ESPN reports on NASCAR’s new drug testing policy which had been implemented as a response to the admissions of two Truck Series drivers that they were using drugs, but that nobody on either the teams or NASCAR itself had noticed. Indeed, Aaron Fike’s admitted that he had competed under the influence of heroin, while Ron Hornaday had received shipments of testosterone and Human Growth Hormone (although nobody alleges that this was for anything other than to combat a hormone imbalance).
Because of these revelations, all drivers and crew members in the Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Nationwide Truck Series will now have to submit to mandatory pre-season tests conducted by an independent laboratory in order to establish baseline levels. Random testing will then be continued throughout the season. This marks a sea change from previous seasons, where testing was only conducted after “reasonable suspicion”.
A failed test by a driver will be made public, but not those by crew members (although two pit-crew members were reported to have failed tests on Kevin Harwick’s team). Three failed tests will result in an automatic lifetime ban.
Brian France (NASCAR Chairman) explained that the drugs policy was not implemented because they had a particular problem with drugs, but rather was an attempt to distance themselves from the scandals currently engulfing other sports, and to ensure that NASCAR was being pro-active about the use of these substances.