In a brief statement on Wednesday, Penske Racing announced that it has released AJ Allmendinger from its NASCAR team, effective immediately, following his indefinite suspension from NASCAR for testing positive for an undisclosed stimulant.
"Penske Racing fully supports NASCAR's substance abuse policy and we are disappointed with AJ's positive drug test results," said team owner Roger Penske. "AJ 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 AJ 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. As AJ begins NASCAR's ‘Road to Recovery' program, we wish him the best and look forward to seeing him compete again in NASCAR."
Allmendinger confirmed the move in a separate statement of his own.
“Effective today, I have been released from Penske Racing as driver of the No. 22 Dodge Charger,” he said. “I wish to thank Mr. Penske, Penske Racing, their sponsors, and especially all the of the No. 22 team for the opportunity they provided me and for their support in this difficult time. I also, again, would like to thank all the fans that really have been awesome through this.
“I apologize for the distraction, embarrassment, and difficulties that my current suspension from NASCAR has provided. 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 was set to meet with Penske directly earlier this week after his suspension shifted from temporary to indefinite after the positive B sample test that came in. His business manager Tara Ragan more frequently issued prior statements throughout this process.
This marks two consecutive high profile short-term departures from the team, with Kurt Busch having also been released from the 22 car at the end of last year. Sam Hornish Jr., who has filled in for Allmendinger in the three races since his suspension, is set to drive the car at Pocono and "for the forseeable future," although a permanent replacement has yet to be determined.