To Test, Or Not To Test?
Editor’s Note: There is a clear divide amongst World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series officials and the premier sprint car tour’s top drivers when it comes to initiating mandatory drug testing for the series. Here’s an excerpt from Shawn Miller’s August SPEED SPORT Magazine story on the subject.
By Shawn Miller
The World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series 2014 rulebook includes more than six pages about its substance abuse policy. However, World Racing Group President Tom Deery said he doesn’t anticipate the three World Racing Group series — the World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series, the World of Outlaws Late Model Series and the Super DIRTcar Series — requiring drug testing in the near future.
“We’ve not set any timeline to create mandatory or random testing in our environment,” Deery said. “There have been a number of people who have suggested it over the years in all of our divisions. It’s not really something that is a priority on our list right now. Mandatory is not a priority right now. Obviously substance abuse or the use of it in our sport is a priority.”
The World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series policy about substance abuse is written ambiguously to create flexibility for the series, Deery added.
“Our current policy was formalized five or six years ago,” he said. “Part of that was a reaction to what was happening in our world. Since then we really appreciate the flexibility our current plan gives us. We feel we can deal with most circumstances within the policy we have.”
Deery acknowledged that at least one driver or crew member has been penalized under the current policy, which he noted is similar to NASCAR’s. World Racing Group also uses the same law firm as NASCAR to oversee its drug policy.
“I think the important part is that medical testing, whether it’s for substance abuse or a mental condition or a physical limitation, in the United States is a very private matter,” Deery said. “There has to be very specific circumstances that carry it beyond a private matter. Just because people don’t read about it or it’s not broadcast, (people) should be very careful about assuming on things like a private matter. That’s the biggest obstacle we have because everybody wants to know.”
The policy is not good enough for Pittman, who said he and other drivers have pushed the issue of mandatory drug testing to series officials to no avail.
“This is not a subject you can just turn your back on,” he said. “I think it’s time the series should step up and do something. All of us should have to prove it. It doesn’t bother me how often they want to do it. In this day and age, we’re going too fast. It sure would be nice to know that everybody you’re out there with has a decent frame of mind.”
Five-time World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series champion and seven-time Knoxville Nationals winner Donny Schatz shares Pittman’s sentiment regarding mandatory testing.
“In every other form of racing they have it,” Schatz said. “It’s not my decision to be made. My voice doesn’t have a lot of weight with the World of Outlaws rule-wise.
“We all know who does it. We try to not put ourselves in a position to get in a corner with those guys.”