Monday, May 11, 2009

Drug testing & Nascar

I'm not a big Jeremy Mayfield fan. I dont like his haircut, I dont like his wise guy grin, I dont like his California win was tainted by fuel additive, I dont like the way he outed Ray Evernham publicly about his relationship with Erin Crocker, and I dont like that he bumped Dale Earnhardt who was leading at Pocono in 2000 on the last lap of a Monday rain delayed race that I had to watch in its entirety at home after work, after trying all day to avoid Nascar news. When my wife came in with 10 to go to see my reaction (she knew the ending), I just knew Earnhardt would win..... The cool down lap "Jeremy's #1" salute from Dale was priceless. But the 3 in victory lane would have been better.

Nevertheless I will not glory in Jeremy's recent drug test failure. I know he has a well-publicized excuse which is insulting to the intelligence at best and disingenuous at worst.

To my knowledge this is the first Cup driver caught in the net. Drugs have no place in racing, in the pits or in the driver seat. Stick 'n ball athletes can do what they want, steroids, HGH, or an errant basketball or baseball wont kill someone. Racing will.

I applaud Nascar for the random testing program, although I personally wonder if the sample is large enough or random enough to exterminate it completely from all series. While I applaud them, I boo them that it has taken this long, and I re-direct the applause to Tony Stewart and Kevin Harvick, the bad boy loud mouths of Cup racing, for painting Nascar into a box they should have been in in the first place. It shouldnt have taken their public criticism along with the incredible story of truck series driver Aaron Fike to get to this point.

Whatever image problem Nascar feared from implementing this would pale in comparison to some awful on-track or in-pits incident. Fortunately it never happened. If they do it right, it never will. After the largest flurry of safety innovation in Nascar history, including the money spent on safer barriers all over the country, finally in 2009, a full 8 years after Earnhardt's death spawned the flurry, random drug testing is reality. Finally. Lifetime bans for first offense should be seriously considered.

A few years ago an insider hinted to me in personal communication that Jeremy had a problem. The lid must have been on it very tight because I never saw another word about it, until last week. Let's hope Jeremy gets the help he needs, because he is a human being. And lets hope the lesson is learned by everyone in Nascar.


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  2. Good one BT. My ONLY defense of Jeremy for now is the way NASCAR handled Saturday night. Jeremy didn't make the show & they could have waited until Mon/Tues of this week to announce. Instead, they belittled him an hour before the race with few details - in the same week Kevin Grubb took his own life after battling the demons of dope. Example had to be made - but not at the cost of being insensitive to other news of the week. As for the crewmen who also tested positive, they could have been banned with little fanfare and the explanation this week as well. No one knows much who they are anyway. It was big fish Jeremy that they hooked.