News & Media

Drivers remain confident in drug testing policy

July 25, 2012, Mark Aumann,

LOUDON, N.H. -- Allmendinger's failed test leave many wondering what happened

To a man, Cup drivers expressed their continued confidence Friday in NASCAR's current drug testing policy, although many also expressed a feeling of shock in the aftermath of AJ Allmendinger's failed random drug test.

The disclosure that Allmendinger's primary urine sample tested positive left drivers wondering what had happened.

"Obviously the test came back with something positive," Jeff Gordon said. "I have pretty strong faith in that system that when it happens, that they're right. But what could have caused it?

"Is it something very minor that could have caused it? Or is it 'Yeah, somebody made a mistake' or that it definitely should have shown up that way? So, I was shocked. I didn't expect it. I definitely have had a great relationship with AJ on and off the race track and didn't see that one coming."

With reputations at stake -- for both the accused and accusers -- Dale Earnhardt Jr. said trust is paramount, and he has that in how the current policy is implemented.

"I'm certain that as big and structured an organization as NASCAR is and the agency they have that works with them on their drug program, they can't make any mistakes," Earnhardt said. "They can't afford to make any mistakes. I assume, although I don't have any answers or don't know anything about this particular incident. I have to believe that they are making the right calls and the right choices, and there is a reason to make the call they made.

"Even though you don't get what you want in terms of details, you have to believe that the program is true and it's definitely a good thing to have. You just have to believe in it that they are doing what's right and they aren't making any mistakes. I mean, they can't afford to, so you just have to assume the best."

Under NASCAR's current drug testing policy, a computer program uses licenses to randomly select an unspecified number of drivers, crew members and officials from each national series to be tested each race weekend. In addition, the sanctioning body reserves the right to request a test of anyone under "reasonable suspicion."

As per the guidelines, Allmendinger was randomly selected at Kentucky, provided a sample which was placed in two containers and the test on the primary sample was then administered by Aegis Sciences Corporation. Once that sample failed, Allmendinger was given the choice of having the backup sample tested. He has exercised that right, and the second test will occur next week.

Matt Kenseth said the procedure that has worked well to this point.

"I think they did a lot of things when they put that system in place to make it as fair as they can, and I really believe that NASCAR is going to err on the side of caution," Kenseth said. "I think they're going to be pretty darn careful before they do something that could really jeopardize somebody's career, so I'd have a hard time believing that it's not pretty rock solid, or I don't think NASCAR would have reacted like that."

At the same time, Kenseth can see why some people in the garage area have concerns about whether there were any mistakes that might have been made in the testing process, since Allmendinger continues to maintain his innocence.

"I think the drug testing policy is a great thing," Kenseth said. "I think there's always a fear of the unknown. ... You take a test, and they ship the stuff away, and you hope not to hear about anything later. I think you always wonder, and you're never really sure until it all comes out, and especially on the person who tested on the positive side.

"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. [After] they get the B sample done and maybe AJ talks and you hear what it was, maybe that will clear everything up and, then again, maybe it won't. Maybe you'll never know."

Earnhardt said if any driver has a concern about the drug testing policy, he has found that NASCAR's hauler door is always open.

"I go ask questions," Earnhardt said. "If you are curious about anything, I think the policy to be able to go up in that hauler and ask anybody what you want to know has been always pretty good for me. I've never been turned away, never felt like I didn't get an honest answer or feel better when I walked out of there.

"I mean, everybody is just kind of nervous about not knowing nothing. Everybody is curious about it and nervous, I guess, I don't know."