NASCAR - Keselowski: Allmendinger’s suspension a ‘death sentence’
No matter what the outcome is, it’s going to be a long road. Whether it comes back positive or negative, it doesn’t make a difference. It’s still a death sentence. In this sport we rely on sponsors and reputation.
“No matter what the outcome is, it’s going to be a long road,” Brad Keselowski said Friday from the New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Whether it comes back positive or negative, it doesn’t make a difference. It’s still a death sentence. In this sport we rely on sponsors and reputation.”
Keselowski hasn’t talked to his teammate since the suspension. But he expressed the same concern for the process as others in the garage. While the second test will provide some answers, for Keselowski it only proves the entire system is flawed.
“That’s why I think nothing should be allowed,” he said. “At the end of the day there are things that are allowed. Who gets to pick and choose what’s allowed? I don’t understand that process. I know my own personal code is to take nothing at all. You should man-up and just drive the (darn) race car.”
NASCAR does allow some stimulants and supplements. Drivers generally ask in advance to make sure there are no problems.
Allmendinger remained suspended for Sunday’s LENOX Industrial Tools 301 after failing a drug test before last week’s race at the Daytona International Speedway. Most were shocked the driver of Roger Penske’s No. 22 Dodge apparently had a substance in his urine that is banned by the sport. But most said they wanted to see a second sample tested before making judgment.
“I just don’t know where the truth is or what’s really going on,” Jimmie Johnson said. “But in time we’ll all find out.”
That could come next week. Allmendinger originally was tested at the Kentucky Motor Speedway. His test was divided into “A” and “B” samples. The “A” sample came back positive at the Aegis Sciences Corp. hours before last Saturday’s Coke Zero 400 at Daytona.
Penske Racing scrambled to get Sam Hornish Jr. in Allmendinger’s car for the Daytona race. He flew from Charlotte, N.C., and only missed one warm-up lap before starting the race.
NASCAR tried to notify Allmendinger hours before last Saturday’s race, NASCAR spokesman David Higdon said. The timing of the suspension, which created the hectic attempt to get Hornish in the car, was created by those delays, not any presumed urgency created by the substance found.
Allmendinger announced through a spokesman he plans to have the “B” sample tested this week. If that sample also is positive, NASCAR will move his suspension from temporary to indefinite. Once it’s indefinite, he can only win reinstatement by completing NASCAR’s drug treatment program.
Allmendinger said the finding was a false-positive created by a “stimulant,” according to Tara Ragan, vice-president of Allmendinger’s Walldinger Racing Inc. The substance identified during the “A” test is part of NASCAR’s list of banned substances.
NASCAR will allow Allmendinger or a qualified chemist to watch the second test.
The entire garage area seems intrigued to find out what happens next.
“It’s just you don’t want; you just don’t know how that could happen,” Dale Earnhardt Jr. said. “It’s just hard to wrap your head around anybody making a mistake or a driver making a mistake or the agency making a mistake, you just don’t know. It’s hard to wrap your head around it.”
Carl Edwards suggested the drivers hire somebody to represent them during the entire process. That way, both sides will be more confident in the results.
“I think we’re all kind of in a position where, let’s be honest, it’s an imperfect world,” he said. “People are imperfect; tests are imperfect. My point is that I think until the drivers, this is just my theory, I think the drivers need to get together and we need to have our own group that is paid by us, that works for us, to be here in tandem with the NASCAR drug testers and have them test us at the same time so that we have not just an ‘A’ and ‘B’ sample, but an ‘A’ and ‘B’ testing facility, and we can all agree on that facility, it’s no big deal.”
Keselowski disagreed. He believes drug tests can’t be perfect, even for people who don’t take any drugs.
“I can still tell you when you go in that room to take a drug test – and I’ve never taken drugs in my life – you’re scared (to death) of it,” he said. “It’s a phobia of mine. I go in that room and I’m still scared. You know if something goes wrong, it’s a death sentence for your career. It’s over.
“You know it’s in human hands. By the very nature of being in human hands there’s potential for error. I’d like to sit here and believe it’s gone through all the processes to make sure it was done right and that no one would go out and ruin someone’s career if it wasn’t checked, checked and back-checked, but I also know the course of history shows humans make mistakes, even when they check, check and re-check.”
To remove some of the doubt, Keselowski takes nothing.
“I don’t even think Flintstones vitamins should be allowed,” he said.