Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

NASCAR chairman Brian France strongly defends drug testing in wake of Jeremy Mayfield case

OUT FRONT WITHOUT QUALIFYING: Tony Stewart, thanks to his lead in Sprint Cup owner points, will start tonight’s Coke Zero 400 from the pole after Friday’s qualifying was rained out.

Getty Images

OUT FRONT WITHOUT QUALIFYING: Tony Stewart, thanks to his lead in Sprint Cup owner points, will start tonight’s Coke Zero 400 from the pole after Friday’s qualifying was rained out.

DAYTONA BEACH — Chairman Brian France defended his sport's drug policy, asserting with unusual vigor that NASCAR was "unequivocally" correct in indefinitely suspending driver/owner Jeremy Mayfield for a positive drug test.

Mayfield, who on May 1 tested positive for a substance NASCAR identified this week as methamphetamines, won a temporary injunction to race in tonight's Coke Zero 400, but he did not enter. A federal judge cited the possibility of greater harm being done to Mayfield than NASCAR as Mayfield's lawsuit moves through the courts; NASCAR has countersued. Central in deciding the injunction was the handling of two Mayfield urine samples.

France considers NASCAR's testing policy the most stringent in professional sports, citing the greater risk of injury inherent with racing.

"We had to have the toughest policy because we have the most to lose if one of our players is on … the track impaired," he said Friday.

RAIN OF TERROR: Foul weather continued to harass NASCAR as mid­afternoon rain prevented Sprint Cup qualifying at Daytona International Speedway. Tonight's starting order was set by owner points for the fourth time this season. Tony Stewart will start on the pole, followed by Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson.

Three races, including the season-opening Daytona 500 and last week's event at Loudon, N.H., have been abbreviated by rain.

HELP: Picking the right draft partner is crucial in restrictor-plate racing. " 'Right' doesn't mean 'best,' " Gordon said. Drivers like Stewart and Dale Earnhardt Jr. are handy until the cooperation doesn't benefit them anymore, he said. So Gordon is looking for someone he can exploit.

"It's the guys who have less experience I would probably feel a little more comfortable with because I might not watch my mirror quite as much," he said. "But I feel like I can use their bumpers and air off of them to hopefully give me that momentum."

And, when it benefits him, leave them behind.

WALK THE LINE: That selection process will be more interesting with the new double-file restart rule instituted for the first time at a plate track.

"The front row is going to be determined on what the second and third row is (because the leader can choose to start inside or outside)," said Kyle Busch, who won the 2008 Daytona summer race. "It will separate teammates and you'll have to go with whatever lane you feel like the best 'pushers' are going to be, whether it's the guy who's in third or fifth, or the guy who is in second and fourth."

SPARK PLUGS: Max Papis and Mike Wallace missed the field. Greg Biffle and Sam Hornish will begin from the rear because they crashed in practice and did not practice in their backups.

NASCAR chairman Brian France strongly defends drug testing in wake of Jeremy Mayfield case 07/03/09 [Last modified: Friday, July 3, 2009 10:48pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Lightning edges Red Wings on road

    Lightning Strikes

    DETROIT — The digs were different, the Lightning seeing the masterfully-done new Little Caesar's Arena for the first time.

    Lightning center/Red Wings’ killer Tyler Johnson gets past defenseman Trevor Daley on his way to the first goal of the game.
  2. Armwood pulls away to defeat Plant 27-7, remain undefeated

    Footballpreps

    SEFFNER — First-year Armwood coach Evan Davis pulled out all the stops to get his team psyched for Monday's annual grudge match against Plant.

    Armwood defensive end Malcolm Lamar (97) gets fired up before the start of the game between Plant High School Panthers and the Armwood High School Hawks in Suffer, Fla. on Monday, Oct. 16, 2017.
  3. Bucs journal: Dirk Koetter says Vernon Hargreaves needs to improve

    Bucs

    TAMPA — The Bucs now rank 31st in the NFL in pass defense, allowing 301 yards per game in their 2-3 start, and coach Dirk Koetter was asked Monday how concerned he is with the play of second-year CB Vernon Hargreaves.

    Ryan Fitzpatrick, throwing an incompletion under pressure after replacing injured Jameis Winston against the Cardinals,  would start this Sunday in Buffalo if Winston’s shoulder is still bothering him.
  4. Backhand shot makes Nikita Kucherov's offense even more dangerous

    Lightning Strikes

    DETROIT — Nikita Kucherov is on a historic streak, just the fourth player in the past 30 years to score a goal in each of his first six games.

    Nikita Kucherov’s backhand shot adds to his strong scoring.
  5. Rick Pitino officially fired by Louisville amid federal corruption probe

    College

    In an expected move, the University of Louisville Athletic Association's Board of Directors on Monday voted unanimously to fire men's basketball coach Rick Pitino. The decision came 19 days after Louisville acknowledged that its men's basketball program was being investigated as part of a federal corruption probe and …

    In this Oct. 20, 2016, file photo, Louisville head basketball coach Rick Pitino reacts to a question during a press conference in Louisville, Ky. Louisville's Athletic Association on Monday officially fired Pitino, nearly three weeks after the school acknowledged that its men's basketball program is being investigated as part of a federal corruption probe. [AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley, File]