From the Couch: People on ludes should not drive

Of all the drivers in the NASCAR fold, Jeremy Mayfield is the Jeff Spicoli of the sport? Really? Wow, that doesn't follow the stereotype. I don't think I've ever heard him mutter the word "dude" once in an interview. He owns his own NASCAR team, which is highly risky and seems monumentally motivated for a doper. He has short hair, for crying out loud. Though, on the other hand, he has been a bit of an underachiever in his career. (Sorry, low hanging fruit.)

This simply doesn't make any sense. It begs loads of questions. Foremost, we need to know just what this "substance" was. This needs to be answered, and pronto. I want to know if I'm supposed to support him or not, and my decision is hanging on this critical piece of information. I can't cheer for a Shiraz wino, or worse, a crank junkie, but a chronic moonshine drunk is okay by me. Loving moonshine, after all, is loving NASCAR.

Some rumors have suggested that the cause of the positive test was Claritin D, an antihistamine and decongestant. The decongestant component of Claritin D is pseudoephedrine, which decongests your tissues by constricting blood vessels. Of course, as an ingredient in methamphetamine, it also decongests the brain, releasing all kinds of "reward pathways" and resulting in states of euphoria and excessive feelings of power.

This seems helpful for a career as a NASCAR driver. Just ask Carl Edwards. On TV, he calls it "Claritin clear" (which definitely sounds like code speak) while he's selling it to me, and apparently it helps him steer through the fog.

Uh, right. "Fence," Carl, you mean fence.

But still, Claritin D is explainable, if not acquitable under NASCAR rules. However, I'm not buying the excuse that this was a false positive due to the combination of an over-the-counter drug and a prescription medication. That sounds just like the "No Dad, that's not booze on my breath. It's mouthwash!" excuse. My point is that "false" positives tend to occur when you blend Tylenol, with say, a hit of oxycodone.

Of course, I understand NASCAR's stance, especially after their near miss at Talledega. All they would need on top of a car flying into the stands would be for the driver to yowl, "Blah, I'm a Kracken from the sea!" in his post race interview.

Their strong drug policy is safety. And safety, given the sport, mandates that you police both performance enhancing drugs, as well as performance declining drugs. It is, and must be, paramount. But if that's the case, shouldn't they take it a step further?

I'm pretty sure that Jeff Gordon on a pain killer and red wine bender is still a better and safer driver than Mikey Waltrip. Mikey hits everything, including trees on his drive home. Bad skills are performance declining, too, they just aren't illegal in NASCAR. Hell, at least the police charged Mikey for leaving the scene of an accident.

Maybe that rule will come later. For now, NASCAR's latest decree is sound, even if it was borrowed from Spicoli: "People on 'ludes should not drive."

What to Read Next