Tuesday, June 9, 2009

ESPN Continues To Serve A New NASCAR Role

What would NASCAR fans do without NASCAR Now? In its third season, this daily ESPN2 show started out as a joke with awful announcers and even worse producers. Tuesday, the 2009 version showed why it has become "must see TV."

Ryan McGee has been fearless since his arrival at ESPN as a NASCAR writer and reporter. His interview with Aaron Fike turned the NASCAR world upside-down and sparked a major change in the sport's drug policy. Now, McGee is once again reporting the kind of news that gives everyone in and out of the sport a reality check.

Meth is a word that most of us know very well. We see it on the news and it normally involves police activity and broken lives. We see it on special shows presented on cable TV as the new drug scourge of this country. Methamphetamine is the illegal drug that NASCAR contends Jeremy Mayfield tested positive for in Richmond.

It was Mike Massaro in his first season as one of the series hosts who drew Wednesday's show as his assignment. Massaro quizzed McGee on how he found the information, what it meant and if it all could just be a simple mistake.

McGee reported the facts and didn't stray into opinion. Even with the drug known, Mayfield's camp contends the false positive was a result of Adderall and ClaritinD being combined by Mayfield on the weekend in question. McGee pointed out that after a first positive, a second more specific test for meth should have been done by Aegis.

Should is a key word, as NASCAR and Aegis are now under a gag order imposed by the court. Until the time for trial comes around, no one will know anything more than that the substance in question is methamphetamine.

Dr. Gary Wadler returned to the show as an expert. Wadler is from the World Anti-Doping Agency and he clearly has the most veteran perspective on the issue. He emphasized that it is still not known whether Mayfield was involved recreationally with this drug days prior to racing or used it on a race day.

Wadler is not a fan of the NASCAR policy and made his views quite clear. At times, he sounded like Mayfield's lawyer. "There is no published list of banned substances," said Wadler. "It's a very unusual (drug) protocol."

"Woefully lacking in all the details," commented Wadler on the NASCAR policy. "The root of all of it is what drugs are banned? If you can't answer that question, you cannot start (the program)."

While Massaro tried to re-focus on Mayfield's alleged use of meth as performance-enhancing, it did not make a lot of sense. Wadler said meth can be detected in the system days after use, so the issue of performance-enhancement vs. recreational use was going to remain up in the air until all the facts were revealed.

What better person to comment on this situation next than Ricky Craven. All season long, Craven has been the heart-and-soul of the Monday NASCAR Now roundtable and a tremendous analyst in the studio. The look on his face was more than serious, it was almost painful.

Craven said he was thinking about all the effort, the support and the help that a person needs to even get to the Sprint Cup level. He talked about the luck, the good decisions and the perfect timing it takes to be one of the 43 in the starting field.

"No where in there is there room for all this (drug) stuff," said Craven. "It never really existed in my mind and here we are dealing with it...and it really bothers me. None of what I just heard makes any sense to me."

Craven's point was that even the thought that the driver beside you at speed on the track may be impaired would change some of the dynamic of NASCAR racing.

Massaro later switched gears and talked with Johnny Benson. The issue was Benson's truck series team shutting down and putting the defending champion on the sidelines. Benson is great on TV and kept things upbeat. Economic reality was the reason, not performance or team problems. Only dollars in the door would return Benson's team this season.

Over the next several days, NASCAR Now should be expanding this new perspective on Mayfield and the overall issue of illegal drugs. There are still a lot of facts remaining to be seen, but McGee and Wadler put a lot of information out to the fans and kept it all in perspective.

Massaro returns on Wednesday at 5PM ET with Carl Edwards as a guest. Nicole Manske takes over the hosting duties on Thursday for the rest of the week. Perhaps, few of us knew that ESPN's NASCAR reporters would be spending time this season dealing with drug issues and investigative reporting.

It's just nice to have a TV platform like NASCAR Now that allows fresh and topical news stories to be delivered directly to the fans.

TDP welcomes comments from readers. Just click on the comments button below to add your opinion on this issue. This is a family-friendly website, please keep that in mind when posting. Thanks for taking the time to drop by The Daly Planet.


Photojosh said...

For all the slagging we do of ESPN around here, we've all got to admit that NASCAR Now has consistently improved itself and is now a crucial news link in the sport.

Well done ESPN.

Matt said...

I knew once this story broke that it would be ESPN, not SPEED, FOX or Yahoo sports or any other website that would break the news of the actual drug Mayfield tested posititve for. When done by the right reporter, no one can beat ESPN's investigative reporting.

