AJ Allmendinger Released By Penske Racing, Sam Hornish Jr. Takes Spot

LONG POND, PA - JUNE 08: AJ Allmendinger, driver of the #22 Shell/Pennzoil Dodge, walks through the garage area prior to practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pocono 400 at Pocono Raceway on June 8, 2012 in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Geoff Burke/Getty Images for NASCAR)

AJ Allmendinger has been released by Penske Racing. The driver has been indefinitely suspended by NASCAR for failing a drug test.

AJ Allmendinger, who had been indefinitely suspended by NASCAR for failing a pre-race substance abuse drug test and his appeal "B" sample, doesn't know when he'll be able to return to NASCAR.

But it's now official that when he does come back, Allmendinger won't be driving for Penske Racing.

Penske Racing released the following statement on Wednesday:

"Penske Racing announced today that AJ Allmendinger has been released as driver of the No. 22 Dodge Charger in the NASCAR Cup Series. Allmendinger was suspended indefinitely by NASCAR last week for a positive drug test.

"Penske Racing fully supports NASCAR's substance abuse policy and we are disappointed with AJ's positive drug test results," said 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.

"Sam Hornish Jr. will drive the No. 22 Dodge at Pocono this weekend and for the foreseeable future.

"Penske Racing will evaluate its options for a driver of the No. 22 car for the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup season."

Following the news of his release, AJ Allmendinger released a statement of his own:

"Effective today, I have been released from Penske Racing as driver of the No. 22 Dodge Charger. 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."

For all news and information regarding the 2012 Sprint Cup Series, check out SB Nation's dedicated NASCAR hub.

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