The Frontstretch: Tearing Apart The Trucks : Fike's Fall From Grace by Beth Lunkenheimer -- Tuesday July 10, 2007

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Tearing Apart The Trucks : Fike's Fall From Grace

Beth Lunkenheimer · Tuesday July 10, 2007


The drivers of the Craftsman Truck Series got a break this past weekend, and while some drivers spent that time resting and relaxing, others spent it capturing headlines. Aaron Fike was arrested Saturday night with lady friend Cassandra Davidson at Kings Island after the park reported Fike’s SUV as suspicious. Fike tried to drive away when the Mason City Police Department approached the vehicle, but another officer pulled in front, forcing him to stop. After a thorough search of the car, the two offenders were taken into custody and arrested after officers found heroin, syringes, and spoons with residue stashed inside. According to police, Fike admitted taking the drug; if that’s true, those words will cause another promising Truck Series career path to be flushed down the tubes.

NASCAR’s substance abuse policy was instituted in 1988, and it’s pretty straight forward. NASCAR may conduct random drug tests on a whim; if a driver refuses to take the test, he is suspended until he passes, giving NASCAR a reason to consider allowing him to return to the track. However, if he fails the test outright, he is immediately suspended, offered a treatment plan, and considered for reinstatement only after completing his recovery under the watchful eyes of NASCAR. Although it will consider lifting a suspension, NASCAR officials have said there is one rule they will not bend : a three strikes and you’re out policy.

Since its institution, NASCAR has suspended only a handful of drivers for this type of problem…but the list has been mounting in recent years. Perhaps the most memorable suspension concerns Shane Hmiel, who failed three different drug tests and has been banned permanently from any NASCAR-sanctioned event. Other offenders include Brian Rose, Jamie Skinner, Sammy Potashnick and Kevin Grubb. Grubb actually returned to NASCAR following his punishment but was suspended again, this time indefinitely, for refusing to submit to a random drug test. Most recently, Truck Series rookie Tyler Walker was suspended this year as a result of his failed drug test; after being released from his ride, he has not yet requested reinstatement into the series. History can be a powerful tool in showcasing how not to repeat others’ mistakes; when will these young drivers start studying up before it’s too late?

When the first news came out that that Fike was arrested, I didn’t want to believe it. Fike currently leads the rookie points standings and sits 8th overall in the championship race. So far this season, Fike has four Top 10 finishes to go along with one Top 5, coming home a career-best 5th at the Memphis race June 30th. Oh, how quickly a driver on his way to the peak of the mountain can miss a step and fall back to the ground. Why would a young driver with a promising career risk it all for a drug? No one really knows the answer except him, and I’d rather not speculate.

NASCAR has currently suspended the driver of the No. 1 Toyota Tundra while investigations are under way. They are arranging a screening through their own resources, and when more concrete details emerge, they’ll simply decide Fike’s fate for themselves. Once they do, they should suspend him for a period of no less than a year while he completes a treatment plan and gets himself clean. Substance abuse in general is a bad thing…but heroin is even more dangerous. Everyone deserves a second chance because everyone makes mistakes; one can only hope that mistake wasn’t made on a race day for a driver whose races should have been about hard-charging action, not hiding addiction.

Although Aaron Fike and his lady friend were released on their own recognizance, David Green will pilot the No. 1 RFMS/Red Horse Racing Toyota Tundra pending investigations by the Mason County Police Departmant and NASCAR. In the meantime, a preliminary hearing for Fike is scheduled for July 19th.

For his sake, I hope it all works out. Too many other careers have already been thrown down the ugly drain of drugs.

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M. B. Voelker
07/11/2007 06:28 AM

A nice summary, but you have one point dead wrong.

Doing drugs is not a mistake.

Doing drugs is a deliberate, intentional choice.

If any of these idiots got hooked in the first place because someone tied them up and forcibly introduced drugs into their bodies or even because someone tricked them by concealing drugs in a substance that should have been innocuous we haven’t heard anything about the police looking for the perpetrators of those vile crimes.

Calling the deliberate, intentional choice to do drugs a mistake trivializes the practice and puts you in the position of enabling the druggies by providing them with an excuse.

When you say its a mistake you’re giving them one free shot rather than insisting that they think FIRST. And that is why those idiots feel free to do this in the first place — they know that the first time they get caught people will shrug it off instead of holding them accountable.

