, he is a human being just as vulnerable as any of us to the mental health challenges life can present. Let us hope that as part of his current recovery program NASCAR is mandating professional counseling.

If is often said that wake-up calls sometime seem to come along at the right time. Maybe the mysterious friend of a friend will ultimately serve a much higher purpose for Allmendinger than just passing along some "college crack" in a Kentucky bar. Only time will tell.

We invite your opinion on this topic. Comments may be moderated prior to posting.

52 comments:

Buschseries61 said...

Wow, I feel bad for his life struggles. Mental illness is no fun. Perhaps this is what he really needed to get himself grounded again.

I hope the program pushes him in the right direction he needs.

RPM said...

Sorry, A.J., I gave you the benefit of the doubt until the name of the substance was revealed. The cover story just makes it worse. NASCAR drivers don't take random "energy pills" prescribed and distributed by "a friend".

Sally said...

Let those of us who have never done something stupid, or made a bad decision cast the first stone.

Anonymous said...

Though I want to feel bad for AJ, I have a hard time do to his own admission that he "created his own hell". He had a team of people around him that are there for the asking but he didn't ask. This is the real world so time to put your big boy panties on. Sorry to say but I hope he does not return to NASCAR, he's just a bomb waiting to explode.

Anonymous said...

It's a shame AJ didn't seek some kind of help before things got this far. He could've saved his career and spared himself some heartache. I hope the Road to Recovery gets him the help he needs.

OrangeTom said...

I like the tone of sympathy you convey for AJ, JD. He does sound like he needs some help.

But sheesh. Taking a random pill offered by a friend in a bar is such a risk-taking and juvenile move for any adult, much less a NASCAR driver, I almost hope it is just a cover story.

Vicky D said...

Like Anon said, AJ should have gotten help a lot sooner if he thought his life was out of control that much. And also Tom why would he take something from a so-called "friend" he's an adult - it could have been anything worse. Hope he gets back on track soon! Best of luck to him.

w17scott said...

Mr Editor -
Whew ...quite an intense read for this early morning ...now it remains to be seen if the Aegis Lab/NASCAR 'Road to Recovery' serves just that purpose - "recovery" ...sad to hear the apparent downward spiral that A.J.'s life had reached ...hopefully, with the issues addressed, he can find the path to a strong, healthy life and resume what seems to be a promising, fulfilling career in motorsports ...thanks for sharing your insight and making us aware of the personal battles he was fighting
Walter

Anonymous said...

My spouse is chronically depressed, and my step-son has ADHD with a behavior disorder. Dealing with mental issues is a serious challenge, and something that should not be taken lightly. Like Kurt Busch, we don't know the whole story regarding AJ's issues, but JD is right here. He is reaching out for help, and needs to either receive or seek out professional counseling to help him. I encourage NASCAR or the teams to seriously look into creating a mental health program for drivers and team members.

Aaron in WI

Colorado said...

Anon 8:08: It doesn't matter how many people you have around you or how much money you have. Mental problems do not discriminate. If you need a reference, I'll cite Elvis Presley. Kurt Cobain. Jimi Hendrix. Janis Joplin. Also, please refer to Sally 6:54. Maybe we could all aspire to be as perfect as you.

GinaV24 said...

Boy, it is really hard to figure out what to say. I'm sorry that he's obviously struggled with a lot of things that apparently led down this road.

There are better choices he could have made from the sound of things, but its not always easy to see the way when you are mired in things like this. It's a shame he didn't reach out for help before it came to this.

shadow said...

Unless your name is A.J. Allmendinger you have no idea what was going on in his mind and why he did what he did. He had what many would consider a perfect life, a beautiful wife, great job but for whatever reason everything came undone and his life fell apart. I feel for him and hope he gets the help he needs.

toomuchcountry said...

Good take JD. Well balanced and above the rhetoric of the rose-colored glasses crowd and the collective group of those dogging him incessantly.

Vic said...

Having worked in law enforcement for years, I know that almost everyone who fails a drug screen puts the most innocent spin on how it happened so I'm a cynic. On the other hand, I wish A.J. the best and I hope he conquers his demons.

Ancient Racer said...

I agree with Sally 6;54 and know I am in no position to throw stones.


I also agree mental health issues are no joke. In my lifetme I have been close to 4 people who suceeded in committing suicide and one who would have succeeded had I not forcibly interevened and got her to the hospital where,later, the Doctors told me she was when brought in about 30 minutes from being gone.

