NASCAR details the drug testing process and Road to Recovery program
On Monday, Austin Wayne Self was suspended indefinitely by NASCAR after failing a random drug screening.
Yesterday, Self took to twitter to offer an apology letter to the fans. In the note, he stated that the test was actually conducted back in February at Daytona International Speedway.
Since then, Self has run three races. The year started with a 9th place run at Daytona. He finished 27th at Atlanta Motor Speedway, 15th at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Ahead of the race at Martinsville Speedway, Self was given 72 hours to decide if he would like to take a second test to confirm the results. NASCAR requested that Self step down from competing at Martinsville and Texas.
AM Racing replaced Self for Martinsville and put Bubba Wallace in the race.
NASCAR drug testing process
The NASCAR drug tests are conducted at the track by Drug Free Sport, a Kansas City, Missouri organization. The samples are then sent to Sports Medicine Research and Testing Laboratory (SMRTL) in Salt Lake City, Utah.
The drug test was complete the week of February 15th. Self was then notified during the week of Martinsville Speedway on March 23rd. That’s over a month between the test to the suspension announcement.
“Because (SMRTL) tests athletes in Major League Baseball, the NFL and a number of other sports and clients, there’s an expected amount of time from sample collection to actual results. It’s not instantaneous and we know that,” a NASCAR spokesperson told NBC Sports.
“Ideally, it would be great to get a confirmed test result within 24 hours, but that’s just not realistic. We’re very happy with our partners, SMRTL and Drug Free Sport. They’re the best in the business as far as we’re concerned. They do a good job for us and there’s a reason why just about all the professional sports leagues use them.”
Drug Free Sport is always used in other areas of motorsports. They handle drug tests for the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series as well as World of Outlaws.
Dr. Doug Aukerman, NASCAR’s Medical Review Officer informed NASCAR and Self of the positive test the week of Martinsville Speedway.
Austin Wayne Self
Road to Recovery
Austin Wayne Self has already began NASCAR’s Road to Recovery program. The program includes classes and mandatory drug testing. Upon completion of the program, Self would be allowed to return to the race track.
NASCAR says the Road to Recovery program could be as short as 6 weeks.
“Once (the Road To Recovery administrator has) determined that the individual has sufficiently recovered from the situation. And is confident that he or she will be able to perform without fear of getting involved with the substance again, they notify us and the competitor is allowed to request reinstatement,” the NASCAR spokesperson explained to NBC Sports.
“We’re very happy with our policy, we believe our policy is fair to competitors and creates an environment that keeps the safety of competitors and everyone first and foremost. As important, if we do have someone who has an issue, we do provide a path back to the sport for them.”
The NASCAR Truck Series is off for over a month. They will return to action at Dover International Speedway on May 3rd, 2019.
AM Racing is currently searching for a replacement driver.
Austin Wayne Self issues an apology
“To each of my fans, team partners, crew members, and fellow NASCAR members, I ask for your grace and understanding in this difficult season of adversity, and ask that you would accept my apology for what has happened. It is an honor to be involved in a premier sport so great as ours, and I am truly crushed for what has happened.”
“It has been incredibly disheartening since learning of the results from the random drug test taken earlier this season at Daytona, through our sanctioning body, and for the news announced (Monday).”
“The news and positive results have caught me as a surprise. Being a driver, I am expected to be a steward for our sport – someone who pays attention to even the most minute of details, just as our race team does with our trucks in competition.”
“Moving forward I promise to those who will follow this journey, that I will aim to the utmost of my ability to do a better job at paying close attention to what I consume, and allow into my body, as an athlete.
“I will work closely with NASCAR through this process to learn more about what has happened, and to ensure that I am able to return to competition as quickly as possible.”
“Moving forward, I would be grateful to have your prayers as I prepare for the days ahead. I take comfort in knowing that God has a plan for the through this, and that as 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 explains, will come through this stronger ready to tackle what lies ahead. Thank you for your support and understanding.”