And kudos to ESPN for scraping most the original show plans (like the Edwards interview) for today and focusing on the breaking news.

Jack from PA said...

Awesome show tonight. Ryan McGee is an excellent investigative reporter and he proved it on this show. Further, Ricky Craven is almost a go-to guy for NN, and his views on this story are very genuine. Both gave good insight on this now-soap opera of a story.

I'll give ESPN credit. They have done what they needed to do to improve this daily NASCAR show. They have marginally improved race coverage over the past two seasons, but NASCAR Now is becoming as JD said, "must-see TV."

Richard in N.C. said...

Ryan is only super and, in my view, has something in short supply at ESPN - credibility.

I must admit that prior to today's report by Ryan, David Newton has done some of the best reporting I have seen on the situation. Offhand DN is the only writer I have seen who has made the effort to compare NASCAR's program to that of another major sport, the NFL.

I have not had a chance to watch NASCAR Now yet, but it sounds like the drug expert has not read NASCAR's response to Jeremy's suit, in which NASCAR asserts that it sent out 1, or maybe 2, memos, at least to team owners, that listed banned substances that needed to be tested for.

darbar said...

This was one excellent Nascar Now. I was particularly interested in the way Dr Wadler bashed Nascar's drug testing program, suggesting to them they had an already existing and successful program run by Formula 1 that they could have used in setting up their own testing program. From everything this Doctor said, he's not at all impressed with Nascar's program and implied that the program will be put on trial if the Mayfield issue goes to the courts.

Good Job, ESPN

Anonymous said...

I got home late and just watched the show on Tivo and have to say that I am truly, truly impressed. Solid, factual sports reporting, thoroughly done. This sets the bar high not only for ESPN reporting in future but for all reporting that covers serious NASCAR stories. Special kudos to both McGee and to Craven for jobs exceptionally well done.

Karen said...

JM's lawyer, Diehl, might as well call Dr. Wadler as his expert witness. But how is this news by McGee? JM's said all along it was methamphetamine. Maybe crystal meth has different components than plain meth. Craven was excellent.

NorCalFan said...

I normally don't make a point of watching NN so it was a fluke I caught tonight's show and color me impressed. I was riveted to the show in its entirety listening to Ryan McGee's investigative report on the Jeremy Mayfield saga. Dr. Walder's interview as a subject matter expert of sorts definitely didn't mince words with his opinion of Nascar's drug policy. This storyline will be very interesting to follow.

Good job by Mike Massaro with his direct questions.

Anonymous said...

I really enjoy NN,especially on Monday's. Its a serious review of what is happening in Nascar. Its all I wish Twin could be,but isn't. While I wasn't really interested in the Mayfield situation,they did a credible job of reporting it.

Vicky D said...

Good interview with Dr. Wadler and his being critical of Nascar's drug policy. I wonder if Jeremy's attorney has hired experts to test different compounds to confirm a false positive result like Jeremy has been saying all along.

glenc1 said...

at first I thought, ugh...a half hour of sensational rehashing...almost turned the channel...glad I didn't, I was totally wrong. It was objective, it was fair, they kept restating that they don't know all the facts; Ricky was first rate...it had to be about the best reporting I've ever seen from ESPN, regardless of what ones' opinions are, it covered all the bases. A++.

majorshouse said...

As usual great reporting and I thought that Ricky Craven's comments were timely as ever. I just do not understand why someone doesn't ahve him as their play by play announcer somewhere because he would be great. Are you listening ESPN?

jamie in nc said...
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Anonymous said...


Good for you being the first one to comment on ESPN's role in investigating the Mayfield issue. Every morning I go to Jayski's list of articles, and not one other article so far. Kudos!

I actually do not think Massaro did such a good job. JD, I agree with you that it did not make sense for him to steer the conversation to perfromance-enhancing rather than the dangers meth presents.

Massaro then went on to ask Dr Walder's opinion on NASCAR's drug policy. I think Mike should have asked the doctor if he had in fact read the policy. I don't think he had. The policy states they cannot use any illegal drugs. Meth is illegal.

Maybe to be balanced ESPN can have Paul Newberry, from the AP, to report what he found out from IRL. Actually the AP did a good job in their interviews in the IRL. IRL does not have a list of banned susbstances. The AP then polled every single driver. They were 100% in support of IRL's drug policy. As a matter of fact, Graham Rahal, son of Bobby, wants even more testing.

