Kurt Busch to Attempt The Indianapolis-Charlotte Double
posted by Phil Allaway
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Andretti Autosport announced this morning that Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet in the Sprint Cup Series, will attempt the Indianapolis 500 in a fifth entry for the IndyCar Series team. Once the Indianapolis 500 is completed, Busch will fly from Indianapolis to Charlotte, jump in his No. 41 Chevrolet and compete in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Busch considers the opportunity to do the double as an old-school throwback moment.
“This is really to challenge myself within motorsports,” Busch said in Andretti Autosport’s press release. “Perhaps I am a bit of an old-school racer; a throwback, I guess. I enjoyed the era of drivers racing different cars and testing themselves in other series. It is tough to do now for a variety of factors, but when the opportunity is there, I want to do it. While NASCAR is my home, I have been fortunate to compete in Pro Stock on the NHRA circuit a number of years ago and test a V8 Supercar. This opportunity was a talk with Michael [Andretti] over dinner one night, a “What if,” and now it’s becoming a reality for me to drive in the Indy 500 with Andretti Autosport. It’s literally a dream come true. To go to the famous Brickyard with the iconic Andretti name, it doesn’t get much cooler or better than that.”
Busch will be doing the Indianapolis-Charlotte double as a Memorial Day mission to men and women serving in the U.S. Military via the Armed Forces Foundation. Fans can contribute to the cause by texting AFF to 50555 to donate $10.
Busch, who has never raced an IndyCar, passed Rookie Orientation at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway last year during a test session. At the time, Busch was more or less testing the Dallara DW12 for fun.
Busch will be the fourth driver to attempt the Indianapolis-Charlotte double. John Andretti was the first driver to attempt it in 1994. After finishing four laps down in tenth in Indianapolis, Andretti crashed and had engine problems in the 600. Robby Gordon has attempted the double five times, most recently in 2004. However, Gordon failed to make it to Charlotte on time and did not start the 600 in 2000 (P.J. Jones started Gordon’s No. 13 Ford in that instance). Finally, Tony Stewart has attempted the double twice (most recently in 2001) and is the only driver to ever complete all 1100 miles. Neither of the three drivers has won either leg of the double. The best finishes are Stewart and Gordon’s sixth-place finishes at the Indianapolis 500 (although Gordon’s came in 2000, the year he didn’t make it to Charlotte in time to start the Coca-Cola 600), and Stewart’s fourth-place finish in the 2001 Coca-Cola 600.
Danica Patrick, Justin Allgaier Talk About Phoenix Incident
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Tuesday March 4, 2014
A disappointing start to the year for Danica Patrick won’t include continued conflict. Patrick met with rookie Justin Allgaier Sunday, shortly after the Phoenix Cup race after a wreck ruined both drivers’ days. Patrick, who was critical of the No. 51 car on the radio, claiming Allgaier was “driving all over the track” appeared receptive to a conversation that quickly settled differences over what will be a long season.
“She was just upset because she got involved in the crash that we had,’’ said Allgaier to the Motor Racing Network. “She says she’s been through this and that she felt like I needed to settle down at that point. I explained my position on why everything happened. I think she understood where I was coming from. It doesn’t fix either one of our racecars. It doesn’t fix either one of our days. Unfortunately, we were both having pretty decent days.’’
Allgaier wound up 30th due to the incident while Patrick was 36th. The incident, which was caused by Allgaier’s spin also involved the No. 32 team and Travis Kvapil, which wound up 38th after sustaining heavy damage.
Camping World Close to Extending Title Sponsorship of NCWTS
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Marcus Lemonis, CEO of Camping World, Grand Marshal of Sunday’s Sprint Cup race at Phoenix International Raceway, and star of CNBC’s “The Profit,” made the announcement over the weekend that the retailer is very close to announcing a deal that would continue its title sponsorship of NASCAR’s Truck Series. The original agreement with NASCAR is scheduled to conclude after the 2015 season.
According to the sanctioning body, no formal contract has been signed, but “the agreement between the two parties has proven to be a beneficial one.”
“In about a month, we’ll be announcing a significant extension to that contract. It’s been great for us,” said Camping World’s Lemonis in a statement. “The NASCAR relationship has worked well for Camping World. When we started, we had 35 stores. Now, we’re up to 120 stores. As we travel the country and we meet new customers in stores, they always are very appreciative of our relationship with NASCAR. It’s been good.”