None of the 5 individuals had, when viewing from the outside, any "reason" to do what they did and all "...had a team of people around [them] that [were] there for the asking but [they] didn't ask."

Bette said...

I think AJ first has to acknowlege the truth before he can overcome. I agree with the poster who sees a need for a mental health program for the teams, especially younger drivers handling the pressure of NASCAR life.

Dennis said...

It has been interesting to watch AJ's career since he came over from open wheel where he was tearing it up. We've all seen drivers come over to NASCAR and struggle with the steep learning curve. I wish him nothing but the best and hope that he's able to address the stress issues.

Anonymous said...

The problem with processing this situation is that none of us know the truth. AJ, Nascar and the Medical Review Officer know the specific test results. AJ is in the Road To Recovery and we all support him in his efforts to get his life back on track. His Media Relations Manager is just doing her job by trying to put the best face she can to this situation. For me, I ignore comments like "I only took it once" and "a friend gave it to me". The situation is what it is and I wish AJ the best. None of us will ever know the truth.

Joj said...

For those who have never been through a Recovery Program, the hardest thing to do is see how powerless you have become. Then to make a decision to change & ask for help.

Hopefully AJ will stick with it, easy to do just not simple.

I do not care if we the fans get a cover story ( it does not sound like it) since we are not entitled to every last detail of an athletes personal life, as long as his Recovery Team gets the truth.

Watching AJ's interviews the last 2 days was painful.

I can only pray for him & his family.

Jojaye61388

Gymmie said...

Yup mental illness affects all walks. It doesn't matter how "perfect" your life is, if the underlying demons aren't addressed, it's always going to be there.

People often say s/he looks to happy to be depressed. But you learn how to fake happy. Smiling on the outside while crying on the inside.

This goes back to who you can & can't trust.

Coffeeshop42 said...

Colorado You hit the nail on the head.There was a story i saw on OTL a year and a half ago about a boy named Jordan Burnham that was a bonafide high school sports star.He was proficent in 3 or 4 different sports,was very popular and had many friends.

But he become depressed and one day locked himself in his room and jumped out the window to commit suicide.By the grace of God he lived,and is now on the road to recovery.I am sorely tempted to judge AJ,but i am reminded of this quote:

"Actions have reactions,don't be quick to judge.You may not know the hardships people don't speak of.It's best to step back,and observe with couth.For we all must meet our moment of truth".

I have done some stupid things in my life,therefore i'm in no position to judge.In fact i sympathize with AJ.ADHD can be a worse problem than people think.

Your mind wanders to some bad places,and it's hard to socialize.I would guess just about all of us have dealt with depression at some point,when you have severe ADHD or autism(could AJ be mildy autistic?)it exacerbates it 10-fold.

I know exactly what AJ means by "creating his own hell".These problems have most likely went on for years with AJ,but as he said,When he got to the big stages he put it on the back burner,as is only human to do so.I feel for him,and i hope he makes a full recovery.Whether he will ever be able to return to racing will just have to wait,but i hope he makes it.

Sophia said...

Many do not understand that true depression. It has nothing to do with external surroundings. It's what's going on in the brain's chemistry.


My big concern is this. I did not see RaceHub so can not speak to their interview.

Marty is getting rave reviews on twitter for his "Fabulous interview with AJ"

Frankly, I sat there screaming at the tv saying "Marty, how can you ask these questions with such a serious look on your face and not come back with a tougher question?" AJ is a man in pain sitting there on my TV.

Marty asked AJ that "you are telling me that one pill screwed up your life"....or words to that effect...which AJ confirmed. Then the aforementioned things in JD's article came forth, that AJ had lost himself, had some personal problems, etc.

There was a total disconnect with what he had just said to Marty and the immediate follow up questions Marty asked him?

Granted, we have no idea how the interview was edited. But as somebody or many have said on Twitter, this style of buddy journalism is clearly 'enabling' behavior. I've been around enough 12 step programs/jobs to know.

The correct way of interviewing AJ would've been the following example of mine, asked in a gentle, non- confrontational manner.

" AJ, you said you innocently took an 'energy pill'. Did the friend not have the bottle it came in so you could read the label of ingredients?" (who carries a random PILL in their pocket)

When AJ said his life had become a mess and out of control, and he had lost who he was?