Even though there is a gag order on the principals, there is so much more that Ryan McGee and others can tell us about Mayfield. I am curious of Mayfield was pre-tested. We know that Paul Chodora, his crew guy had not been.

JD, good job.

Jack from PA said...

@ majorshouse,

I agree 100% with Craven being in the booth. He would add so much to a broadcast. At the very least, ESPN should consider putting him in for a Nationwide race just to see how he does. I would assume he'd be a great success.

The Loose Wheel said...

Now Jeremy is claiming he inhaled fumes from a fiery Talladega wreck...

spin spin spin

West Coast Diane said...

Been out of pocket as we were in Yellowstone with no internet...although satellite worked and got to see race after cleaning 5 inches of snow off roof and satellite dish.

I didn't see NN. Why can't we get an objective summary of other sports drug policy?

And the real reason for this post. What is up with Jeremy now saying he inhaled fumes from a fiery crash at Talledega???

So what is it? Claritan D...double dose of Claritan... Mixture of C-D and Adderall...fumes from a crash?

I am very confused!!

Jack from PA said...

The whole deal with Jeremy inhaling fumes is actually in his lawsuit against NASCAR, so it's not like he just thought of this a day or two ago. Either way, it could very well have happened, but I don't know how believable it is.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Don't get distracted with half-truths. Mayfield's lawsuit is not the issue here.

McGee is saying that Aegis and NASCAR have identified meth as the third drug in Mayfield's system and the one that caused the suspension.

Regardless of whether the use was recreational days before a race or on race day, this is the same issue that Aaron Fike had that caused everything to change.

As Craven said, there is no room for this in the sport in any manner.

McGee said in his report that once the first positive comes up for meth, another test is done to get the specific type.

The next several weeks should be critical to see what info is released and how the NASCAR TV partners treat it.


Nathan Brice said...

If Jeremy test turns out to be a false positive, then Ryan McGee deserves a lot of credit for saying that it could be triggered by several things. Jeremy was in the late race crash at Talladega where did inhale some flames. If that turns out to be what triggered it, then Mike Massaro and Brad Daugherty should be FIRED!!!!!!!!!!!! That conversation that they had yesterday at the end of the show was a DISASTER!!!!!!!!! I have had enough of people saying that people are drug users without knowing the whole story. Please spare the 24 hour news cycle argument. It is more about being decent humans at that point. They will never apologize for it. They should be fired for that as well. It amazes me what people do to get their names out there.

glenc1 said...

I'd have to watch it again, but I don't believe I heard either Mike or Brad say that Jeremy had a drug problem. It was pretty much 'if' and 'supposing'. There's going to be a certain amount of speculation when not all the facts are known and I don't think they portrayed it as other than that although I'll admit it was teetering on the edge.

Also, maybe I'm wrong, but I thought the fumes in question were from the chemical extinguishers, which are supposed to be nasty (guys have gone to infield care just to get treated for inhaling them.) I have no idea what's in them or how long they'd stay in your system (or even if that's what they meant.)

Sophia said...

Been doing lots of searches on this and yes ephedra and other OTC can trigger false positives for meth but a second test can break down the exact metabolite. Wow. Never woulda guess JM would do that at THIS POINT in his life. A cut and paste I found at another site.

Like other botanical products, ephedra contains scores, perhaps even hundreds of different chemical compounds.

Drug tests are usually designed for ease of use and are broad-based, so that a single test would detect many different drugs. Thus, it can be difficult to differentiate between an actual drug/pharmaceutical or a natural product/supplement like ephedra.

Such differentiation can usually be done by further, intensive testing that is targeted for a particular unique metabolite or residual drug itself.

bevo said...

Heard McGee on Sirius just before he went on NN. He went out of his way to state that his sources were not covered by the gag order. He was very measured in his reporting. Excellent job.

Anonymous said...

As I rarely go to ESPN.com, I have a question. The Dr. Wadler video clip is edited. I haven't had a chance to watch my recording of Nascar Now, but from this blog, there seems to be parts missing. Is this normal for ESPN's website?

Richard in N.C. said...

I do not think he represented otherwise, but it seemed clear to me that Dr. Wadler was speaking about his understanding of NASCAR's program and had not actually read it, nor NASCAR's response to Jeremy's lawsuit.

I did find it telling that about a month into the story last night was the first mention I had seen or heard to F1's drug testing policy.

Anonymous said...

Yes, first time I've heard F1 come up too. But like other sports, they have a 'union' so to speak, the Grand Prix Drivers' Association.

