Volume III, Issue 4, Page 18

NEWS & ANALYSIS

NASCAR Driver Admits to Using H While Driving

Chevy Drivers Speak Out

04/15/08

In an interview with ESPN, suspended NASCAR driver Aaron Fike admitted that he secretly struggled with drug addiction for years and that he also shot up heroin on some race days. In his first in-depth interview since being arrested for heroin possession last summer, the 25-year-old said he had been using H for eight months and suffered from a dependency on painkillers for six years before that. In the weeks prior to his arrest, his once-a-week experiment had become a daily routine, including the days he was competing in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series.

One of the teams he drove for was the Chevy Silverado of Kevin Harvick Incorporated (KHI). At Phoenix, Harvick and other Chevy drivers answered questions about the news and how he feels about his own discussions with NASCAR on the subject. He came up with some tough answers to tough issues.

WHAT DO YOU THINK OF AARON FIKE’S REVELATION THIS WEEK OF HEROIN USE DURING RACES?  I had a long conversation with NASCAR the last time we brought this policy up end of the year last year and it almost seems like it went on deaf ears. I’m disappointed with the fact that we’re in a case where we have to have a reaction instead of being proactive about the situation. So I’m disappointed that we have to answer these questions again and we haven’t made any headway whatsoever on the drug testing policy. In the 10 years that I’ve raced, I’ve never been drug tested. So to me that is not a proper professional sports drug policy and I went up and talked to them about it. They were madder that I had a reaction to the situation than they were as far as trying to move forward. To me, it was just one of those meetings where they were content to listen to what I had to say and that was about it. My name is not Jeff Gordon.

DID YOU IT MAKE YOU ANGRY THAT YOU’D RACED WITH FIKE?  I have been in a race with him and I know for a fact that he’s not the only one. There’s another driver that is suspended that I can almost guarantee you was in a race car while he was under the influence and that pisses me off. That is not fair to the 95 percent of this garage and I can guarantee you 95 percent of this garage is clean, but there’s a five percent chance - it’s just like the safety thing back in 2001 the reason that we reacted to it, we weren’t proactive until that situation happened.  

There’s no reason not to be proactive in the world of sports, there’s no reason not to be proactive in the drug situation and that to me is irresponsible more than anything else. I’m sure I’ll be blasted from somebody for saying what I feel but I don’t want to be on the race track with people like that.

ON HIS TEAM’S DRUG TESTING POLICY.  That would be a question you would have to ask Richard (Childress) as far as the RCR policy on it. I’m sure they think the same. It’s like I told NASCAR before, this isn’t about the teams, this isn’t about the crew members, this is about the drivers and being very, very forward thinking as to how the drivers are perceived from a public standpoint. If I’m a fan of another sport, I don’t want to watch and think that I don’t know if those drivers, are they really clean? What difference does it make if they do random drug testing every week on every driver in the garage and you have to do it 15 times a year? I’m sure I’ll have to for speaking my mind, but if I have to pee in a cup 15 times a year I’m happy to do that. Just to make sure that everybody in the world knows that our sport is clean. I want the perception of the fans and the sponsors to be that this garage is clean and there’s no reason to have to go back and clean up all this mess because we have two or three people [doing drugs]. Let’s just get it over with and be done with it.  As you can tell I’m a little bit frustrated about the situation.

WERE YOU SUSPICIOUS THAT AARON FIKE HAD BEEN ON ANYTHING WHILE DRIVING FOR HIM? Aaron drove a couple of races for me and there was no reason to think that they were suspicious, but there’s certain people that maybe they experiment with a lot of things. I don’t know about drugs to tell you the truth, but I know that I want to be next to the guy and I want to know he’s clean. I don’t want to have to get in a truck or get in a Nationwide car or get in a cup car and think that somebody had been out the night before and not been clean. I’m frustrated with the fact that I have to answer questions about Aaron Fike. Everybody that has to do a media bullpen today will have to answer a question about Aaron Fike and it really, really ticks me off that we have to answer that because everyone should know that we are taking random drug tests, and every driver in this garage should take them, in any garage in NASCAR. This is always been perceived as a clean sport, let’s not let it be perceived as something that is not clean now because it is for the most part.  But let’s prove it.

WILL YOU DRUG TEST YOUR DRIVERS BECAUSE OF THIS TYPE OF THING? I can, I don’t right now. In order to race in this series we have to sign a substance abuse policy and we have to sign a lot of things to race in this series.  In the end, it’s the responsibility of the sport to make sure that all the drivers in the seats are clean.

WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ABOUT RANDOM DRUG TESTING ON A REGULAR BASIS?
 There definitely needs to be random testing on the drivers. I care about my crew guys and I care about the other people in the sport, but nobody wants to turn a newspaper in of Joe Blow tire carrier on the 33 car, that’s not a big story. A big story is Aaron Fike not being clean while he was in a race car. That’s a big story and will continue to be one consistently run through this week, next week and the weeks to come until we fix it. It’s definitely something we all have to figure out how to evaluate it. They don’t listen to me so, I don’t know how we need to evaluate it, but we need to change something.

HOW ABOUT DRIVERS AT KHI?
 I don’t know exactly how we go through that policy right now. We definitely need to change the way we look at it too. I do know that to get any kind of insurance for our company and employees, as well as my personal insurance, drug testing is a part of that procedure. Based on the responsibility of what we got going on here, we all need to fix it.

YOU SAID NASCAR LAUGHED AT YOU OR JUST IGNORED YOU?  They were madder that I leveled my opinion about it, than they were about trying to listen to what I had to say. I’ve had several situations like that lately where they just kind of listen to what you want to say and that’s the end of it. There’s not a whole lot that they want to listen to for some reason. We’re not all against them. We all have the same goal in mind here to take this forward. I’m just really frustrated about the whole deal for the fact that I know that 95 percent of the garage is clean and there’s a lot of people I don’t know. Those are the ones - you just need to know what you’re racing against.”