Race Weekend Central

Potts’ Shots: Paying The Price In NASCAR, On The Track And Off

This week, a reader named Billy in Boise wants to know,

_What’s your take on the Allmendinger situation?_

I suppose, Billy that it’s much the same as everybody’s take on the situation. It’s sad. The guy made a serious mistake, and now he’s paying for it. Also, like everyone else, I have some questions myself. He says a “friend” gave him a pill, supposedly Adderall, and said it was an energy supplement, like you would take prior to a workout.

What does AJ think this is, high school? Even though it was more than 50 years ago, I can remember somebody handing me a pill and saying, “Try this, you’ll love it.” I was lucky. My father was a salesman for a pharmaceutical wholesaler, and I had been exposed to a lot of knowledge of what could happen. That pill went into the next trash can down the hall.

As it turns out, if he’s telling the truth AJ Allmendinger went Alex P. Keaton and unknowingly took an Adderall tablet prior to the Kentucky event on June 30th. A week later, he would fail a random drug screening and was removed from the No. 22 Penske Dodge.

My next question concerns the statement that this particular pill AJ was offered contained at least some amphetamine. Folks, several years back I spent some time taking 20 milligrams of B-amphetamine a day, under a doctor’s orders and with a prescription, and I can’t recall it ever helping me sleep. Quite the opposite, as a matter of fact; and remember, AJ’s statement is coming from a man who said he had trouble sleeping and focusing due to a difficult season and problems in his personal life, stemming from a failing marriage.

Something’s not quite right here.

Joe from Sacramento asks,

_How about Todd Bodine’s outburst during the Truck race last weekend, and then his subsequent apology?_

First, as many others in this business have stated, you’re always taking your chances when you stick a microphone in front of a race driver right after an incident like that. However, I suppose that’s part of the price we pay for getting practically everything, from practice through the post-race, on live national television. I couldn’t believe that Todd felt like the incident was somebody else’s fault. I also don’t understand why some of these drivers’ PR reps don’t get hold of them first, tell them what they saw on the replay and help calm them down. On the other hand, this kind of stuff makes NASCAR more interesting, doesn’t it?

That being said, Todd did take to Twitter on Monday stating, “Saw the replay of the wreck, need to apologize to @NelsonPiquet, my fault for sure. Sorry to all for acting like an ass!!”

Looks like someone finally showed him the clip.

We also got a phone call and an e-mail or two this week asking how I felt about Dodge pulling out of NASCAR after this season.

I’ve been something of a Mopar fan for years, back to 1966 when I helped Harry Hyde a little on that first K&K Insurance Dodge, so I’m sorry to see it happen, but it’s not a big surprise. Roger Penske, with all his resources, obviously feels that he can’t be as successful as he wants to be running those cars, and he’s going back to Ford for 2013.

Judging from what the man from Dodge (SRT CEO and Brand President Ralph Gilles) said about “exploring their options,” something else is also obvious. They didn’t feel that they were going to be able to attract any high-profile (read that successful) teams to carry their banner for next year. Running in the back of the pack is not conducive to the old, “win on Sunday, sell on Monday” philosophy, and to be perfectly frank, it’s not good PR. Dodge decided to bail out, so we can only hope they decide to come back at some time or other.

You may also be wondering, just how seriously do the auto execs feel about this kind of thing? That brings to mind a situation at Indianapolis Raceway Park one night after the Truck race. If my memory serves me correctly, Greg Biffle won the event while Fords took the first three spots. During the post-race interviews, a tire blew on one of the trucks sitting on pit road. Somebody in the press box said, “What was that?”

A friend of mine sitting next to me, who was a prominent new car dealer responded, “The Chevrolet zone manager just shot himself.”

“Ask John Potts A Question”:https://frontstretch.com/contact/18438/

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