Anyways, I've been told that herbs (such as found in energy drinks) can make bad test results too. The whole deal is very complicated.

Anonymous said...

Since Mayfield and NASCAR execs are public figures, anyone can say anything they want about them. Unless someone has seen Mayfield's medical chart, or heard sworn testimony in court, we don't know whether he is or is not a habitual drug abuser.

I thought Dr Walder seemed like he either wanted to testify for Mayfiled on the drug policy,(NOT the results of the test), or he was looking to make NASCAR an offer of giving them a better drug policy, like the one he heads.

When Mike asked him if he thought the policy was working, of course Dr Waler gave a negative answer. Too bad that Mike did not mention that WADA is getting a lot of complaints from athletes such as Rafa Nadal and the 2 William sisters about how horrible his policy is.

That is in contrast to no vocal complaints from NASCAR cup drivers.

Daly Planet Editor said...

I think the Tuesday show delivered two points.

One, the substance was meth and not either Adderall or ClaritinD. It was also stated that a simple second test when the first positive came back would determine specifically that it was meth.

Secondly, NASCAR better start getting an illegal substance list together because saying something in the press in one issue but defending a lawsuit is another.

Daugherty and Craven chose their words well, but as I inferred in the column it was clear Massaro was being pushed to try and tie this finding to somehow being performance-enhancing.

Don't forget, ESPN has a long track record with athletes and illegal substances. Once NN begins to approach this issue as a pro athlete simply ingesting an illegal drug, it will sort itself out.

Should be interesting to see how this goes once Nicole steps in on Thursday through the weekend.


diane said...

I'm not convinced on the Meth charge. IF Mayfield was using Meth, then why would he have pushed this lawsuit? He would know Nascar had proof and it would come out. If he was using, the logical choices are either quietly go to rehab or quietly withdraw from Nascar team ownership.

When other athletes denied drug use, it was for substances that they didn't think could be detected like BALCO's "clear". It was only after a sample of that was turned in that the labs were able to catch it and old samples could be tested. Same with EPO and the cyclists.

But you can easily test for meth, so Jeremy would know he was caught. So making a big stink doesn't make sense. As others have said, ephedrine is what you make meth out of and the ADHD drug is an amphetamine. I would want to know exactly what tests were conducted and exactly what chemical blueprint they showed. Now, whether he really has ADHD or was just using that drug is a whole other question.

If you saw Safina's interview the day before the French Open final, she was sick but said she was afraid to take anything for fear of what a drug test might show.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...
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Daly Planet Editor said...


That is why this issue is continuing to be in the national news.

Mayfield's camp continues to say Aegis is the issue and there was never a use of meth at any time.

I hope NASCAR Now will follow-up and keep this topic in the news until the truth comes out.


Unknown said...

AEGIS is staking their entire company on this result. Every time a drug test comes back positive and its a sports figure, the reprecussions of a mistake or deliberately mishandled or spiked test are essentially suicide as a company, not to mention the fact that criminal investigations are also likely.

AEGIS isn't going to say this unless they are absolutely certain of one of two things. One: The test is valid and its positive for meth. Two: There is no possible way they'd ever get caught and held liable.

I can't imagine they are stupid enough for #2 in the business they are in.

Anonymous said...

David Newton stated that in his report of NASCAR's countersuit, that NASCAR stated in the federal court papers (Paul Hendrick) that Mayfield had tested for 3 substances, Claritin D, Adderall, and the last one was a "dangerous, illegal, banned susbstance".

I don't see Mr Hendrick going before a federal judge in court and not telling the truth.

Tracy D said...

This show was what we've been waiting for. Spot on.

No credability NA$CAR said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Daly Planet Editor said...

No cred,

Sorry to remove your post. The NASCAR officials who work at the tracks are part of the drug testing program.

So are the licensed NASCAR team members as well as the drivers.

There are thousands of folks in the program and all of them have one thing in common, they would put others at risk with their abuse of illegal substances.

That is how this all started, by NASCAR finally understanding that people do not just start acting weird and then you test them.

France and his personal issues are a different topic for another day. How long he stays and where the sport heads after this very tough season will be a huge issue later this year.


Anonymous said...

Attention Marty Smith: This is what real reporting looks like.

It's also gotta kill all the reporters who are in the garage every single weekend that it took a reporter outside of their group to break this story.

Anonymous said...