Gaining a long-term commitment from Camping World to sponsor the Truck Series would be a relief for NASCAR, which is set to lose Nationwide Insurance as title sponsor for the NASCAR Nationwide Series at the end of the 2014 season. The sponsorship of the Cup Series by Sprint runs through 2016.
The NCWTS is back in action on March 29th at 2:30 PM (ET) when the trucks visit Martinsville Speedway in the Kroger 250, which can be seen on Fox Sports 1. Ratings for the season opener were up 11 percent.
Harvick Takes Win At Phoenix In Second Race With New Team
posted by Justin Tucker
Monday March 3, 2014
Phoenix International Raceway has become Kevin Harvick’s home away from home. Sunday Afternoon was no exception as Harvick charged to the front early and would dominate for much of the day, leading 224 of the scheduled 312 laps to record his record fifth win on the one mile oval and his third win in the last four races at Phoenix.
Harvick, coming off of a disappointing Speedweeks which was capped by a last lap crash in the Daytona 500 in his debut with Stewart-Haas Racing, set the tone on Saturday by winning both practices while having the best 5 and 10-lap averages in the first practice of the day on Saturday. On Sunday, Harvick and his No. 4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet was nothing short of flawless as he was able to hold Dale Earnhardt, Jr. by .489 seconds after a late race restart to claim his 24th career Sprint Cup Series victory.
“Man, this is awesome,” Harvick said after his dominant victory on Sunday. “Man, this just solidifies so many things and so many decisions. It’s been so much work with all the time and effort that these guys (the crew) have put in—but what a race car.”
Stewart Haas Racing co-owner Gene Haas shared in Harvick’s excitement after the race.
“It took long enough,” Haas joked. “This is phenomenal. I think there was a lot of skepticism last year about what myself and Tony (Stewart) what we were up to, was there a lot of madness to this. Quite frankly, it’s a great team, there’s a lot of synergy at the shop, people working together. I don’t know what we did, but I think we put together a great organization.”
Daytona 500 winner Dale Earnhardt, Jr. continued his hot start to the 2014 season. Earnhardt Jr. would finish second on Sunday, marking his seventh consecutive top 10 finish since the end of the 2013 season. Earnhardt Jr. was pleased with the effort after a coast-to-coast whirlwind week after winning his second Daytona 500 and also gave great praise to the efforts of Harvick and the No. 4 team.
“I’ve got to congratulate Kevin. Those guys were two-tenths faster than everyone all weekend in practice. They were just phenomenal,” Earnhardt said. “To be able to run with them all day was a big confidence builder for us.”
Joining Harvick and Earnhardt in the top 5 of The Profit on CNBC 500K were Brad Keselowski with his second consecutive top 3 run of 2014 in third. Keselowski’s Team Penske teammate Joey Logano would finish fourth, and Jeff Gordon would come home fifth in his No. 24 Pepsi Max Chevrolet.
Jimmie Johnson finished in sixth, followed by Ryan Newman with a nice rebound after Daytona in seventh. Carl Edwards would carry the banner for Roush Fenway Racing by finishing eighth, Kyle Busch was ninth, and Jamie McMurray would finish tenth.
A look at the Profit on CNBC 500K by the numbers. There were 14 lead changes among eight different drivers, there were eight cautions for 39 laps which slowed the race pace to 109.229 MPH.
Next Sunday, the Sprint Cup Series heads to Sin City and the Las Vegas Motor
Starting Lineup: The Profit On CNBC 500K
posted by Thomas Bowles
Saturday March 1, 2014
Drivers in RED (i) are those ineligible to collect Sprint Cup points
Daytona 500 TV Ratings Down
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Wednesday February 26, 2014
What was the longest weather delay in Daytona 500 history turned out to bring NASCAR lower ratings and TV viewership Sunday night than expected. According to a report Monday from FOX Sports, the 56th running of the Daytona 500 airing at 8 PM (ET) posted a 5.6/10 national household rating/share which averaged 9.3 million viewers. That’s down 44 percent from last year’s 9.9, easily making it the least-watched Daytona 500 of all-time.
