Suspended driver A.J. Allmendinger said Wednesday that he will participate in NASCAR’s substance-abuse recovery program, a sign that he wants to get back to racing as soon as possible and avoid a fight over the accuracy of his failed drug test.
NASCAR suspended Allmendinger indefinitely after a test of his backup urine sample conducted Tuesday confirmed an initial positive test in late June.
The series has not identified the substance; Allmendinger has said he tested positive for a stimulant he has not identified, but insists he did not knowingly ingest a banned substance.
Penske Racing president Tim Cindric said the team has no reason to doubt Allmendinger’s assertion. It isn’t clear whether that will be enough to save his job.
Cindric said team officials plan to meet next week to discuss Allmendinger’s future.
EXPECT CHANGE: NASCAR chairman Brian France doesn’t buy the argument that if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it.
France said he is committed to ensuring the series has the best racing possible, even if some believe there’s nothing wrong with the current product.
“We can do better. We can have the packages better, tighter racing,” France said in London, where he spoke Wednesday in the Beyond Sport’s annual summit. “That’s our stated goal and we have to get there. With the new car coming, we want to get this right. And we know it will be hard to keep it right.”
France currently has senior vice president Steve O’Donnell repurposing the research and development center. France’s goal is to split the R&D department from the competition department with an eye on improving the rules package before the 2013 cars debut.
DOUBLE DUTY: Juan Pablo Montoya has raced stock cars at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He’s also been in Formula One cars and Indy cars.
On Friday he will add sports cars to the list.
Montoya will partner with Jamie McMurray in a BMW-powered Riley prototype Friday for the inaugural Brickyard Grand Prix for the GRAND-AM Road Racing series.
The famed speedway added a three-hour sports car race and a 250-mile Nationwide Series race to a schedule that already includes Sunday’s Curtiss Shaver 400 at the Brickyard.
For Montoya “Super Weekend” will allow him to build on a 2000 Indianapolis 500 victory. And with six career starts there in Formula One, he has more time on the 2.534-mile road course than any other.
DANICA SKIPS INDY: Danica Patrick added the Oct. 21 Hollywood Casino 400 to her selected Sprint Cup Series schedule with Stewart-Haas Racing, which means she won’t be at the Royal Crown 400 July 29 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
With her move from the IndyCar Racing Series, most expected Indianapolis to be on her schedule. The team, however, apparently believed she’d be better served going to a track she doesn’t know well.