Drivers, France Talk Drugs And Racing At Lowe’s
By Rick Minter | Senior Writer
Concord, N.C. – The suspension of Jeremy Mayfield for failing a drug test continues to cause aftershocks in the NASCAR garage.
Drivers expressed concern about taking basic medicines, and seemed to be seeking answers to a growing list of questions.
Mark Martin said he’d like to know just exactly what it was that Mayfield is accused of taking.
“I do feel that we would all feel a little bit better if we knew, because when you pick up the paper and you see NASCAR zero tolerance what does that mean?” he said. “If you’re taking something as prescribed what does zero tolerance mean?
“So it’s just a little bit scary It’s a little uneasy It’s our careers man.
“I’m sure that we’re all overreacting a little bit, but certainly nobody wants to be caught up in that.”
Most drivers seem to have determined that it’s best to contact Dr. David Black, who administers the testing program, if there’s any doubt about what they can and can’t take.
Matt Kenseth said all drivers were given Black’s cell phone number and urged to call him with questions during a meeting earlier this year.
“I felt pretty comfortable…when we got done with him,” Kenseth said.
Greg Biffle, after listening to NASCAR chairman Brian France field questions about the issue, said he believes most drivers will err on the side of caution in the future.
“Anything you take is questionable,” Biffle said, adding the best choice in the future may be to “just tough it out” when he’s ailing.
France defended NASCAR’s policy, calling it the toughest in the sports business, and also stood behind the decision to not reveal what exactly it was that Mayfield tested positive for.
“There’s no benefit in us revealing the substance,” he said. France repeatedly described the violation as “a serious infraction.”
He did say there is an appeal process whereby Mayfield can – and apparently is – challenging the results of the findings.
“He’s entitled to a review of our testing policy, chain of custody, all the things that go on,” France said. “That’s the process that we’re in now….We’re working with Jeremy to make sure he has all the information he needs.”
France said any punishment for violating the substance-abuse policy would be “swift and clear.”
“That is what we’ve done with Jeremy and everyone else that has violated the policy,” he said.
Jeff Burton was among the drivers saying he’d like more information, such as the type of drugs found during random tests, to be made public.
“I think if you test positive and are suspended, I have no problem with and believe it brings a tremendous amount of credibility to the program to release the information and all of the information,” he said. “That’s the way I view it.”
Burton said he’d been tested several times this year, at Daytona and Bristol and possibly another time or two. France said he and other NASCAR officials as well as team owners also are subject to testing.
There also seems to be much debate over whether there is a list of banned substances.
“There is a list of substances that you will be tested for, but it isn’t a list that says these are the items that we will bust you for,” Burton said. “My view of it is that list is these are some of the things that we will be testing for. Not all things, not ‘this is what you have to test negative for.’ It’s not that kind of list. The way I understand the list is ‘hey this is some of the things that we’ll be checking for.’ That’s the way I see it so I don’t see it as a list.”
France said he might at some point make public the substances that are banned.
“We certainly will consider discussing that list with the media as well,” he said.3 Comments