I think this whole thing about NASCAR having a list is bogus. Publishing a list only opens the loopholes. You publish a list, then the driver who wants to use something illegal finds something that isn't on the list. Then if they test positive, they can say "uh, this wasn't on the list."

The NASCAR policy is simple: if you are going to ingest any drugs - any at all - call Dr. Black's cel phone. The policy was laid out to the drivers, and to anyone who thinks that is a major life inconvenience, well these guys make millions, sometimes tens of millions of dollars a year, so it is a small price to pay for their jobs and lifestyle. And as athletes are already likely to take almost no drugs and know every single thing going in their mouths. So it's not like these guys are popping pills every day and going to be rining Black's phone off the hook.

A list? The only good a list does is tell a user and abuser which items to avoid and which he can get through. If you are clean, you don't need a list. You only need a list if you are using.

Anonymous said...

I do think that there is a risk in the manner NASCAR does its testing. I hope that NN will address this and other issues about the testing process. It does not have to be directly linked to what Mayfield did or did not do.

When they only test on the weekends at the track, it gives individuals ample time to use drugs whose trace only stays in the body 3-4 days. So, you could use something on Sunday night, and know that you won't be drug tested for at least 5 days.

I know that many meth users think it can only be traced for 3 days, but there are now tests that identify the metabolites/traces for up to 5 days.

Anyway, this sure was a good start for NN to start the conversation.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 7:34PM,

What Dr. Wadler was saying on the show was that without a list there is no baseline to establish a program.

NASCAR does not have the right to know every prescription medication taken by every member of the officials, teams and drivers.

Privacy issues abound here. Why should NASCAR know someone is being temporarily treated for something which has nothing to do with the sport at all?

The other pro sports have lists and that was Wadler's point. Hopefully, NASCAR Now will continue to expand on the issues that you and I have raised.


Sophia said...

what I am still curious about is this: Yes initial drugs just name a basic category and allegedly the second one more exact.

Yet, why was Mayfield allow to qualify on Friday for the next race if there was such STRONG concern.

Meth users usually have major personality changes, too. Where as ADD meds or asthma meds, etc, would not necessarily make differents in moods except sometimes jittery or moody. Excess coffee in some people can do the same.

Also there is an OTC herb that has sedative properties in it and last I hear it is not even ON a drug list. So how do companies KNOW what to look for if it is something obscure?

I realize that is off topic but this really can get complicated.

And honestly, denial is one thing but with the horrible ~~and deserved~~ rep meth has, why would Mayfield continue to deny and threaten lawsuit?

Then again, I remember talented but insane Pete Rose denying he bet on baseball for about 18 years, so . . .

Dot said...

I've never used meth but, I've been around people who have. Tweakers as they are known are nervous, twitchy and paranoid to name some of the symptoms. There have been those "Faces of Meth" shown on TV and the internet. Not pretty.

Meth is not some drug you dabble in. It is highly addictive. I still can't believe JM would get mixed up with it.

What I don't understand is NASCARs counter suit. How do they know JM was using before the dirty drug test? Yeah, they can speculate. It's like getting caught drunk driving. We pretty much know it's not the first time driving under the influence, just the first time they got caught. But, the cops can't ticket you on that suspicion for those priors.

If NASCAR had their suspicions of JM, why didn't they test him before May? Or, after those crashes? Heck, Sam Hornish in 2008 or David Ragan in 2007 would've been tested every weekend.

Maybe AEGIS is in too deep to turn back now. I'd like to think they doubled and tripled checked the results before it was found out by those at BSPN.

Time will tell.

Anonymous said...

Privacy issues? There are no privacy issues with an independent employer. The drivers have an obligation to prove they are clean, and NASCAR can enforce any policy they wish to that effect.

And let's not forget, drivers have been told that over-the-counter and legitimate perscription medicitions are permissible, they just need to be cleared by NASCAR. These are not going to trigger a test, per Dr. Black.

If you are a driver and you are clean and by the book, yeah, maybe you have to call Dr. Black if you are on vacation and decide "wow, I have a really bad cold, I wonder if I can take NyQuil" or maybe if you are working out heavy in the gym and are interested in some protein supplement or other workout shake, you run it by Dr. Black. But I don't see how a list affects this. What if the guy is breathing glue fumes? And what if that isn't on the list? Then you have other issues. You can't have a list cover everything in the world, because an abuser that this is designs to uncover will only find a work-around.

There is no privacy invasion unless you have something you are trying to hide. People seem to forget: these drug tests and this drug policy is not to trap the innocent or suspend the unsuspecting sneezer. It is to find out who is using something they shouldn't be using on the track.