I would've sat back and said, "Wait a minute, AJ. This sounds like you've been struggling with a lot of things for a very long time. So do you really think everybody is going to believe your 'random pill from a friend, that you took with blind faith (??)is the only reason you are being kicked out of NASCAR? Or are there more complicated, personal things going on? Don't feel like you have to address those specifically, but I don't think your story is adding up that easily for the general public."

Course, the person interviewing him would lose his hard card pass from NASCAR and be looking for work elsewhere, right?

Still, I think my pretend questions are valid.

Why is is so hard to try to ask direct, honest questions, now instead of letting him off the hook with an obviously bogus excuse?

I do believe this same network (ESPN) tried to ruin Ron Hornaday's life with staged and set up attack interviews. They went to Ron's house under one pretense only to veer off into 'what's going on with you' warpath. Is that because Ron was in the Truck Racing Series and not the big fancy Cup Series (insert sarcasm) I like HORNADAY!? He was not treated with any empathy at all for a serious Thyroid disorder (I think Graves disease) and was almost hung out to dry. Ron saw a Dr who could not spot his problems when I at home on tv could tell Ron had thyroid issues! (bulging eyes is huge clue)

Yet, many fans have lots questions about AJs excuse and nobody from same network is asking those questions?

And they do not have to be asked in an "attack-style" manner.

I've been around mental illness enough myself to know that sometimes the most important questions are questions everybody is afraid to ask but the patiently needs to be asked so a door can be opened for honest, tho sometimes painful honesty.

AJ does not have to tell the world the answer to his personal problems....at least not for now. But for everybody to dance around the elephant in the room is not helping anybody's credibility.

Am I alone with my thinking? That's ok if I am.

If anybody who know's AJ is reading this, tell him I wish him the best. I am sending good thoughts and prayers to him and his loved ones!

Sophia

bevo said...

Excellent take on the whole AJ situation JD. The interviews,if you want to call them that, never had logical follow-ups. So he takes one pill because he's so tired but it does nothing. What did he do next? Try something else? Fall asleep at the sponsor's event? Nothing. I don't expect prosecutor-like questioning but on a serious issue like this I do expect some common sense questions.

This has nothing to do with the name of the driver for me. It has everything to do with the individual at a basic level and our society on a larger scale. Individually these interviewers are enabling him by not challenging his story. A huge problem for an athlete/celebrity is dealing with ego. A competitive person has to have a large ego but successful recovery necessitates the breaking down of that false ego and rebuilding a true ego. By not challenging him they are just reinforcing that lifetime of "yes man" type false ego building.

On the society level they should use these incidents to educate their audience about substance abuse. People who need to face up to their own situation as well as those who are involved with them need to know the signs and legitimate methods of dealing with it. There is hope and there are resources available to turn things around.

Just acting like stenographers and letting PR hacks spout off ridiculous explanations and letting the addict throw out his nonsense hurts not just that individual but so many others facing the very same issues.

Anonymous said...

West Coast Diane said:

Excellent piece, JD.

Sophia....I had the exact same feelings with Marty's interview. Agree, don't know how it was edited. I also haven't read Marty's interview story. Maybe there is more in there.

I wish AJ the best. On the surface it is difficult to buy the "one pill" story. No matter, there is a lot more going on in his life that he needs to get under control. I hope the program helps. He said he would be done end of August. If so, he definitely needs to seek follow up help. No way you can get things that have been out of control for years under control in 1 month.

Anonymous said...

West Coast Diane said:

PS....thanks JD for the explanation of how Adderall is used illegally. Even with the Mayfield story, although he said he was taking for ADD, I had never heard that before.

Keith said...

Sophia,

Marty Smith has been around the sport for a long time and is generally respected by people in NASCAR. He knows a lot about the drivers and their personal lives and he probably knows a lot more about AJ than what he will ever give us on ESPN. For that I respect him. He understands the power of his pulpit.

When you put someone's personal life out in public without their consent and without acknowledging the damage that causes, bad things happen.

We now know that NASCAR's system works, we know that AJ is now beyond the denial stage, and we can hope for the best.

That is enough.

AveryNH said...

Whether it was just one pill or if he was an adicit, A.J. failing that Drug test may have saved his life. Like AncientRacer I've lost my dad and one of my best friends to the same fate. Ever since I always dish out help when I can. Depression doesn't care who you are or what you do. It eats you alive. I'm glad for AJs sake he will be able to rehab through his tailor made recovery program and hopefully find himself in a good cup ride very soon

JT said...

