A.J. Allmendinger, when he was caught driving under the influence of alcohol a few years ago, did exactly the right thing when — within hours — he owned up to his mistake and told reporters it would never happen again.
It saved his career.
Now he’s in another mess and the clock is ticking. It is Thursday, and it’s been public knowledge since Tuesday that he’d officially flunked NASCAR’s drug test and the only person doing any talking is his business manager, who’s been sugar coating everything.
The question that must be answered is this:
What was in his system?
Allmendinger, it’s hoped, will call a media conference today and explain what happened. It’s not good enough that he’s entering NASCAR’s recovery program. It’s not good enough that he’s talked privately with his employers and his sponsors. He has to tell the world exactly what happened.
I’m not the only one who thinks this.
Jeff Hammond, NASCAR analyst and former Sprint Cup crew chief, said:
“He will have to step forward and make sure we all understand what substance was involved. That must come first and must be addressed by A.J. His honesty and candor, like he displayed when he handled his DUI, will directly impact whether he can get over this hurdle. A.J. must be willing to man up and come clean.”
Okay, another curiosity is the connection that the other A.J. allegedly has to this story.
Even before the results of Allmendinger’s second test were known, A.J. Foyt reportedly said he would be willing to have him on his Indy car team and this has been interpreted by some columnists and some fans as a green light for the Dinger to waltz right back into single-seaters.
There’s a whole bunch wrong with that scenario, starting with the fact that — as of this writing (Thursday morning) — I have not heard A.J. Foyt himself say any such thing.
The problem with phrases like “reportedly said” is that the words in the horse’s mouth are being interpreted by somebody who might very well have misunderstood the meaning or intent of really what was said. Or is deliberately torquing things up.
Here’s an example.
Reporter: “If A.J. Allmendinger mistakenly took an over-the-counter cold medication that contained a banned substance, and he failed a NASCAR drug test as a result, and he completed a 28-day treatment program, and sat out the rest of the 2012 season, but then Roger Penske told him he won’t give him his job back, would you consider talking to him about maybe driving for you in the IndyCar series so long as you were confident he was clean and sober and had been for at least six months and he swore he would never do anything like that again?”
A.J. Foyt: “Sure.”
That’s how things get to be “reportedly said.”
There are not going to be any slam dunks for A.J. Allemendinger going forward.
But he can start to repair the damage today but standing up and saying just what it was he did, with what.
Meantime, can you believe it? D.J. Kennington of St. Thomas has won yet another NASCAR Canadian Tire Series race, this one on the oval at Saskatoon, Sask., on Wednesday night.
The victory at Auto Clearing Motor Speedway was his fifth straight of the 2012 season and the 16th of his NASCAR career.
Kennington, who started fifth on the grid in his No. 17 Castrol Edge/Mahindra Tractors Dodge, led briefly just past the midway point of the race before being passed by Jason Hathaway of Dutton, Ont. Kennington gained the lead back when Hathaway's car broke on a late-race restart.
From there he held off challenges from pole-sitter J.R. Fitzpatrick of Cambridge and Mark Dilley of Barrie. Kennington held on for the win despite contact with Dilley in Turn 3 on the last lap. Dilley took second, with Fitzpatrick crossing the line in third.
Defending series champion Scott Steckly of Milverton finished fourth, with Ron Beauchamp Jr. of Windsor in fifth. The pace of the event was slowed by six cautions covering 46 laps.
In the point standings, Kennington has opened a formidable lead of 41 points over Steckly with Andrew Ranger of Roxton Pond, Que., and Fitzpatrick holding down the third and fourth positions, respectively.
The race will be telecast by TSN2 on Sat., Aug. 4, at 6:30 p.m. ET.
The next race in the 12-race series will be at the Grand Prix de Trois-Rivieres on Aug. 5.