Any elementary school child knows that doing drugs is wrong. Period. No exceptions. No excuses.

And as far as I’m concerned, any possible second chance should be earned with documented proof of having stayed clean for 5-10 years.

Robert Eastman
07/11/2007 09:15 AM

When a NASCAR racecar driver can make more money in a weekend than a normal person does in a year and can make more money in a year than most people make in a lifetime, it shows how “Totally Stupid” these drug users really are! I guess Mr. Fike can spend the rest of his life driving a truck over the road (for peanuts) instead of driving a truck on the race track. Oh, I forgot, “Druggies” aren’t allowed to drive trucks over the road. Oh well, I guess maybe Mr. Fike may have to push a broom for a living. What a total IDIOT !!!

07/11/2007 12:20 PM

1. An error or fault resulting from defective judgment, deficient knowledge, or carelessness.

Sounds like a mistake to me. Hope Fike cleans up his act.

07/11/2007 02:25 PM

I stand by my decision to call doing drugs a mistake, a lapse of judgment. Whatever you call it, it’s still such a terrible thing especially for a young person with so much promise. For his sake, I hope he’ll clean up his act and be able to move on with his life.

M. B. Voelker
07/11/2007 02:49 PM

A mistake has the connotation of being accidental — a slip of the mind rather than the intentional decision to do something you know is wrong.

Pretending that the intentional CHOICE to do drugs is on a par with having your truck roll down the hill because you forgot to set the parking breaks or burning dinner because you got distracted by a TV show is expanding the word “mistake” beyond reasonable bounds.

That’s an enabling attitude that relieves people of their responsibility to make good decisions by refusing to hold them accountable for bad ones.

Enablers who are willing to trivialize drug-taking and offer easy excuses are doing addicts no favors because the only way they will ever clean up their acts is if they are forced to take the full responsibility for their choices.

07/11/2007 03:46 PM

Okay so we can call it a choice…it’s still a lapse of judgment and a mistake as well. I am in no way trying to make an excuse for Fike or any other user for that matter. He screwed up, and he’ll have to pay the price. And that includes taking responsibility for his actions.

Louis Du Lude
07/11/2007 10:26 PM

The Fike situation, they might suspend him for one race or one season, whichever comes first.
We cannot seem to hold people accountable for their actions.
The first time should be a lifetime ban, no redos like Hmiel or any others, Racing must not allow any wiggle room on this issue.
That is best left to the hollywood types. Racing is give no quarter, get no quarter.
I believe that all other racing series should also honor the ban whenever one series bans a driver.
Today you can find many individuals who want the opportunity to drive/race and demonstrate their talent. They are ready to replace folks like Mr Fike who think that drugs of any type are something they need. Tell that to the new mother taking care of her baby or the working person coming home from work at a job that pays the bills but is not that enjoyable, that is the sense of reality.Drugs cannot release from these obligations.
Sorry Mr Fike, now go out and earn a living like most of the race fans and figure out what you gave up and just maybe in the future, you will be mature enough to pass on to some other person your experience.
Your ability to explain that there is a consequence to your actions. There is no redo as most of society wants to give folks in your situation.

07/13/2007 08:12 AM

this is the problem with News today…As far as I know in this land you are Innocent until proven GUILTY….He (as far as anyone knows) may not have been the one doing Herion. He might be in the wrong place at the wrong time…The press in today society is putting the Cart in front of the horse ! Thats wrong !!!

07/13/2007 07:27 PM

Drugs are killing this country. Aaron Fike is not the problem, he is a symptom. The problem is that drugs have been treated as a “mistake” for way too long. Aaron Fike, get help. I don’t care if you ever race again or not. And if you gave your friend drugs, shame on you. You should go to jail, not to rehab.

07/13/2007 07:29 PM

I will further say that if you are sympathetic to this man, and lessening what he has done, you probably are using or have used the crap yourself

07/14/2007 04:22 PM

I am in no way lessening what he has done. I’m just saying he screwed up. He’s young, and the only way to learn is to make the mistake for yourself. No one is perfect, and everyone at a young age has probably done something they regret. But that’s part of being a kid and growing up…you make your mistakes and you learn from them. My hope for Aaron is that this will teach him a lesson and he’ll get himself clean….for good.

And just for the record no I have not used it nor do I intend to use it ever. I have no interest in it.

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