The Frontstretch: Do You Think of NASCAR and Integrity In the Same Sentence? by Jeff Meyer -- Friday July 27, 2012

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Do You Think of NASCAR and Integrity In the Same Sentence?

Voices from the Cheap Seats · Jeff Meyer · Friday July 27, 2012


Aside from not having any…but of course, that is my opinion. I want to know what you think.

Counting the headline as number one, here’s a second question for you to mull over. Do you think AJ Allmendinger is a drug head? While you think those over, here are some quotes from some of the players involved and some who are not.

“I don’t see how any man, if he’s got any (manhood) at all, can go and take what he’s fixing to have to take — and that’s going through the Road to Recovery for a guy who did not take drugs or did not do what they’re saying he did,” Jeremy Mayfield said, when asked about Allmendinger’s situation. “It’d be tough because you’re basically living a lie to be a poster boy for NASCAR’s drug policy.”

OK, I know it is Jeremy Mayfield. One would expect a little bitterness, but even though Mayfield’s case didn’t turn out so well (he certainly didn’t help himself as the years wore on), he does bring up a good point about being a ‘poster boy’.

Jeff Meyer wonders if having to enter the “Road to Recovery” program makes a driver look more guilty of something than he may be.

Let’s assume for a minute, as we should, that AJ’s positive (which has been listed as ‘amphetamines’) is totally accidental and/or caused by something eaten or taken with no intent to get any sort of high. How damning is it that those in charge of NASCAR’s drug policy saw fit to actually NAME it, ‘Road to Recovery’?!

Is there no room or contingency in place for cases where a false positive, or a positive that is obviously unintentional, occurs? Why can’t another test be done? Why can’t NASCAR come out and say, “Hey, we want to work with you on this. We don’t think you’re a druggie, we want to run some more tests and/or at least get to the bottom of this!”

For whatever reason, they don’t do that. You are assumed to be a poor, unfortunate, misguided soul who does drugs and MUST go down the ‘Road to Recovery’!

Even the statement from Shell/Pennzoil, AJ’s sponsor shows no confidence in this whole ordeal.

“Shell and Pennzoil believe that the process and procedures that NASCAR has in place as part of their substance abuse policy are appropriate and serve to ensure that the sport and its participants are held to the highest standards. We share Penske Racing’s disappointment with the result of AJ’s (Allmendinger) B sample test and will work closely with them to determine plans moving forward. We hope for the best for AJ during this difficult time.”

Just so you know, while NASCAR tests listed ‘amphetamines’ as the cause of the positive, the same tests also ruled out Ecstasy, marijuana, alcohol and methamphetamines. Brand names of medications that contain or metabolize into amphetamines include Adderall, Dexedrine, Dextrostat, Desoxyn, Didrex, ProCentra and Vyvanse.

AJ is going to jump through NASCAR’s hoops and go into what they call ‘rehab’ and go down the ‘Road to Recovery’. You can also bet that in the coming weeks, the Allmendinger camp will find out exactly what caused this unintentional positive. I just hope and pray this all doesn’t turn out like the Mayfield fiasco, leaving myself and everyone else who defends AJ looking like fools.

Speaking of fools, Brian France uttered some more words recently on the subject of competition and how the decision process in the upper rooms of NASCAR really works. The following is a brief excerpt of an AP interview, conducted by Jenna Fryer with Brian.

As CEO, France said what he wants supersedes what any purists on his staff might prefer.

“I overrule them, quite frankly, because I have to,” France said. “We can’t have four strategies going on. There aren’t a whole lot of people who don’t want to see more lead changes, or a photo finish, or slamming and banging coming out of the fourth turn.

“We are unabashed about wanting that. We want to put it more in the driver’s hands. It’s a contact sport and if you have a chance to win and are in second place on the last lap, would I expect there to be some contact if you have a faster car? Absolutely. The guys who don’t do that, that’s not our rules. We want to see what everybody else wants to see – excitement.”

Now I understand that NASCAR’s drug policy and testing procedures are in place to ensure safety and well being of all involved, but shouldn’t that extend to the top as well? To the guy who is making all the decisions? I mean, isn’t it equally, nay doubly, important that he be drug free as well?

After my last week’s column, like soooo many I’ve published before with Brian France quotes, comment after comment comes in as to the certainty that Brian France is in fact on drugs. I even got a personal contact that said they had it from a very reliable source that Brian was a raging coke head.

Now, since I have not done any coke with Brian personally, I cannot sit here and say for sure that his is a coke head one way or another. Personally, I think that if he ISN’T a coke head, then he is one of the dumbest persons alive and so removed from the reality of the fans that it is almost unimaginable. I mean hey, c’mon, just like Mayfield, he certainly doesn’t help his own case when he speaks.

