AJ Allmendinger has been reinstated by NASCAR after completing its “Road to Recovery” program.
“NASCAR has reinstated driver AJ Allmendinger upon his successful completion of NASCAR's Substance Abuse Policy Road to Recovery Program. Allmendinger had been indefinitely suspended from NASCAR on July 24 for violating the sanctioning body's substance abuse policy,” a NASCAR statement read.
Allmendinger's PR rep issued a tweet after the news broke: “Pr: we are happy say NASCAR has notified us of AJ's immediate reinstatement!!” Shortly thereafter Allmendinger released a statement of his own.
“I want to thank everyone for their support through this entire process,” said Allmendinger. “I appreciate that NASCAR created the Road to Recovery program, and am grateful for the opportunity to return to competition. The Road to Recovery program was really helpful to me in getting my priorities reset away from the race track. And, honestly, that helped find my love of racing again and why I began racing in the first place. I'm looking forward to taking this experience and be better for it moving forward.”
Allmendinger had been temporarily suspended prior to the Sprint Cup race July 7 at Daytona, replaced by Sam Hornish Jr. at Penske Racing. He was then indefinitely suspended July 24 following the positive “B” sample test. Allmendinger was released from Penske Aug. 1.
He was present at this past weekend's IZOD IndyCar Series finale as a guest of Penske, and may be up for a return to open-wheel for the first time since 2006, having been linked to a seat at A.J. Foyt Racing, while Roger Penske also commented over the weekend at Chicagoland Speedway that he would consider re-hiring Allmendinger for one of his open-wheel seats. Either way, now cleared for competition, Allmendinger can begin a road back to the driver's seat in either stock cars or IndyCars.