AJ Allmendinger has a long road back to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series after his 'B' sample test turned out to be a positive result on Tuesday, prompting his indefinite suspension.
But there is a path that will be laid out for Allmendinger's return – a difficult and intensive program conducted by NASCAR's substance abuse program administrator.
According to NASCAR spokesman David Higdon, these are the next steps:
• NASCAR facilitates assistance for anyone testing positive under the substance abuse program. The first step is a letter sent to any suspended license-holder which lays out the terms for reinstatement.
• If the suspended person agrees to the letter, he or she is allowed to participate in the "Road to Recovery" program.
• NASCAR's program administrator works with the suspended person to arrange an evaluation by a substance abuse professional. That evaluation is what helps the administrator "create a road map leading to a return to competition," Higdon said.
• The road map may include "everything from counseling to in-house treatment and rehabilitation," Higdon said. Additional testing is required, but how often and under what conditions is dictated by the program administrator.
• After all this is done to the program administrator's satisfaction, a letter is sent to NASCAR with the administrator's endorsement for reinstating the suspended person. It's up to the administrator how long that process takes.
In Allmendinger's specific situation, his representatives have not announced whether the driver will accept NASCAR's plan or take other action. And even if he does go through the program, his ride at Penske Racing may be gone by the time he returns.