In light of all that, what better way to show us the ‘integrity’ in NASCAR at the highest level then by Brian France taking a drug test as well?! Sure, sure, it would mean nothing, we all know the result already (after all it is their lab), but still…it sure would be a nice gesture….even if a hollow one!

So what do you think? Who’s more apt in your opinion to be a druggie…AJ Allmendinger or Brian France? Is there integrity left in NASCAR or is it all just a show?

At least here at The Frontstretch we will publish all the comments…not just the ones I like!

Stay off the wall,

Jeff Meyer

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Today on the Frontstretch:
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Steve K
07/27/2012 03:13 AM

Do the drivers get a list of all banned substances? I recall this was an issue in the past but do not remember how it played out. Is Allmendinger a drug addict? I would guess not. But if the drivers do have a list of the banned substances is, Allmendinger is an idiot and his competitive NASCAR days are over. The “Road to Recovery” may be a noble idea but it isn’t going to help anyone who consumes a banned drug through an energy drink. This is something that would have made more sense when he got his DUI. Why is NASCAR being so secretive when it comes to their drug testing program?

At the end of the day all we know is Allmendinger is done, and the 22 is the hottest ride on the market. Thanks NASCAR.

07/27/2012 07:29 AM

I dont understand why, if there is a positive drug test result, they don’t immediately do another test, either urine or hair, to determine if this is an ongoing issue or a one time mistake. Reacting as if the positive test automatically makes someone a ‘user’ seems like over reacting to me. And hands down, from his appearance to ‘communication’, Brian France certainly should undergo his own drug test. But then, maybe that explains some of his less than rational decisions in the past few years and his disconnection to reality.

07/27/2012 07:30 AM

I like many folks out here in the land of “say what?” are very confused! I would think, when a man’s entire career, life, self worth is on the line, NASCAR would go to enormous lengths before branding him a druggie. But, as in most big corporations..they own the stick, ball, and playing field..and what they say is the way it is. I have noticed the majority of drivers are staying away from this subject ( unless they’re “teammates”..and with Keslowski and Hornish on AJ’s side…who needs enemies). I would guess the drivers don’t want the wrath of NASCAR and Aegis down their necks with the little plastic the best defense is retreat into the safe cocoon of their cars cockpit. Right now I have no idea who’s on what…as for me I think I’ll go pop my Xanax, take my OCD meds, my allergy pill, and open a fine bottle of wine! Geez I hope France doesn’t have my address!

07/27/2012 10:34 AM

In my opinion brain Farce is a drunken crack/coke head!!He couldn’t pass a piss test if his like depended on it!!And I would bet money that AJ is not on anything illegal, but something in one of his sponsors products!!…Hope he sures the hell out of that sponsor once they find out where it came from. And in his case, I would beat the crap out of brain farce rather that cower and go to recovery!!

Wayne T. Morgan
07/27/2012 10:53 AM

NA$CAR is proving once again their drug test is a joke. Why not with all the money they have raked in do blood/hair samples when a positive shows up and be sure what the problem is while they twiddle their thumbs? And over 100 or so compounds to test for ? Give me a break! BZF is a total idiot and needs a rest home not an office. With the cars, their parts, countless rules and the chase just show a total lack of desire to put on a good show. Maybe BZF needs to buy a football team because NA$CAR is become a monkey with a football. And I’m or the road to becoming a druggie because I took a 5 hour engert this morning.

07/27/2012 12:02 PM

Great article Jeff.

Sherri T
07/27/2012 12:08 PM

Maybe I’m naive, but I just don’t see AJ taking anything intentionally. I think that as SB says, they should do another test to determine just how much of whatever he was over the limit on, has been in his system or is in his system.

It seems to me that as with anything there are degrees of this issue and based on what I’m hearing – AJ wasn’t over on this test by much. Why does he have to go through something designed for someone with a substance abuse problem? Sure seems like treatment should be tied to circumstance and wasting this much time in his career for something that sounds like it’s on the minor end of a positive result and I’m still believing – unintentional – it’s overkill in a major way.

I think that not only should B France stand up and go through the same testing as the people racing in his organization – I think a mental evaluation is quite called for as well. I mean – if you’re going to be testing for competency, then let’s get the cat out of the bag – he’s so outta touch it’s laughable.

07/27/2012 12:10 PM

I grew up on short tracks and when a 2nd place driver deliberately knocked the leader into the wall it was called dirty driving. I don’t know what France calls it.

07/27/2012 12:29 PM

Integrity and NASCAR? Are you kidding? Never was, never will be. BZF’s substance abuse just makes it more obvious then in previous generations.

