Where's the Line?

Jenn Rants

When Scott Wimmer received a DUI, it was barely mentioned in the press, partly because the driver had yet to start in NASCAR and he was a rookie, without many fans. When AJ Allmendinger got his own DUI last week, it was suddenly a hot topic. Not only did NASCAR and Richard Petty Motorsports put the driver on probation, but he also received a fine. Some might say that’s fair, but don’t tell that to Jeremy Mayfield.

Mayfield was indefinitely suspended from NASCAR for failing a random drug test. He still denies that he took illegal narcotics, but the story is basically a dead one. He can’t prove he didn’t use drugs and as far as NASCAR is concerned, it’s one strike and your out.

So, where’s the line? Is driving under the influence a less serious offense than using an illegal drug? And who exactly makes that call?

Consider Driver A and Driver B. Driver A kicks back with his friends on Monday night and maybe decides to just go ahead and release a little steam by smoking some marijuana. It only affects him for that one night, but Friday when he’s called in for a random drug test, he fails and he’s immediately suspended from NASCAR.

Driver B hangs out with his friends on Monday night and decides to release his steam by having a few too many drinks. He then climbs behind the wheel of his car, putting the lives of himself, his passengers and innocent bystanders at risk. NASCAR finds out and essentially gives him a slap on the wrist: probation and a fine. Basically they tell him not to do it again, or he might get in real trouble.

Do those rules seem fair to anyone? Driving drunk puts dozens of lives at risk; smoking pot risks your brain cells. Some might argue that it’s a legal matter. Then what happens when a younger driver gets pulled over for a DUI? If Joey Lagano, or another driver under 21, gets pulled over and cited for a DUI, do you really expect NASCAR to suspend that driver indefinitely?

NASCAR needs to examine the rule book and possibly make some significant changes. Doing drugs is wrong, but so is driving drunk and driving drunk is more dangerous than using some types of drugs. Some might argue that marijuana is legal in certain states, so what prevents a dispensary from sponsoring a car? If Joe’s Dispensary of Southern California sponsors a car like Budweiser, Miller Light, Crown Royal, etc. do, then will we see the failing of a drug test result in just a slap on the wrist? For a sport that prides itself on safety, NASCAR is sorely missing the boat.
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Where's the Line? Where's the Line? Reviewed by Jenn on Wednesday, November 04, 2009 Rating: 5