Anonymous said...

Also, NASCAR Now did Mayfield one potential disservice -- not all methamphetamines are crytal meth. These types of drugs are frequently pills. ESPN has done a lot of stories about how methamphetamines were used like crazy and commonplace in baseball in the 1990s. Most locker rooms would have two coffees brewing, one marked "unleaded" was just coffee and the one marked "leaded" was spiked with methamphetamines. It would help tired players get through a game and keep their focus for the full three hours when they were otherwise tired or prone to their fatigue affecting performance. Sadly, these were incredibly common in most baseball clubhouses recently. When you say "crystal meth" you are talking about a recreational drug that you smoke out of a glass pipe and get wasted on - way to wasted to even start a car, let alone make a lap. That's different from methamphetamines in pill form which can be used simply as "uppers". I'm not saying Mayfield took one or the other or both, but Nascar Now kinda lumped them together in a way that didn't draw much distinction.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 9:01,

Are you kidding me? That is at the heart of this entire issue.

Why does NASCAR need to know if you use Viagra or need Flomax to pee? If you have a Cipro and Flagyl cocktail for your diverticulitis when it flares up, does it affect your driving?

If you need any of the hundreds of other drugs that have nothing to do with performance, alertness or the ability to perform a designated task at the track, what business does NASCAR have asking you to disclose it?

That is the point Dr. Wadler was trying to make on the show. Without a list of the substances that affect your performance in this sport and are banned, the world is tilted toward NASCAR in a very illegal manner.

Personal issues rule this discussion because between the drivers, officials and licensed team members there are thousands of folks.

You can't force those folks to disclose all their adult medical issues simply to change a tire.

This is going to be really interesting in a couple of weeks.


Anonymous said...

You can't force those folks to disclose all their adult medical issues simply to change a tire.

Says who? I am not trying to be flippant, but while what you say above makes common sense, it is not in fact the law. As far as I know, NASCAR is a privately held corporation and can set whatever standards it wants. It can hire and employees at will and it can require that drivers consult with a particular physician. Disclosing your drugs to a physician is not an invasion of privacy. And while you and I can joke about Viagra, neither of us are fully versed on the physiological implications. It could well be that NASCAR wouldn't want a driver using Viagra within a certain time frame around a race because it is known to dramatically increase heart rate and alter blood flow. If NASCAR deems that taking a Viagra the night before a race might affect performance adversely in any way - then they can certainly require the disclosure of the drug. Again, these are not federal employees and this is a private corporation. They can set whatever rules they please and the drivers who disagree are free to choose not to be employed by an organization that has such rules. But there is a difference between distasteful, which I might even agree a policy requiring this kind of disclosure is, and illegal, which this is not.

Finally, I don't see the drivers objecting to the policy. They seem pretty much in fully support, because they know they are not at risk. It doesn't sound to me like Mayfield disclosed his meds as was required, so even if there was no meth and only those substances he seems to have not gotten the point of that big important meeting he attended in which all drivers were told how serious NASCAR was ahead of time.

Anonymous said...

I agreee that no one can be forced to disclose what medications they take. What makes a diffference in this case, is that the affected NASCAR personnel have signed a documment that says they will disclose every medication they take. Its their free will to sign.

It is not true that no employer has that right to know. When my son wanted to become a commercial pilot, he had to disclose everything he took.

He also took a physical exam, they discovered he had cycle cell animia (trace). We were shocked! No symptoms. We are Americans of Greek decent.

With all the physicals he had taken in his life, (NCAA athlete, ROTC, military service, avid Alpine skier, been a blood donor, it had never been discovered.

Apparently if you have cycle cell anemia, it affects your brain in high altitudes. FAA would have wanted to know if he was taking something to mask the disease. Also, you cannot be a diabetic, bipolar, etc. By the medications a person takes, they can tell if there could be a safety problem, especially if the applicant is trying to mask it.

As with NASCAR, the FAA is only interested in safety, not trying to eliminate the pool of applicants.

Richard in N.C. said...

JD, there are also questions of drug interactions, and maybe taking 2 medicines within a certain time frame might expose a driver or a tire carrier to passing out. As I recall the Flowmax commercials include a caution to not take Flowmax if you take nitrates (I believe) and that a person might be light-headed in the first 12 hours after beginning to take Flowmax. A combination of prescribed medicines that might be fine for someone working in an office might cause a hazardous situation for someone under unusual stress.