With rare exceptions, nearly all drivers in the Cup Series have the driving talent to be there. But what sets the stars apart from the journeymen is the ability to cope with the "fish bowl" life and high expectations of a having a Chase-level ride. I think being in this "fish bowl", combined with the Chase-or-else performance expected of him these last several months, proved to be too much for AJ to handle.

Bruce Simmons said...

It's one thing to make a single mistake like his 2009 DUI (where he then lost his RPM ride.) It's another to have a 2nd major like this. (Strike 2?) His PR camp didn't help matters either with their supposed misquotes. (s 3?) But the moment he said, I got it from a friend of a friend, well, I gave up on his image of being a health-minded guy. I am now wondering... is he going through real troubles, or are these more excuses for his behavior?
-
I truly don't know. But now that I'm off the 'Dinger camp wagon, I still wish him luck in his battle, whatever it might be. For now, he's sleeping in the bed he made.
- NBaP

Joseph said...

I noticed the "life problems" hints in his interview with Dave Moody, too. His drug-taking story actually adds up in this light. He described a very tired person trying to get through another day, and somebody offered him a pick-me-up. A depressed person could easily make that type of self-destructive decision.

oldirtracker said...

I was a big Dinger fan and im sorry he has had such a difficult life being pressured everyday to meet his obligations as a highly visible and highly paid athlete. In todays world no one is naive enough to take any unknown substance from anyone. He really would have a hard time in most peoples lives stuggling to make the mortgage payment and put food on the table. Poor baby ,hope he makes it back to the big time.

Anonymous said...

Not a fan of Marty, never was, AJ's interview screamed of mental health issues. I would rather have a physical problem any day of the week. People make judgements of which they know nothing about because you cannot put a cast around your head and say its broken, so people scorn. I know firsthand. I hope he gets well. One thing us "fans" seem to forget as we get on our soapbox about drivers is how dang hard the Nascar Cup driver life is...good luck AJ.

Coffeeshop42 said...

oldirtracker Some of what you said is right,but as earlier posters have said depression can strike anyone.It does not discriminate.Don't try to tell me you haven't felt down and out and feeling sorry for yourself at one time or another.

It is a lot of pressure being a modern-day athlete because there are so many people(journalists,fans,ect)that are trying to burn you,and they spend all their time waiting for you to slip up.I can't say i envy that kind of life.

I do think the pill story could be a bit half-baked,but for now i choose to believe him.He's(in my book)innocent until proven guilty.

klvalus said...

I asked Mike Helton why there were not more psychologists involved in NASCAR when I met him nearly 5 years ago (I am a psychologist and he knew so) and he laughed at me in a belittling way and said "NASCAR has them and they are called crew chiefs."

I was horrified by this reaction although not surprised esp at its ignorance.

Everyone is assuming depression but forgetting about the anxiety being in a performance based sport causes - esp when you do not have 100% control over your performance. The schedule, being away from family regularly and the pressure involved from sponsors, teams, fans, media, everywhere is tremendous and it affects the crews as much as the drivers but they are less in the spotlight.

Some teams do have sports psych's on staff (Hendrick) but they seem to focus on team and communication building...some in the garages need more support and skills in managing the stress, anxiety and depression that competing at that level causes. Nearly every other pro sport has psychologists on staff.

I *really* hope more teams provide psych support in the near future because I know NASCAR wont.

Anonymous said...

I find his alibi - that he took a pill one time that someone in a bar gave him - to be laughable.

I mean, here he is taking a stimulant to wake him up, and then a few days later when he tests positive for stimulants, he has "no idea" what it could be. I mean, really, is just a laughable excuse.

Anonymous said...

You have to look at his current statements in context with his previous statements. When he first tested positive, he said that he had no idea why in the world it could have possibly happened. Really? Like, wow, the random "pick me up pill" you took only a few days earlier didn't even cross your mind?

And then he says he took the Adderall and felt nothing. Yeah, right! Give me a break. I guess he's the one person in the world who can pop prescription-level speed and not feel a thing.

All the speculation that he was framed by NASCAR, that Aegis Labs was cooking up a phony result, that AJ would "never ever" do something like this, that the test was a false positive, or that maybe a regular over-the-counter B-vitamin supplement that he endorsed caused this.... all turned out to be 100% false.

I hope AJ gets help. But part of really getting help is admitting what you really did. He may not have to admit it to the press or to his fans (although he should), but he needs to admit it to himself.

