Sad, Sad Days Ahead

As if the suicide of suspended Nascar Nationwide driver Kevin Grubb, found dead in a hotel room, isn't horrible enough, now Cup driver Jeremy Mayfield has been suspended from Nascar competition indefinitely because of a positive drug test. I'm crushed. Just as I was thinking Mayfield was getting his team on an upswing after his gutsy driving in the Richmond race, he not only doesn't make the Darlington field, but his suspension is announced an hour before race time. What a downer of a note on which to start what should have been a fun night race.

I'm not taking sides - Mayfield has an explanation, he alleges - and Nascar has made some colossal blunders, such as suspending Tim Richmond back in the '80s for taking Sudafed, and acting as if Mauricia Grant made up every little detail in her multi-million dollar sexual/racial harassment suit. Then they go and settle the suit to the obvious satisfaction of Ms. Grant, as well as firing two employees mentioned in the pleadings. As to Tim Richmond, it's a sad, sad story about the death of a very talented driver from AIDS, and it's clear Nascar didn't have any idea what was going on, except Richmond seemed to be very ill at times.

It's particularly annoying that Nascar won't say what drug they found in Mayfield's specimen, but I understand privacy concerns. It's up to Mayfield to work it out, and I hope if there's a problem, that it's faced squarely and handled appropriately, for his sake. Shane Hmiel has said he suffered from severe problems for years, and self-medicated to try to feel better. After his suspension, he found a treatment program that has helped him immensely, and I'm just grateful he didn't end up like Grubb. Truck driver Aaron Fike has also benefited from being discovered with a heroin addiction, and is, from what I read, well on the road to health. Good for them.

But it's still scary to think they raced while high. That's unacceptable any way you look at it.