It still intrigues me that I have seen no articles comparing Mayfield's situation and NASCAR's program to that of Manny Ramirez and MLB, which I find especially strange given their close proximity in time. Except for what Ryan McGee, in particular, and David Newton have done this month, it seems to me that the NASCAR media have at best been sloppy in their reporting.

I have no idea how many substances there are, but WADA's list is a 9 page long listing of chemicals, and that is not a 9 page long, columnar listing, but 9 pages of paragraphs of banned substances with only 1 page devoted to illegal drugs.

Maybe after NASCAR's recent history of settling lawsuits out of court Jeremy thought he could buffalo NASCAR into settling if he put up a fight.

Anonymous said...

NASCAR isn't the government. A driver or crewman isn't forced to earn a living working at NASCAR sanctioned events. If a person wants to keep their drug use private, they are free to choose another profession. There aren't any rights violated. If you don't like the way you are being treated, just go work for someone else.

NASCAR's open ended drug list is no different than the Tour de France keeping specimens indefinatly, just in case a new test comes around for a banned substance.

Fully disclosing every little thing that gets checked is impossible when cheaters continue to push the limits and try to find loopholes in any rules set down. The rules need to be broad enough to catch and properly penalize a driver that comes up with a new way to cheat for which a test just hasn't been developed.

Sophia said...

Viagra can not be taken by pilots 6 hrs before flying as it makes it difficult to see between green and blue lights, IMPORTANT lights on instrument panels. This was disclosed years ago, thus this is why FAA needs to know EVERYTHING.

Also, not to split hairs here but NASCAR is so darned concerned about drugs causing IMPAIRMENTS? Some meds cause light headedness, low blood pressure.

Um,, if you have the flu or stomach ailments and get dehydrated, your reflexes become VERY OFF. Your blood pressure bottoms out, you get tachycardia, weak and sluggish thinking.Thus i am flummoxed why so many drivers can not only start races when fighting the flu but STAY in the car the entire race.

Sleep deprivation is proven to slow reflexes the SAME as if driving under the influence of alcohol.

Many folks are TOTALLY unaware of medicine side effects EVEN AT NORMAL DOSES, whether prescribed or over the counter.

And again, since NASCAR makes up most rules on a whim, they need specificities. And if the med is of a personal nature, NASCAR needs to say WHY they need to know (as in the temporary color blindness of Viagra issue for pilots)

But while NASCAR is wanting to always scream keep the drivers safe, NOBODY has EVER said in the booth that so and so is driving with the flu today AND ALSO A DANGER ON THE TRACK. :)

So while they are combing over side effects of many drugs legal, perhaps drivers need to have reflex testing before being ALLOWED to drive if they have the flu.

The longer this case drags on, the more out of touch NASCAR is looking with it's lack of explicitness.

Folks say if you are innocent, you don't need to worry???

Spoken like a person who knows so vary LITTLE about the human body and how it works under it's own influences/reactions.

I sure would like this puzzle to end.

Oh, and when my late brother in law went to medical school in the late 50' and early 60's, they had access to speed for interns all the time. There was a giant jar in the lounge where they could pop uppers. I forget the name and he is not here to ask. Back then THAT was acceptable. Not today. Sadly, many years of medical school led to cardiomyopathy damage from the speed and he later needed a heart transplant. We had him another 10 years after that...so you never know what is safe today, can mess you up years from now but I meander off the path again.

Thus as we become more enlightened, NASCAR seriously needs to rethink letting sick drivers drive under the influence of a severe flu!

That's just as scary as somebody under antihistamine which I HOPE is not allowed before driving.

Richard in N.C. said...

When I read the story a few days ago about Mark Martin's back problems some years ago being so bad that he had to be lifted in and out of the car my first thought was that I hope that would not be allowed today. In F1 an injured driver is not allowed to drive again until he can demonstrate that he can get out of his car in less than a specified number of seconds.

Daly Planet Editor said...

You guys missed the point. It does not make a difference what meds anyone is on without a list.

Just because you participate in a specfic profession, you don't surrender all your rightst to privacy.

That is what Wadler was saying. Without a list, like other professional sports, NASCAR is going to lose in court.

I take a drug test like most of you, but the comparison is not the same. Drivers are employed by the race teams and are paying to participate in Sprint Cup races.

How much information a non-fulltime employer can demand from a driver, team member or official is soon going to be very well defined.

