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Wednesday, November 29, 2023

NASCAR drug tests 10 crew members during delay

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NASCAR randomly drug-tested 10 crew members from 10 teams during the rain delay at the Coca-Cola 600, an apparent tweak to the first three months of in-season testing.

Prior to Sunday night, crew chiefs said NASCAR typically informed them when the garage opened if a team member had been selected to give a sample. The individual had four hours to report to testing. Drivers can be tested on any day of the race weekend.

But at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, NASCAR waited until after the scheduled start of the Coca-Cola 600 to inform teams and ordered individuals to report for testing at the end of the race. Because rain delayed the start, crew members were seen entering the infield care center, where the tests were conducted during intermittent showers.

NASCAR toughened its testing policy this season, in part because former Truck Series driver Aaron Fike admitted to using heroin, even on days he raced. It led the sanctioning body to implement mandatory preseason testing for all drivers and crews, as well random testing throughout the season.

Previously, NASCAR tested only on reasonable suspicion. Now, at least four drivers, 10 crew members 2 NASCAR officials from all three national series are tested at every event.

But the system has been at the forefront since Jeremy Mayfield received an indefinite suspension May 9 for failing a random drug test. NASCAR and Mayfield have declined to name the substance found in both his “A” and backup “B” samples, and Mayfield has retained legal representation to presumably fight the suspension.

Mayfield has insisted that the mix of a prescription drug with over-the-counter allergy medication Claritin-D led to his positive result. But NASCAR program administrator Dr. David Black, CEO of Aegis Sciences Corp., has repeatedly rejected that explanation.

NASCAR chairman Brian France has described Mayfield’s test as a “serious violation” of the substance-abuse policy, and he categorized that as use of a performance-enhancer or a recreational drug. A person familiar with the test results has told The Associated Press the positive test was not for performance-enhancers, meaning the positive test resulted from an illegal recreational drug.

© 2009 Associated Press. Displayed by permission. All rights reserved.

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