Due to the six-hour, twenty-two minute rain delay in Daytona, the race was up against the primetime coverage of the Winter Olympics Closing Ceremony from Sochi, Russia on NBC (15.25 million viewers). FOX also reported that 69% of the pre-rain delay viewers of the race, which began at 1 PM (ET) kept tuning in.
In comparison, the 2013 Daytona 500 on FOX was the most-watched race in five years, posting a 9.9/22 rating/share, commanding 16.7 million viewers. The Daytona 500 in 2012, the first to ever be run on a Monday and in the primetime slot did a 7.7/13 overnight rating/share which resulted in 13.67 million households viewing the race according to Nielsen TV ratings data.
Earnhardt, Jr. Claims Second Daytona 500 Victory
posted by Justin Tucker
Wednesday February 26, 2014
Ten years is a long time. For Dale Earnhardt, Jr., it felt like an eternity. NASCAR’s Most Popular Driver endured many near misses and close calls at the Daytona 500 since his only win in the Great American Race in 2004. Earnhardt had finished second in two of his last three Daytona 500s coming into Sunday’s race. He was also riding the tail of a 55-race winless streak, dating back to Michigan in 2012.
However nothing would stop Dale Jr. on Sunday, not even a 6 hour and 22 minute rain delay from capturing his second Daytona 500 win. Earnhardt Jr. led a race-high 54 laps on the evening and used some timely drafting help from teammates Jimmie Johnson and, on the final restart, Jeff Gordon to separate from the pack and secure the victory.
“Winning this race is the greatest feeling that you could feel in this sport besides accepting the trophy for the championship,” said a jubilant Earnhardt after pulling into Victory Lane. “We could fight off battle after battle. We got a little help at the end there from Jeff to get away on the restart. This is amazing. I can’t believe this is happening. I never take this for granted, man because it doesn’t happen twice, let alone once.”
Aside from the race itself the big story of the race was the 6 hour and 22 minute red flag, which threatened to move the race to Monday evening (had the race been postponed, FOX Sports’ Chris Myers had tweeted that the race would resume at 5:00pm EST). However, Mother Nature would cooperate and would allow the race to be run under different conditions from which they practiced this week. Once the race resumed, the intensity picked up from the changing track conditions. This allowed the pack to race side-by-side and at times 3-wide up to seven rows deep.
Joining Earnhardt Jr. in the top 5 for the 2014 Daytona 500 were: Denny Hamlin who closed out a spectacular Speedweeks in second, Brad Keselowski in third, Jeff Gordon in fourth, and Jimmie Johnson who overcome two wrecks leading up to the 500 in fifth.
Rounding out the top 10 in the Daytona 500 were Matt Kenseth in sixth, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. in seventh and Greg Biffle would bring his No. 16 Ford home in eighth. Austin Dillon would come home ninth in his first Cup Series race in the iconic No. 3 for Richard Childress Racing, while Casey Mears would round out the top 10.
A couple of major contenders for the Daytona 500 win would see their hopes dashed early on as Martin Truex, Jr. would blow up just 30 laps into the race, relegating him to a 43rd-place finish in his debut for Furniture Row Racing. Crew chief Todd Berrier was already in Nashville for a test session before the race was even over. Kyle Busch, meanwhile would have a pit road violation just before halfway and would spend much of the race battling back from that mistake. Busch would eventually finish 19th after leading 19 laps.
Danica Patrick would also be bit by bad luck as she was caught up in a multi-car wreck on lap 145. Patrick would lead her second consecutive Daytona 500, but wouldn’t have the finish to show for it finishing 40th. Tony Stewart would encounter a frustrating evening as well, with a fuel pickup problem derailing his quest for his first Daytona 500 win. Stewart would finish 35th.
A look at the Daytona 500 by the numbers. There were 42 lead changes among 18 drivers, while seven cautions for 39 laps would slow the race pace to 145.290 MPH.
Next week, the Sprint Cup Series heads to the “diamond in the desert,” Phoenix International Raceway for The Profit on CNBC 500K. The Green flag is scheduled for 3:15pm EST.
Nationwide Series Post-Race Quotes: Drive4COPD 300
posted by Thomas Bowles
Tuesday February 25, 2014
Frontstretch Interviews – Courtesy Mike Neff
ELLIOTT SADLER – FINISHED 4th
Thoughts on the race?
It’s definitely a lot different racing than what we’re used to.
Comfortable with it?