07/27/2012 12:54 PM

Do You Think of NASCAR and Integrity In the Same Sentence?
only when integrity is preceded by the word “no.”

but they are a privately held business, so they can do whatever they want as long as it’s legal or they don’t get caught, i wonder if they care what we think.

with regards to AJ, i don’t know the man so i really can’t have more than an opinion as to his guilt or innocence. I feel that my opinion isn’t worth anything in this case because the truth is out there someplace.

i do agree with the above comments that say nascar should be doing much more to suss out the truth, especially when it comes to someone’s career. i think for them to not do anything further in a case like this only further erodes what little credibility the leadership have. i suppose the possibility exists that they have but i tend to seriously doubt it. furthermore, in the end, wasn’t the thing that actually sank mayfield (and i agree that he really did nothing to help himself) the paperwork that he signed saying that he couldn’t legally pursue nascar for defamation? and if that’s true and is now precedent, how can that ever help nascar with their credibility problems? but then again, they probably don’t or won’t care until their business is hurting enough.

07/27/2012 12:56 PM

What we learned is AJ is not a drug addict….but he is pretty stupid for not thinking about whats in medications.

You and I all are probably loaded with the crap…but we aren’t NASCAR drivers….

And the sad thing is…a “stimulated” AJ is still far safer behind the wheel than the soberest of sober Sam.

MJR in Springfield, VA
07/27/2012 01:43 PM

There’s an old saying (my boys hate when I do this old saying thing) that says a man can sit there and let everyone around him think he is an idiot, or, he can simply open his mouth and put all supposition to rest. Brian France manages to supper-excel at removing even the slimmest of doubt in this area each time he speaks. I think he is also a fan of if you can’t dazzle them with your brains baffle them with your bullshit. Rest in peace NA$CAR.

07/27/2012 04:51 PM

What bothers me is that AJ has yet to issue any public statement. Makes me wonder if BZF has slapped him with a gag order.

The timing of this whole fiasco is interesting. It just happens to be in the heart of silly season.

AJ was on a one-year, Chase-or-bust, contract. And the Captain really wanted Hornish in this ride to begin with. AJ flunks his drug test and Hornish gets the remainder of 2012 to sell himself to Shell/Pennzoil.

Just sayin’

Jeff Meyer - FS Staff
07/27/2012 05:11 PM

JT, Hornish may be in for the remainder of the season, but my money is still on Kenseth in the 22 (at the very least with Penske) in 2013! As I’ve said before, the timing of all this is impecable!!!

07/27/2012 09:28 PM

Jeff, but Roger is switching to Ford next year and Ford has basically said Matt was leaving them and wished him well in the future.

As for France, he is a moron.

07/27/2012 10:40 PM

Count me as one “who don’t want to see more lead changes, or a photo finish, or slamming and banging coming out of the fourth turn.” If you can’t get the position on your own, you shouldn’t knock someone else out to get it. That’s bullying. It’s not surprising that Brian Says Dale was his favorite driver.

You have to draw the line somewhere, and AJ crossed it. I’m not qualified to say whether he is or is not a drug user. If he comes up with a valid reason for the positive test, his return will be accelerated as Randy LaJoie’s was. There are parts of the process that I dislike, but have no problem with NASCAR’s execution of the rules that are currently in place.

Larry Burton
07/28/2012 11:27 AM

Drug tests have a limit. You have to have a line in the sand and if you cross it you lose. Happens all over america every day. My old job we got drug and alcohol tested randomly. And, this is a growing trend in america. And, one I might add that I agree with especially jobs where peoples safety is in jeopardy. Still, I put the blame on AJ. When your mult million dollar job depends on passing drug tests, you had better be sure of what you put in your body. And, if AJ had any doubt, he could have paid independent labs to test to see if what he was taking would give him a positive. And, all this talk about the lab being Nascar’s is wrong. This lab does tests of a lot of different companies and has no connection to Nascar other than being contracted to do their tests. One thing I do agree on is testing of Brian France. And, since Nascar tests the drivers and crews, the whole Nascar organization ought to be required to take drug tests and pass. A lot of companies do this now so it’s really not that big of a deal. Again, all Nascar Employees including management should be helded to the same rules as the drivers/crews. But again, AJ brought this on himself by taking things he shouldn’t have been taking and it’s his fault for not making sure what he took wouldn’t give a positive drug test. As somebody who has worked all his life and is not a millionaire, If I had the chance for a multi million dollar job it wouldn’t be a problem for me to stay clean and avoid anything that would give me a positive reading.

Jeff Meyer - FS Staff
07/28/2012 02:52 PM

To Steve S….Yeah I know what Ford said, but think about it…Matt wants to stay with Ford, Ford would LOVE to have Matt stay…Penske would be a fool NOT to try and woo him (and with Ford’s blessing and help, I might add!)


Contact Jeff Meyer

Recent articles from Jeff Meyer:

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