Tim Cindric says comments 'harsh'
LOUDON, N.H. -- Penske Racing president Tim Cindric isn't ready to say the Sprint Cup career of suspended driver AJ Allmendinger is done as one of his others drivers implied.
Brad Keselowski said on Friday that watching Allmendinger deal with the failed drug test that will force him to miss his second straight race on Sunday at New Hampshire is "like watching somebody get killed.''
Keselowski said whether Allmendinger's "B" sample urine test supports the original test, "it's still a death sentence'' because drivers rely so heavily on sponsors and reputation.
After Keselowski's Nationwide win Saturday, Cindric said, "That's a bit harsh.''
"If we felt like it was, then we wouldn't be talking about it,'' Cindric said of the death sentence comment.
Cindric and team owner Roger Penske were among several top Penske executives at New Hampshire on Saturday. But Penske left Victory Lane before talking to reporters to catch his private helicopter.
Cindric said there has been no contact between Penske and NASCAR at New Hampshire to discuss the suspension, which happened about three hours before last Saturday's Cup race at Daytona International Speedway.
Their focus is on making sure the situation doesn't become a distraction for their drivers and sponsors.
"The way we see it, it's between NASCAR and AJ at this point in time,'' Cindric said. "Obviously, he's our driver, but it's not something that we control.''
Cindric said neither NASCAR nor Allmendinger have said what the positive test was for.
Allmendinger, through his business manager, said it was for a stimulant and that he didn't "knowingly'' take a banned substance.
A stimulant is defined in NASCAR's drug policy as "amphetamine, methamphetamine, Ecstasy (MDMA), Eve (MDEA), MDA, PMA, Phentermine, and other amphetamine derivatives and related compounds."
"I can honestly tell you I know what you guys know,'' Cindric said. "They have not told us. ... The best way to put it is, it doesn't matter. They're going to go through a much more thorough process now to determine exactly what the score is.
"Instead of getting bits and pieces of initial things, I think that clouds the water ... I'd rather not know until they've gone through all the processes they're going through.''
Sam Hornish Jr., who finished fourth in the Nationwide race, will replace Allmendinger on Sunday just as he did at Daytona. Cindric referred to it as an "opportunity'' for the former IndyCar champion, who told ESPN.com earlier in the week he would like a shot at the No. 22 car permanently if the suspension stands.
Cindric said the phone has been ringing steadily from potential prospects since the suspension was announced. Joey Logano is among those expected to be interested outside of Hornish.
"Without a doubt, starting Saturday afternoon in Daytona, like Roger said, all of a sudden you're the prettiest girl in town as far as other drivers are concerned,'' Cindric said. "We've just said we have a solution.
"We're going to give Sam an opportunity. Luckily, we have the depth. We're going to play this thing week by week.''
Allmendinger has requested that his own experts, including a toxicologist, are present when his 'B' sample is tested by Aegis Sciences Corporation in Nashville, Tenn., the same lab that tested the original sample.
The request delayed the second test to next week. Typically, the 'B' sample test comes back the same as the original.
"We obviously all want one closure one way or another,'' Cindric said. "But from overall standpoint, when you look at what's at stake, if you're in that position, you're going to look at it and make sure you have all your ducks in a row before you go for the whole process.''
In other words, before they can determine whether this is a death sentence.
"Well, Brad is always going to give you his opinion,'' Cindric said. "You have to love him for that. It's his opinion. For us, we have to see how it all plays out here this week.''