Yeah, it’s just different. You’re worried about what you’re doing, but you’re also worried about what everyone else is doing and they’re not doing more than you’re doing. Physically pushing a guy is way better than just riding so you just gotta time it right and push it to the edge.
Happy to start the year with a top 5?
Yeah. Hell, that was the worst we ran all day, I think. I have no idea how they put the 3 car in front of us on that last restart. I hadn’t seen the 3 car hardly all day. When they put us from fifth to sixth, on the outside line, it just really boxed us in. I would have really restarted behind my teammate and given him a good push to the front. Anyways, it is what it is; we’ll take it and move on.
Looked like you were up front all day.
The guys did a good job. We had a fast race car. Great pit stops, just really proud of these guys. The car’s in one piece and we can take it to Talladega now. Great job by my guys. A lot of effort came into coming down here to Daytona and giving ourselves a shot to win. We had that chance to be up front and make some things happen. Fifth is not what we want, but we’ll take it and move on.
Bumping vs Pushing?
It’s way harder. You don’t want to lay on the guy in front of you, so it’s tough racing. A lot different than what we’re used to, ‘cause you gotta go. You gotta drag the brake too ‘cause you don’t want to hit the guys and you don’t want to stay on him. It’s a lot harder mentally than what we’ve done in the past.
Car was strong all day. Pushing vs. Bumping, is that harder to do than just getting on somebody and pushing them?
Yeah, it is a little bit. When you bump ‘em, you jar ‘em, it kinda jacks ‘em a little bit. It’s a little more abrupt, obviously. I thought it was OK there at the end. It was certainly fun and hopefully entertaining. But a little bit of a struggle in the early part of the race and the midpart of the race to see a good race. And that’s unfortunate for the fans. You can’t do that the whole race, you can’t tear up your stuff, knock your grill in, overheat your motor, all that stuff so there’s no sense in doing all that until you get down to the last lap. The 7 and the 6, they did a good job. Man, the 7 really held the 22 and I tight on the bottom. I was rubbing his door and hitting the apron at the same time, no room whatsoever. So it was good; wish we were the ones who could have won but a lot better now than what we were last year.
Going home in one piece makes it a lot better, right?
Yeah. My back feels good. My foot feels good. Past years here, I’ve been going home with pain so I’m alright.
Connect with Mike!
2014 Truck Series Post-Race Quotes: Daytona (Exclusives)
posted by Thomas Bowles
Saturday February 22, 2014
When you’re on the outside like that, how frustrating is it?
It’s so hard. Timothy Peters has won here. Kyle Busch has won everywhere. Ron Hornaday has been running Trucks forever, probably before I was even born. I was surrounded by veterans there, and like I told them I don’t have a rookie stripe but I’m a rookie. This is only my fourth Truck race ever, my fourth superspeedway race, and man, I figured out when the 17 got up in front of me, I pushed him. And as soon as I pushed him, he took off. And I went with him. And I just kept doing it, and before I knew it, he was leading. And I saw Ron in my mirror, backed up to him, and if it wasn’t for him, I don’t know what would have happened. I gotta thank him big time for that. That was a true teammate move right there. I really appreciate that. He just bounced off me and we got to the front. I tried my hardest to sidedraft Kyle. I was probably touching his door.
Top 5 in the No. 30 truck. This deal come together at the last minute, but you had a heck of a truck. Tell us about your night.
Yeah, I’ve got to thank Turner Scott Motorsports. The guys worked so hard on this Rheem Comfort Products Chevrolet. Exciting! Just got hung up on the outside and had to wait for my teammate there to catch up. And then he got to the bottom, so… I got the old 32 and started pushing ol’ Ryan to the front. So, it’s not bad. We’ll take it. You just don’t want to step over that boundary. You don’t know how far to push and shove. We bumped about six times down the straightaway without latching onto them. Hopefully, that was OK and we came home with a top 5.
Connect with Mike!
2014 Budweiser Duels Post Race Quotes
posted by Matt Stallknecht
Friday February 21, 2014
BUDWEISER DUELS POST-RACE QUOTES
They’re saying the wheel bearing burned up in it. I don’t know what caused it, they’re taking it all apart to figure out what the heck happened. Something abnormal that’s for sure I don’t think I’ve ever had that happen at all. Hopefully, we made the race and hopefully we can fix the problem before Sunday.
