When an athlete is suspended from his sport, there usually are tell tale signs before the offending act. The news about A.J. Allmendinger’s suspension did not come as a complete shock.
AJ’s predecessor in the No. 22 at Penske was Kurt Busch. His problems over the last year have been well documented, but Kurt’s problems were well known before the last year. Several years ago, Rousch Racing let Kurt go even after he won a championship. Kurt Busch had a run in with Sheriff Joe in Arizona involving a DUI. I like Kurt and Las Vegas should be proud of its native son, but he seems inclined to keep getting into legal and public relations problems. Even though these mistakes have caused him to lose top rides, he keeps showing up on the Nascar podium.
AJ Allemndinger’s problems didn’t just start with the failed drug test. Last year, he was involved in a messy divorce caused by a lack of discretion on his part. AJ got his big break in Champ Car. Midway through his last season there, he was winless and with a team that had to fold up midseason.
Forsythe Racing gave Allmendinger a chance and he went on to win several races with the quality equipment and team at Forsythe Racing. I was the attorney for Forsythe Racing and entered Victory Lane on several occasions to pick up the Owner’s Award for races AJ Allmendinger won.
AJ Allmendinger’s career was resurrected thanks to Forsythe Racing. But signs of future trouble showed themselves when after the season, AJ never discussed contract renewal with Forsythe Racing. He never thanked Gerald Fortsythe. Nobody should be surprised by this latest episode.
The most surprising thing is how 3 of Nascar’s baddest boys (Jeremy Mayfield, Kurt Busch, and AJ Allmendinger) wound up at Penske Racing. There is no man in racing who is more admired than Roger Penske. He runs one of the classiest, efficient, and successful racing operations.