The NASCAR Road to Recovery program (despite it's goofy name) is a doctor-supervised rehab program that includes more than just a series of additional follow-up tests. It includes counseling and therapy for the user. If AJ is going to stick with his "aw, it was just a random one time thing" BS story, then the rehab wont work and they will probably never reinstate him.

Simply put - the dude self-destructed. On one hand, it's easy to see why someone in his position could get hooked on speed --- the constant travel and endless media/sponsor obligations are daunting --- but at the same time, he did it to himself and now must suffer the consequences. That includes blowing his career and losing out on the millions of dollars he stood to make at Penske or another big-name team. So while I understand why he might have done what he did, I also have little-to-no-sympathy for him. I hope he is effectively banned from the sport because no team will touch him. We don't need drug users and liars in NASCAR. Make no mistake, AJ is both.

Shayne Flaherty said...

JD,

I listened to AJ's interview on SiriusXM NASCAR. He sounded like he was struggling with some personal problems. Hopefully, AJ will get some much needed help and get his personal life together.

One person in AJ's corner is Michael Shank. Over the past few weeks, Michael has been a true friend of AJ's and I hope he continues to support AJ's recovery.
Michael still wants AJ to drive his Daytona Prototype, so there's a job.

West Coast Kenny said...

J.D.,

In meetings, sometimes we friends of Bill W. will hear someone sling a pile of BS like A.J. did and we recognize it for what it is: the cry for help from someone who doesn't know how to ask for it.

He's trying to parse out tiny bits of admission rather than the complete story. Unfortunately, this probably hurts him a lot more than if he'd just stayed silent.

wck

red said...

Anon @5:15: I won't even TRY to say it any better than you just did. I agree completely and I am thankful you were able to express your opinion -- and mine -- so eloquently.

I don't believe AJ's story. I'm weary of hearing media & fans who are believing him & buying the "I lost myself in NASCAR" attitude without any reservation.

Cynically, what I'm seeing & hearing is classic addictive behavior from a user who has been busted. It's not a terribly creative explanation: I've heard far more imaginative excuses.

I believe that, for whatever reason(s) in his life, AJ has indulged in addictive behaviors and has now been busted for it. Yes, I hope he gets help and is able to face whatever demons he is fleeing.

But don't expect me to believe his story or feel an abundance of sympathy for him.

stephanie winston vann said...

you can do it AJ... even if it takes baby steps, finish strong and you'll be stronger for it.

Fed UP said...

Until you've hit the bottom, no program is going to make a difference. The question is: Has AJ finally hit the bottom or does he have more room to fall?

I hope that he's in counseling to help deal with his issues. Only by changing behavior and by understanding what caused the behavior can true recovery happen. Praying to an invisible being for strength is not the way to go.

I'm disappointed and saddened that both Penske and Shell threw away their chance to stand by THEIR employee and show support. Anyone that has had addiction or behavior issues knows that without support, recovery is often a mixed bag.

Joseph said...

What a buncha sweethearts you all are. Everybody's so sure that if they had a NASCAR gig, everything would be gravy and they'd be happy all the time.

Look at the schedule these guys run. They're on the road almost every week for most of the year, and have a ridiculous schedule of sponsor appearances mixed in with time in the car. And all of this while trying to sleep, eat right, and train.

Yeah, it's a cool gig, but it's not normal. How ANY of them manage to keep mentally straight and raise a family is a mystery to me.

Unknown said...

As I've written to many of the media in the last couple days, including John and Marty, this entire story doesn't add up.

Drug tests can tell you the type of drug found. In this case amphetamine. Drug testing cannot tell you the brand. In this case Adderall.

AJ says Nascar told him Adderall. Nascar says it was Adderall. Someone is LYING!

I hope AJ finds the help he needs to live a life full of joy and good things.

Nascar and their spin on this story? Well, ridiculous if you ask me. Bottom line = nascar only cares about Nascar!

GailJr

Newracefan said...

I want to believe AJ but I really can't I've seen first hand what depression and the resulting poor choices can do to a person. I've also seen an addict lie up close and personal so no benefit of a doubt from me. Listening to AJ on both RH and NN he is basically sreaming for help. His marriage imploded and I am wondering if his talk with Jeff Gordon wasn't about some of that, Jeff's divorce from his first wife was pretty ugly but we'll never know for sure. Supposedly Randy LaJoie's pot smoking was a "one time thing" and he got reinstated in a month, I don't know if that's actually true. What I do know is the RtR program is not run by naive people and how soon he gets reinstated will be the most telling part of this entire thing. If that's done quickly and he stays reinstated then perhaps we should believe him but what I do hope is that he gets help for the rest of his issues becausee they are just as dangerous as taking a pill from a friend of a friend.