Wadler said NASCAR is basically wrong in their approach and called it an "unusual (drug) protocol."

Should be interesting!


Anonymous said...

I guess I just don't agree. All the people involved signed a contract. It's in black and white. They are not to take any illegal substances. Surely Gary Crotty, a lawyer for NASCAR, who is known in legal circles as an expert in motorsport legal theory, knows more than Wadler.

Anonymous said...

Just because you participate in a specfic profession, you don't surrender all your rightst to privacy.

Again, this may be your opinion on the way things should be, but it is not the way things are. There is no law that prevents a private employer from requiring the disclosure of any and all medications, if that employer so chooses. You may find such a requirement to be restrictive and unfair, but if the employer legitimately feels that such disclosure is necessary for successful completion of job duties, then it is fair game. This has been the case for pilots, doctors, and various other professions for years. Now it is coming to NASCAR. And it is about time. If I am running side-by-side with someone at 180 into a corner, you bet your life savings I want to know if they are on flowmax, aspirin, viagra, uppers, diet pills, laxative, everything. As a sanctioning body, NASCAR has an obligation to know. This whole right to privacy thing you keep throwing around is a concept, not a law that applies to NASCAR.

Anonymous said...

I bet caffeine wouldn't be on any NASCAR list. It's in Coke, coffee, tea, etc. What are you going to do, put it on a list and make drivers disclose every soft drink?

But you wouldn't want a driver taking No-Doz caffeine pills right before a race. And that is the point: hire the best medical professionals to (randomly) screen blood and urine samples of participants to find things that are not supposed to be in their system. Not find things that are on a list, but find things that should not be in their system. That is the best policy, which by the way is the one NASCAR has in place.

gretajean said...

Claritin has an ingredient that is used to make meth; that's why it's under lock and key at the pharmacy. I don't have a lot of faith in NASCAR's drug test or even know if they would be aware of that. And they've used both samples instead of preserving one.

Anonymous said...


Today Diandra Leslie-Pelecky of Stock Car Science has a great article on distinguishing Meth from legal drugs. She just puts information out, no blame game.

Richard in N.C. said...

JD, other than 2 recent articles by David Newton, I have yet to find an article listed on Jayski that made any attempt to compare NASCAR's drug program to that of any other major racing series or sport and I have not had the time to try to find the details of the drug programs of any other sport to see which ones do and which ones do not have explicit lists of banned substances. I did see someone refer to an AP article about the IRL's program saying that the IRL does not have a list either. Since the media has shyed away from comparing NASCAR's program to that of other major sports I have to assume that NASCAR's program stacks up pretty well - otherwise the media would have made such comparison in order to bash NASCAR.

That is why I find it so curious that no one in the NASCAR media has made any sort of reference or comparison of Mayfield's situation to that of Manny Ramirez. The reports came out within days of each other and the general sports media, including ESPN, crucified Ramirez. It would have been the perfect comparison with Mayfield's situation - unless such a comparison would show that NASCAR's program is on sound ground.

NASCAR has grown into a billion dollar industry, but the bulk of the NASCAR media - especially newspapers - seem stuck back in the 20th century and mad at NASCAR for growing.

Besides being a fan of Ryan McGee and his writing, I was amazed by the balance and depth of his piece on NASCAR Now.

red said...

Anonymous said...

Today Diandra Leslie-Pelecky of Stock Car Science has a great article on distinguishing Meth from legal drugs. She just puts information out, no blame game."

and i am of the opinion that no one should be permitted to post anything about the case until a thorough reading of this explanation is done and understood! science is a beautiful thing and dr leslie-pelecky does a terrific job explaining the science behind anything and everything nascar!

for those who aren't familiar with her work: the website is stockcarscience and she is also the author of the physics of nascar (now out in paperback.) definitely worth the read!

Anonymous said...

Must read on Mayfield: http://stockcarscience.com/blog/

Karen said...

Just read that blog by Dr. Pelecky and it does explain everything. Very useful in helping us nonscientific types how the testing works.

Nathan Brice said...

Where has the Mayfield coverage been the past couple of days? This is further proof that Mike will most likely not be back on ESPN next year. At least, that is what I hope.

Anonymous said...

It sure seems that NN would have better served its audience if it had Dr. Leslie-Pelecky, who knows what she is talking about and can explain it well, rather than Wadler, who seems to be looking for work.

Richard in N.C. said...

Oh yes those undisclosed, potential conflicts. It turns out that 2 high ranking people in Aegis' sports testing section used to work for WADA.