NASCAR Drug Testing: Drivers Have Concerns, Questions, Uncertainty

Dale Earnhardt Jr. is one of several drivers who have concerns about how NASCAR drug testing is conducted by a third party and how results are achieved.

Since news broke at Daytona International Speedway that driver A.J. Allmendinger tested positive for a banned substance, there have been plenty of questions.

Many competitors seem concerned over the situation, especially since what Allmendinger tested positive for has not yet been disclosed.

Tara Ragan, Allmendinger’s business manager, stated that Allemdinger tested positive for a stimulant. There’s still no word as to what type of stimulant surfaced in the test.

Allmendinger constantly works out, rides bikes, lifts weights and follows a very healthy diet. Thus, to some, a failed drug test simply doesn’t make sense.

Hendrick Motorsports driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. said he has been concerned about what would happened if a false positive test result would come his way.

Sadly, being tagged for a suspicious substance abuse gives any driver a tag of guilt by association.

“I’m more nervous about the agency making a mistake and it being a big problem for the sport,” Earnhardt Jr. said. “Just knowing all the guys that I race against, I wouldn’t have never guessed that Allmendinger tested positive.

“I don’t look at anybody in the sport and have any worries about them or any curiosities about anybody’s activities away from the race track.

“It’s just you don’t know how that could happen.  It’s just hard to wrap your head around a driver making a mistake or the agency making a mistake, you just don’t know.”

Earnhardt Jr. says he has always felt comfortable talking with NASCAR officials about any of their policies.

“I go ask questions,” he said. “If you are curious about anything I think to be able to go up in that hauler and ask anybody what you want to know is been always pretty good for me.

Jimmie Johnson says that for his assurance, he provides NASCAR with a list of stimulants and prescription drugs he takes to get full approval and avoid problems.


“I’ve never been turned away, never felt like I didn’t get an honest answer. I feel better when I walked out of there.”

Matt Kenseth, driver of the Roush Fenway Racing Ford, said he is also in the dark as far as what happened with Allmendinger. He thinks that, in time, the entire story will come out. Safety at high speeds is crucial.

“I don’t really know any details about it,” Kenseth said.

“I think it’ll become probably more clear one way or the other once we hear the rest of the details from his side and from NASCAR’s side – if we ever find out.

“It’s hard to comment on taking him out right before the Daytona race because I don’t know what it was. You don’t want to be out there with somebody if there’s something wrong with them.”

As is the case with the majority of those in the garage area, Kenseth chooses to wait for all the facts before passing judgment.

“I think you withhold judgment,” Kenseth said. “But seems unbelievable that somebody would do something or put something in their body that they don’t know about and take that risk.”

Kenseth expressed the same concerns as Earnhardt Jr. Not to know how the test is treated after it is shipped to a third party seems a bit unsettling.

“You take a test and they ship the stuff away and you hope not to hear about anything later,” Kenseth said.

“I think you always wonder and you’re never really sure until it all comes out – or if or when they ever come out and say what they did or didn’t do, or how it happened. I think you’d feel better, so I think you’ve got to let some time pass until everything comes out.

“They get the B sample done and maybe A.J. talks and you hear what it was, maybe that will clear everything up and, then again, maybe it won’t.”

Five-time Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson says he takes supplements, but follows NASCAR’s rulebook to the letter to make certain nothing he is taking will be deemed unacceptable.

“I’ve never had a sample questioned,” Johnson said.

“Prior to taking supplements, I worked out the list that I wanted to take and submitted it and four or five days later I heard back that everything was approved. It’s just stuff you buy at GNC anyway, so I don’t think there’s a ton of concern.

“But on the medical side, again, at the start of each year when we get our physicals, I make sure I lay out everything. I think I’ve had some prescription changes mid-season, and I make sure that I file those as well. And that’s been it. I’m not all that familiar with the process.

“Initially I thought the issue was from the Daytona weekend. I didn’t realize that it was Kentucky, and it took that long to get the results back. So, I’ve just been trying to get up to speed on the whole process myself.

“I guess when you’re not in question you just go about your day and don’t worry about it. But we’re all paying attention now and wondering.”



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