The driver whose name has been mentioned the most during this New Hampshire Motor Speedway weekend isn’t even here.
That, of course, would be AJ Allmendinger, who is sort of twisting in the wind as his future in auto racing waits to be determined. Temporarily suspended by NASCAR after failing a random drug test, Allmendinger – and the rest of the sport – now awaits the results of a second test.
Meanwhile, drivers have issued a variety of opinions about the situation, most taking the position that there should be no rush to judgment, that everyone should wait until the process has run its course to make a determination. Then there was the unusual proposal offered by Carl Edwards, who suggested Friday that the drivers, as a group, should hire a drug-testing company to represent them as an adjunct to NASCAR’s testing operation.
The loudest voice in all this, however, has come, oddly enough, from Allmendinger’s Penske Racing teammate, Brad Keselowski.
He stepped to the plate Friday to announce his thinking that drivers should not be allowed to take any sort of supplements – not even “Flintstone pills,” as he put it.
“I think you’re race car drivers; you should have to overcome it,” Keselowski said. “I think it’s a bunch of bull---- that people are allowed to take supplements or any of those things. I don’t think that’s right.
“I don’t think any athlete should be allowed to take that, but that’s my own personal beliefs. But where the gray area comes in is what is allowed per the law is not necessarily allowed per whatever drug codes through all these sports. That creates another set of issues. That’s why I think nothing should be allowed.”
Keselowski said he doesn’t like to play in the “gray area” between what’s allowed and what isn’t.
“Until we get together as a group or as a society and make that a position, there’s always going to be this gray area to where we’re asking ourselves what supplement is right and what’s not, you know, what’s OK and what’s not,” he said. “I laugh out loud when I read this list of people who say, ‘Well, I have my supplements checked,’ like there’s some special list of supplements that are OK, but these aren’t. What kind of world is that? That’s terrible. Nothing should be allowed.
“Because then it just comes down to who you’ve got for a doctor or a lawyer that says that this is OK and this is not. And I think that we all know that you
can get a doctor or a lawyer these days to say you’re OK with anything you do. … I don’t think there needs to be any committee that approves drugs or supplements or whatever it is. I just think you shouldn’t be allowed to take anything. You should just ‘man up’ and drive the damn race car.”
Keselowski said he hasn’t talked to Allmendinger since the suspension was announced last week, but he isn’t optimistic about his teammate’s future.
“Whether it comes back positive or negative, it doesn’t make a difference,” he said. “It’s still a death sentence. Within this sport, we rely on sponsors and reputation. And it seems like those headlines for the corrections section in the newspaper is always in a much smaller print.”
Mike Hembree is NASCAR Editor for SPEED.com and has been covering motorsports for 30 years. He is a six-time winner of the National Motorsports Press Association Writer of the Year Award.