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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Allmendinger's business manager says he tested positive for a stimulant, checking for over-the-counter cause of test result

Statement from Tara Ragan, Vice President, Walldinger Racing Inc.

Charlotte, NC (July 11, 2012)

“In an effort to help our colleagues in the media report on this in a timely and accurate manner, we wanted to provide some additional details regarding AJ’s sample “A” test results. AJ tested positive for a stimulant. He has no idea why the first test was positive, and he has never knowingly taken any prohibited substance. AJ is collecting his medicines and supplements for testing to determine whether an over the counter product caused his positive test. AJ and all of us at Walldinger Racing respect NASCAR’s testing program, and he has requested that his “B” sample be tested as part of the process of getting to the bottom of this. We will have the opportunity to review all of the scientific data surrounding the test following the “B” sample test, but our understanding is that AJ’s test was slightly above the threshold. As of this morning, we have not been given notice of when the testing of the “B” sample will take place. Thanks again for all of the support of our fans, team, and sponsors as we continue working through the process.”

-Tara Ragan, Vice President, Walldinger Racing Inc


My take on this latest news in the Allmendinger saga:

1. I am glad he decided to release the details. NASCAR's policy of not naming the drug that was found due to "privacy" concerns is silly. All it does is fuel media and fan speculation. Now we know what happened, and can discuss the case based on facts and not innuendo. Good move by Allmendinger to get it all out there and not fall in line with NASCAR's silence.

2. The over-the-counter argument can go both ways. Back in the Tim Richmond era, he was found to have banned substances that turned out to be nothing more than common cold medicine. (Obviously that story has a whole different aspect, as NASCAR forced him out of racing because he had AIDS -- NASCAR's most cowardly and shameful move ever if you ask me -- so it's not a direct comparison to A.J.'s situation, but you can still make the point that it brings up the issue that OTC meds could cause a failed test).

Then of course there is the most recent infamous drug test failure -- Jeremy Mayfield. He also claimed OTC meds caused a false positive, but went on to fail another drug test, and in the process led test givers on a wild goose chase when they wanted to test him. His claim, based on the repeated failures, was pretty obviously false, and almost nobody believes he did not do drugs.

So the bottom line is that while it is technically possible that OTC meds could cause a false positive, A.J. is going to have to be really convincing if he's going to have NASCAR believe his story and go easy on him over this whole deal. It's like a DUI ... doesn't matter whether you are "slightly" above the threshold or a lot over. It's still a DUI. And even if somehow this doesn't ruin his entire career or cost him his ride, Allmendinger is still likely due to face a suspension of some length.

3. A.J. signed a deal recently to promote something called "Fuel in a Bottle"; I'm curious if that had anything to do with the failed test.

4. Now that this is all out in the open, the next step is to see what the B sample results are, likely Thursday or Friday. If they come back failing again, then A.J. has to plead his case regarding OTC meds. If he somehow passes, this thing will have gotten even more complicated.

5. I'd like to believe Allmendinger didn't really use a banned drug. But really, nobody other than him knows if he did. I'm very interested to see how this all turns out, and I would love to see him vindicated and allowed to keep his ride and stay on an upward career path-- but realistically, it's a long shot.

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