NASCAR reinstates AJ Allmendinger

Updated: September 21, 2012, 11:03 AM ET
By David Newton | ESPN.com

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Suspended Sprint Cup driver AJ Allmendinger was reinstated by NASCAR on Tuesday after completing the sport's Road to Recovery program.

Allmendinger was suspended on July 24 for violating the substance-abuse program. The drug initially was identified as amphetamines, with Allmendinger later identifying it as prescription Adderall he took once from the friend of a friend.

"I want to thank everyone for their support through this entire process," Allmendinger said in a prepared statement. "I appreciate that NASCAR created the Road to Recovery program, and am grateful for the opportunity to return to competition.

"The Road to Recovery program was really helpful to me in getting my priorities reset away from the race track. And, honestly, that helped find my love of racing again and why I began racing in the first place. I'm looking forward to taking this experience and be better for it moving forward."

Allmendinger was released by Penske Racing as the driver of the No. 22 Cup car on Aug. 1. Penske Racing subsequently hired Joey Logano, in the final year of his deal at Joe Gibbs Racing, to take over that ride in 2013.

Sam Hornish Jr. has been in the No. 22 carr since Allmendinger was suspended.

Penske Racing owner Roger Penske told The Associated Press this past weekend at the IndyCar finale in California that he might have a place for Allmendinger in that series.

"This is a speed bump in his career, but he's certainly an option for people on the NASCAR side and the Indy side,'' Penske told The Associated Press at Auto Club Speedway. "He did a great job when you think about what he did in Champ Car."

Allmendinger said on Twitter he's thankful for the support of his fans.

"Thank you to all of my fans," he said in a tweet. "I know I have been quiet these past couple months while I focused on my life, but I saw the support all of u... Were sending to me. It meant and means the world to me. It helped me not to give up even when there didnt seem like there was light at the.. End of the tunnel. It got me thru some of my hardest days. There still is alot of work ahead for me but this atleast the start."

David Newton | email

ESPN Carolina Panthers reporter

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