WHAT WAS THAT LOUD BOOM ONCE YOU TURNED INTO THE GARAGE?
Loud pop was a tire… thankfully, it popped, hopefully it didn’t hurt anybody. All the heat created in the left front that popped was pretty weird.
REALLY GOOD RUN. WHAT DID YOU THINK OF IT?
Yeah, it was good. We have a car we can work with for the 500. Got a good starting spot, so we’re going to rest easy, fluff and buff our car for a couple of days and get ready for Sunday.
ANY DIFFERENCE ON WHETHER THE TOP OR BOTTOM LANE WORKED?
Yeah, I was just moving around, trying to stay with the flow. For me, this car works on all parts of the racetrack. So I’m pretty happy with it.
DALE EARNHARDT, JR.
GOT SHUFFLED BACK, AFTER PIT STOPS AND THEN COULDN’T GET BACK UP TO THE FRONT. WHY?
Nah, we were just sitting there waiting until the last few laps to make a move. You didn’t want to pull down and get sent to the back. Seen a couple of guys get sent to the back really quick so we were just kind of waiting for the end. I felt like we had a good situation there with Ambrose behind us — we had a good run off Turn 2 and I went. It was the last lap, time to go do something, nobody went with us but hopefully Sunday is a different story.
We got a great car. We don’t have to work hard. We learned, we got a good race car. Got a car in one piece, ready to go so we’ll try and get through the next couple of practices, deliver it to the starting group this Sunday and we’ll be real happy.
YOU’RE IN THE DAYTONA 500!
Yeah, it’s pretty awesome. This Whitetail Chevrolet was so fast that I knew all I had to do was stick it behind smart, intelligent drafters and we could have a good finish. That’s what we did in the Duels and I’m excited. I’m excited to go do some stuff with the Nationwide car and have some more practice with this. But to know that we’re locked in the Daytona 500’s pretty cool.
YOU WERE OBVIOUSLY IN FRONT OF THAT MELEE AT THE END. WHEN YOU WERE UP FRONT THERE IN THE BEGINNING, WERE YOU HOPING TO JUST STAY IN LINE AND LET YOU FINISH TOP 5?
I was pretty content to ride and luckily I knew a lot of people around us were. It was nice to have a little calm and not really have to be racing hard the whole time. I knew that the pit stop was going to shake everything up and that’s exactly what happened. Fell back a little bit there but made the right moves at the end to get a good finish.
HOW STRONG ARE THESE RCR CARS?
They’re very strong! They definitely have the capabilities to be winning one of these races.
YOU’RE IN THE TOP 5 FOR YOUR HEAT IN THE DAYTONA 500. YOUR PRIMARY CAR IS SITTING RIGHT IN THE GARAGE, KIND OF WADDED UP. DID YOU THINK THIS ONE HAD IT IN IT?
Yeah, it’s a brand new car also. It’s just not quite as good as the primary but still a damned good car. I’m just proud of everybody at RCR for building such fast race cars. All of our cars have been fast, ECR motor’s been strong, even our affiliate teams have been qualifying really good and racing good. So… excited about 2014! It’s going to be a good year.
WELL MAN, YOU STARTED IN THE BACK BUT WORKED YOUR WAY TO THE FRONT WHEN IT COUNTED MOST. WERE YOU JUST BIDING YOUR TIME THROUGHOUT THE RACE?
Eh, you never know if you’re going to get back up there or not. We had to start at the back, we had to make a run early and see what we could do. We drove right to 10th, or something like that and then it got stagnant. We tried to make something happen, and went to the back again. Drove back up to the front. Again, just really proud of my guys. Matt Kruder did a hell of a job on that pit stop getting just enough gas in to gain some spots there.
RCR CARS SEEM PRETTY DARNED STRONG. DO YOU THINK THE RCR CARS HAVE SOMETHING FOR THEM ON SUNDAY — ESPECIALLY THE THREE JOE GIBBS RACING CARS THAT SEEM TO BE THE CLASS OF THE FIELD RIGHT NOW?
Oh yeah. The 20 car was extremely fast. The 11 didn’t qualify that good, but he’s a good drafter. I think he won. We definitely have something for him.
Check in with Matt and Jay on their site at CareyandCoffey.com.
