It took less than 12 hours for AJ Allmendinger's final hope to disappear.
After waiting more than two weeks for his 'B' sample to be tested, Allmendinger learned the result was again positive on Tuesday. Together with the primary 'A' sample, that prompted NASCAR to announce it has indefinitely suspended the Penske Racing driver for violating its substance abuse policy.
Allmendinger becomes only the second Sprint Cup Series driver to be indefinitely suspended under NASCAR's new drug policy. Jeremy Mayfield, the other driver, fought NASCAR's results in court and has never driven again.
The specific substance was not announced by NASCAR, though Allmendinger has said it was for a "stimulant." Aegis, the company which conducts NASCAR's drug testing, performed the test on Allmendinger's 'B' urine sample this morning at its laboratory in Nashville. Allmendinger and a toxicologist of his choosing were expected to be in attendance.
Allmendinger's business manager, Tara Ragan, said an unspecified stimulant caused results "that were within nanograms of accepted standards."
"This was not the news we wanted to hear and we will work to get to the source of what may have caused this," Ragan said. "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."
If Allmendinger is ever to return to NASCAR, he has a long road ahead. The next step is for him to receive a letter from NASCAR outlining a process for reinstatement.
Should Allmendinger agree to the letter, he will be in the "Road to Recovery" program, which is tailored to each individual and implemented by NASCAR's program administrator.
"We are working closely with NASCAR and Penske Racing to identify the next action steps in this process," Ragan said. "We continue to be extremely grateful by the breadth and scope of support for AJ from his fans and partners."
Allmendinger will likely miss the rest of this season and possibly longer. Since he was on a one-year contract to drive Penske's No. 22 car, his chances of remaining with the team have taken a huge blow.
In a statement, Penske Racing said it was "very disappointed" by the test result.
"We respect NASCAR's policy and the process they have taken with this matter," the statement said. "... (Penske) will evaluate its course of action as it pertains to AJ over the coming week."
Sam Hornish Jr., who subbed for Allmendinger at Daytona and New Hampshire, will again drive the No. 22 car this weekend at Indianapolis and in the following race at Pocono.