NASCAR Drivers That Have Failed Random Drug Tests
It was announced this last weekend, shortly before the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona, that A.J. Allmendinger was suspended for failing a drug test. Details of Allmendinger’s case are still to come, and he can appeal his suspension, or meet guidelines set by NASCAR and eventually return to racing, but this brings to mind some other drivers that have failed drug tests in recent years.
Probably the most talked about in recent years, is Jeremy Mayfield. Jeremy joined the NASCAR Winston Cup series in 1994, driving for the Sadler Brothers. In 2002 Mayfield signed with Ray Evernham Motor Sports and replaced Casey Atwood. In 2009 Mayfield announced that he would be fielding a self-owned Toyota for a full season and he raced his way into the 2009 Daytona 500. Not long after that on May 9, 2009 Mayfield got all tangled up, by testing positive for methamphetamine. Mayfield claimed it was a mixture of over the counter medications (Claritin D) and prescription meds that gave a false positive. On July 1, 2009 a federal judge granted an injunction to let Mayfield back on the track. Then, on July 15, 2009 NASCAR reported that Jeremy Mayfield again tested positive for methamphetamine, and was permanently suspended from NASCAR. In November of 2011 Catawba County Sheriffs deputies searched Mayfield’s home after getting a tip that he and four friends were staging burglaries to pay for his meth habit. They found 1.5 grams of meth in a safe and more than $100,000 in stolen property. The case with Mayfield is on-going, but he will not race again.
Old school racer Randy LaJoie made his NASCAR debut in 1983, thru the years he has driven multiple cars, in multiple series, for multiple teams, including the NASCAR Truck Series for Kevin Harvick Racing. LaJoie owns and operates a fairly successful racing seat company, and did some commentary work for a satellite radio show, and some television work for the Montreal Busch series. In 2010 LaJoie was not driving but working as a crew member for the #18 Nationwide Series car, and received an indefinite suspension from NASCAR for failing a drug test. LaJoie admitted to smoking pot with some fans after the Coca-Cola 600 in Charlotte, and took full responsibility. In August of 2010 he was reinstated by NASCAR after a two month suspension.
One of the most controversial drug testing incidents involved Shane Hmiel. Shane was Rookie of the Year in the NASCAR Goody’s Dash series. He competed in the NASCAR Busch Series in 2002, and 2003. In September of ’03 he was suspended indefinitely for testing positive for heroin. He was reinstated in 2004 after meeting all of the guidelines, and demands that NASCAR set for him. Then in 2005 he failed another drug test, this time testing positive for marijuana, and cocaine. This brought another suspension beginning in May 2005. NASCAR offered Shane a chance to get back behind the wheel if he would submit to medical and psychological testing, and frequent drug tests. Hmiel agreed, but in February 2006 he failed another drug test and was banned from NASCAR for life. After drug rehab, and being sober for three years Shane eventually raced in all three of the touring divisions of the U.S.A.C. (United States Auto Club) Silver Crown Series. He stated in April of 2010 that his NASCAR suspension was the best thing to ever happen to him. October 9, 2010 Shane was racing in a USAC Silver Crown Car at Terre Haute, Indiana when he was involved in a crash. The roll cage collapsed and he received severe head, back, and neck injuries that left him paralyzed. His mother created a Facebook page “Shane Hmiel – Road to Recovery” to share updates on his condition.
One of the more tragic cases involved Kevin Grubb. Kevin began his association with NASCAR in the Truck Series in 1996. He only had two starts that season. In his first race he finished in 18th place. His second race ended with an accident on the 48th lap. Grubb moved up to the NASCAR Busch Series in 1997 and ran multiple races for a couple of different teams in the series until 2001, and amassed 18 top 10 finishes. His only attempt at the Sprint Cup Series came in 2002 when he made an attempt at qualifying for the Pontiac Excitement 400 in Richmond, but spun out on his second qualifying lap, and didn’t make the race. He was racing in the NASCAR junior series again when he failed his first drug test in March of 2004, and was suspended. He stayed inactive until 2006 when NASCAR reinstated him after he agreed to some conditions, one of which was frequent, random drug tests. He drove in five Nationwide races before he received an indefinite suspension in September of 2006 for refusing a drug test after a second lap crash in Richmond. He never raced again. On May 6, 2009 Kevin Grubb was found in a Virginia hotel room dead from a self inflicted gunshot wound to the head. He was 31 years old.