Bryan Davis Keith · Tuesday May 12, 2009
Editor’s Note: Beyond the Cockpit, our weekly driver interview feature, will return next week. In its place we have a special article by our own Bryan Davis Keith about the Jeremy Mayfield incident and its aftermath.
Just as Major League Baseball’s new era of drug policing caught perhaps its biggest name yet in Manny Ramirez, just last week NASCAR’s enhanced drug testing policy snared the most notable driver in recent memory for substance abuse in Jeremy Mayfield, a two-time Chase contender and current Sprint Cup owner. After the positive test was announced just prior to Saturday night’s race at Richmond, the veteran has been sidelined indefinitely and prevented from even associating his name with the No. 41 Toyota he’s driven since February.
Mayfield is disputing the test results, and the case remains unresolved as to whether or not his claim that allergy medications are responsible for a “false positive.” It’s shaping up to be a rather nasty fight, indeed, with the substance in question not being publicly named while the veteran considers possible legal action in order to justify his return to the sport. But while innocent until proven guilty may seem to lean towards allowing Mayfield to race until those results are confirmed, NASCAR did the right thing in responding to a major name testing positive: They got the person in question off the race track, and in doing so went a long way towards demonstrating their sincerity in enforcing their drug-free policies.
For that, credit should deservedly go to NASCAR for stepping up to the plate and responding to what was a glaring shortcoming in its sanctioning practices after Aaron Fike admitted to racing under the influence of heroin back in the Spring of 2008. The fact that Mayfield was caught and suspended, however, is not proof positive that all is well with regard to drug testing in big-time stock car racing.
This random test just happened to land a big fish… but is the sport doing enough to land the next smoking gun?
According to what was learned by the media this offseason as to the nature of NASCAR’s new testing policy, four drivers and a dozen or so crew members are being randomly screened each race weekend. That’s a marked improvement from the old policy that merely tested on “reasonable suspicion” — but that doesn’t mean it’s a comprehensive program, either. Just look at the numbers; on any given race weekend, there’s 40+ drivers and hundreds of crewmen at the track. Random testing will persuade a number of racers to stay clean, sure; but with less than a 10 percent chance of getting tested, there’s plenty of others willing to play the odds. It’s one wide, sweeping gray area that still allows for those drivers and crew members inclined towards drug use to keep indulging themselves. With such a slow rate of testing, it means some drivers might not have to submit to one for the first time until Memorial Day Weekend — one of only three times they might be checked up on during an entire 36-race season.
That type of minimal scrutiny is just not enough given the inherent danger of NASCAR racing to begin with. In a sport that involves men driving 800 horsepower cars at 200 mph, there is absolutely no room for any kind of drug-influenced behavior. Drugs don’t just endanger the men behind the cockpit, either; they’re always a few dozen feet from thousands of spectators, as well as crew members handling highly flammable substances while doing high-speed auto work in an environment the equivalent of a traffic-filled highway. One mistake, and as Carl Edwards showed at Talladega, a car could be hurtling in a tragic direction either into the grandstands, pit road, or even the infield itself.
Further, unlike stick-and-ball sports, there is little, if any, use for performance-enhancing drugs in stock car racing. So chances are if there’s a positive test in the NASCAR garage, it’s not going to be a steroid, but something more illicit and likely more dangerous for anyone who slides behind the wheel. The message is clear: in the perilous, high speed garages of NASCAR, there is absolutely no room for tolerance of intoxication. So, the only way to ensure that this doesn’t happen is to test every team member. At every track. Every race weekend.
This task is not too much to ask of NASCAR or its competitors. Considering how much screaming and hollering was done by fans and the media alike following the Carl Edwards / Brad Keselowski melee at Talladega (over safety features that actually worked), how a policy that would leave no room for any doubt that everyone taking to the track was clean could even be remotely opposed is beyond me.
To settle here is disingenuous, given that NASCAR made such a public stance that they were taking the lead in sports sanctioning with regard to drug testing. Such a stance also remains consistent with a sanctioning body that has always prided itself on making safety first. And if they’re looking to keep it that way, a drug-free environment for competition should move to number one on their priority list.
