Driver of the number 22 Penske Dodge, A.J. Allmendinger has been suspended by NASCAR for failing a drug test given earlier this week.  He was replaced at the last minute by Sam Hornish Jr. in the Coke Zero 400 Saturday in Daytona.

Tough times for Penske Motor Sports… A.J. was brought in to replace Kurt Busch which left Penske in a swirl of his own drama, back in December.

Even though it is his first season with Penske, the team told ESPN that they stand behind their driver, who is has failed to win a Sprint Cup race in the five seasons he has been in the NASCAR series.

A.J. is the biggest name involved in a substance abuse issue since Jeremy Mayfield was suspended in 2009 after failing multiple drug tests, testing positive for the use of methamphetamine.  Mayfield has not driven a race car since, and continues to struggle.

Also in 2009 when Allmendinger drove for Petty Motorsports, A.J. pled ‘no contest’ to a Driving While Impaired charge in North Carolina and received a 60 day suspended sentence, 18 months probation, and 24 hours of community service.

NASCAR has not disclosed what substance, he is accused of abusing.  They call it a temporary suspension because they only tested “Specimen A”.  Allmendinger can request that “Specimen B” be tested within 72 hours.  If “B” tests positive too, it would mean permanent suspension.

We will follow the story closely, and let you know what happens.