Darcie said...

There's a big part of me that feels sorry for AJ. No one can understand the pressures of driving a race car that costs millions of dollars to run, plus the pressure to win at all costs. Yes, there's probably a bit of, I don't want to say stupidity, questionable decision making going on, but it's obvious he couldn't handle something going on in his life.

What is it that causes these bad decisions? I mean, super rich Roger Penske's adult sons were arrested for breaking and entering yesterday. Why adult sons of a very wealthy man, men who are wealthy themselves, find the need to break into a yacht club is beyond me. But I also don't understand the whole taking drug business either.

Allen Bedgood said...

A.J used extremely poor judgement by just assuming it was an energy supplement. Even if you're NOT an athlete you should never just pop a random pill.

Isaiah said...

JD, there really isn't much more to add to your post. It was one of the best you have written and I agree 100% with what you are saying. I hope he does well. If anything, it shows what is going on in the mind of a full-time Cup series driver and what they deal with.

Rich said...

Thank you for this post. Let's hope that SOMEONE will help AJ fight the demons that seem to be plaguing him. Unfortunately, that 'someone' likely will not be Nascar.

Sally said...

I have to assume that, since his DWI 2 years ago, AJ was tested frequently by Nascar. The fact that this is his first positive test lends credibility to me about his making a stupid mistake. I have to say I'm taken aback by those ready to dismiss and condemn him as guiltier than charged without having all the information. I'm amazed that so many of you have never made a stupid mistake or a bad decision. Wish I could make the same claim. With the pressure to perform to keep his 'dream job', and his personal life spinning out of control, I can understand the lapse in judgement. I hope he gets more support from his peers than he's finding here.

Wiresculptress said...

I think there are behind-the-scenes machinations at NASCAR that we, the fans, will never know about. We would be shocked and disgusted if we did.

AJ excelled in every form of motorsport he participated in, right up until he entered NASCAR. Are we to believe that's because the cars are so "difficult" to drive? Bullcrap. NASCAR has been gaslighting him since he arrived - no wonder he feels like he's losing it.

We are expected to believe that AJ was drawn randomly for testing just days after he was slipped a "mystery pill". I think AJ was set up. Yes, I understand he is in a delicate mental condition. Someone (?) used it against him.

We are expected to believe that all teams are doing everything they can, every week, to win. I wonder what Ryan Newman, or even Kurt Busch, would say about Penske Racing operations if they had the freedom to speak the truth.

I am a fan of AJ Allmendinger, I always will be, and I'll never apologize for it.

Anonymous said...

I love all the naysayers saying "He should have gone for help earlier, blah blah blah." The fact is, none of us know the kid. He may be in a life and death struggle with severe depression. I agree 100% that his comments are code for "HELP ME! I DON'T KNOW HOW TO HANDLE MY LIFE RIGHT NOW!" without saying it outright. A lot of you people are cold-hearted and, perhaps luckily, have never had to deal with mental illness either with themselves or a loved one. And you act like it's easy for anyone to seek help when they need it. It's especially tough for guys in testosterone-dominated sports, who aren't supposed to be "human." Or where you risk losing sponsors if "word gets out."

I applaud John Daly for speaking out on this with some honest opinions. Instead of demonizing AJ, he needs HELP, people. And shame on all of you for making him out to be some wuss for not getting the help he needs. Asking for help when you aren't feeling right can be very, very difficult. And oftentimes is when/after you hit rock bottom. Shame on some of you.

Coffeeshop42 said...

Anon 2:32 That comment should be bronzed and put somewhere special.I couldn't have possibly said it better myself.We live in a hypocritical society and there are always people looking to crucify guys like AJ.

Everyone is entitled to their opinion,but so many act as if there perfect and have never done anything.One of the keys to life is the fact that there's going to be a lot of crap,but it's how you handle it that shapes you as a person.I wish i handled mine better.

As you said,there are many cold-hearted people that will never be privy to the real issues of human life.Altough i have never been an AJ fan i am pulling for him to get through this.Hope it happens for him.