But is a small-time, random testing program enough to achieve that level of importance? If there’s one thing drug offenders in other sports have shown us in recent years, they’re no slouches in learning how to keep up with both technology and a changing drug testing culture. So when NASCAR made the decision to announce a fixed date for the tests, Ryan Newman was very quick to point out, “The whole idea of announcing it kind of takes away from the people that know how to cheat the system. Obviously, I know there’s probably going to be some follow-ups with certain people…but it just seems to me that you’re only eliminating the really, really naïve people in the first testing or in the first screening like this.”
That’s an astute observation that didn’t take an engineer to make — and one that a number of crewmen and at least one driver abusing drugs have already figured out a workaround for. As a result, the only way that fixed date drug testing is to truly work as a deterrent would be to test on fixed dates in intervals that make drug use between testing impossible… kind of like how weekly tests for 38 weeks would work.
NASCAR has ascended to the ranks of a major professional sporting entity because it was unafraid to be different from the pro stick ‘n’ ball sports. And there is no need for them to be afraid to be different here. By making weekly drug tests mandatory across the board at every track, NASCAR will find itself at the forefront of sporting safety and sanctity of competition.
Come on, Brian France. Even you can get this one right.
©2000 - 2008 Bryan Davis Keith and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
While I agree with you in theory, I wonder this…Do you test at practice on Thursday? On Qualifying day Friday or Race Day Sunday?
Where is the line drawn at driver and fan safety? Does NASCAR mandate multiple drug tests during race weekend or a rolling testing procedure to test every driver and crew member throughout each weekend’s activities. You are right—random testing may net you a big fish every now and then, but any good fisherman knows the best way to catch on a consistent basis is to blanket the area over several attempts. Then, and only then, if you come up empty—you know there is nothing there.
Just my two cents.
I’ll believe that NASCAR’s drug testing program actually works when they finally catch Mr. Roid-Rage, aka Carl Edwards! And when they do, and finally ban this idiot from NASCAR, hopefully they will also ban the rest of that entire organization and leave the sport to the truely honest and upstanding teams who make NASCAR what it is. Of course, I’m referring to Hendrick Motorsports!
Remember your zero tolerance policy the next time you hop into your own car and hit the road to go to work after taking “cold” medicine. I do agree that there should be zero tolerance for ABUSE of any kind of med, but a Vicodin prescribed and taken according to direction is no more sedating (for “most” people) than a Benadryl taken for allergies. I would still like to see “The List”. I’m still not convinced NA$CAR would boot Jeff Gordon if he was busted for taking something for his back.
I think Carl Edwards and Jack Roush need to get a lawyer and file suite against Mike for deffimation of character. This clown does nothing but bash one of Nascars best organizations. Oh and by the way you will not have to worry about me commenting on this sight again. People like Mike ruin it for me. Thanks and goodbye. Oh and Mike I hope you get a letter from Roush real soon.
Benedryl is so good at sedating people that doctors give it “off-label” as a non-addictive sleep aid.
A half-dose of Benedryl will put me into a fog for 6-8 hours. A full dose knocks me unconscious for 4-6 hours and leaves me with symptoms identical to a hangover for another 6-8 hours.
OTC, even commonly used, universally available OTC doesn’t mean safe and non-impairing.
Darn, don’t you just wish you could trust NA$CRAP on this drug testing issue?
There appears to be something “phony” or “not right” about this whole thing! While one never knows another person 100%, I knew Jeremy in the past and talk about someone “squeaky clean”!
I wonder if their “random” testing is really random? Gee, come to think of it, I wonder if Jr. has ever been “randomly” tested and if so have those results been “properly” handled?
See, don’t you just wish you could REALLY TRUST NA$CRAP on the entire drug testing process?
I know I can’t!
NEVER has NA$CRAP been totally un-biased on applying the “rules”!
Is this yet another case of the same?
And what about the head honcho of NA$CRAP and his drinking problems?
Wonder if Mike Helton ever took a “random” drug test? after watching some of his decisions at the track one has to wonder!
Actually, I hope Jeremy wins this one!
Mike, at the risk of being attacked by you, I am a fan of Jack Roush AND Carl Edwards, and I take offence to your comments! First of all, this roid-rage garbage is old! If you think for one minute that NASCAR hasn’t tested Edwards for drugs, your head is somewhere it shouldn’t be! NASCAR has never, at least in my memory, ever cut anyone from Roush any slack! So you can bet your home that they have tested Edwards several times! After they made the statement that it “might” have been Claritin that caused Mayfield to fail the test, If I were the makers of Claritin, I would have told France and Company to take a long walk off a short pier! And if there is one thing NASCAR doesn’t need right now, is to be bad-mouthing any sponsor! Too, if the drug tests were run at Richmond, why on earth did Hunter wait so long to anounce the results? So that negated your comment yesterday about taking Kenseth’s win away!
By the way, Mike, you lost all credibility when you described Hendrick and his organisation as honest! There are a few Honda executives that will disagree with you! oh, to have such a short memory! Give it a rest!!
On a lighter note, I love the news about Penske thinking about buying the Saturn brand from G.M.! That’s one way to cover your racing business if the manufacturer you represent pulls out! Supply your own manufacturer!
I essentially agree that NASCAR hasnt gone far enough in their testing samples but testing every driver and every crew member every weekend is overkill. A statistically sound, properly managed system of random testing would achieve the same results while minimizing the difficulty and hassle for everyone. Note that I said a PROPERLY MANAGED system…..which means a top flight, completely independent testing organization. Maybe one approach would be to statistically select two random finishing positions from week to week…say fourth and twenty third this week announced after the event, and then test those two drivers and crews.
Anyone who will call the Hendrick organization “honest” is probably going to flunk nascrap’s drug test!!
Watching NASCAR with only four Hendrick teams would be pretty boring for the rest of us. And you wouldnt have anyone to make up stories about.
I always find it funny that “Mike” will spew abunch of nonsense about Roush and its drivers but never back it up with any real credible info. And then when everybody starts ripping into him, never has to guts to come back and back up his original statement. Which most of the time his statements, are just laughable.
I’m not a big Roush fan and surely not a Edwards fan but Mike’s” continual tirades are a little much.
Seems like when the media gets hold of a story like Mayfield’s, all sense of fair play goes out the window. It’s a story so run with it even if it’s not been proven. I’m not a big fan of sports media and this includes nas$car. Before you folks start condemning someone, wait for some kind of proof.
Wow, lots of feedback today, where to start.
Karl S., you’ve got a point I had not considered about when during a race weekend a driver should be tested…though with it taking longer than a weekend to get the results back it may not matter, as long as it’s done every race weekend.
SCS, ironically I’d pass that zero tolerance test (I’ve not taken any sort of medicine in nearly three years) but I agree with you entirely that there is no reason not to have the list of drugs being tested for public. And I’m not convinced that NASCAR wouldn’t try to hide it if a Jeff Gordon got busted.
Joe W. – please don’t stop commenting on our work here. We want to hear back from all of our readers.
Douglas, I’d like to see nothing more than Jeremy clear this test. And no, I don’t trust NASCAR’s objectivity in testing, though I’m not implying that they rigged Mayfield’s test either.
Don Mei, your suggestion for the randomized testing is an interesting one…it’d certainly shed some more light on the process. I like it, especially if testing isn’t going to be made comprehensive.
Midasmicah – nowhere in this article is Mayfield being indicted as guilty. I hope profusely that the test was incorrect. But, when there is a positive test, NASCAR can’t be expected to allow them back onto the track until the test is proven wrong.
Thanks for reading everyone.
Here’s another issue to consider. Some really harmful drugs, coke, heroin, hallucigens,speed, meth, etc are eliminated by the body within 24 hours meaning a driver could use any of them on Thursday evening and pass a drug test on Friday evening.
Cannabis, hash, and related smokeables stay in a person’s system for up to 30 days. A person indulging in any of these lesser harmful drugs during the off season could get nailed cold. The same holds true for some of the active ingredients in OTC cold and allergy meds. Tellingly Claratin D contains an active ingredient banned by the Olympic committee, the NFL and MLB. Yet they are allowed to sponsor a Cup team meaning NASCAR in its infinite wisdom must have decided that Claratin is non-harmful. (God knows the stuff is keeping me functional during this Maple pollen season.) I can think of no way the banned active ingredient in Claratin could enhanc a drivers performance while other allergy meds that don’t contain it can leave a soul woozy and unsafe to compete..without triggering a positive drug test.
And for any of you Pollyannas who think NASCAR can conduct a fair and unbiased drug testing policy I’ve got two words for you:TIM RICHMOND. Do a little research to find out one of the NASCAR boss’s most shameful episodes.