Kevin Harvick has received a crash course on privacy laws, learned how long different drugs stay in the system, and tested the drivers and crew chiefs on the teams he owns.
A month after the startling admission by former Craftsman Truck Series driver Aaron Fike that he used heroin on the day of races, Harvick has jumped ahead of NASCAR by requiring the drivers and crews on his Nationwide and Craftsman Truck Series teams to submit to drug tests.
“This is a very clean environment,” said Harvick, who is a Sprint Cup driver for Richard Childress Racing. “But we have these incidents happen, as we did with Fike. We need all that to go away.”
Fike was never caught in NASCAR’s substance-abuse program, but was suspended after he was arrested last year and charged with possession of heroin and drug paraphernalia. He told ESPN The Magazine last month that he used heroin the same day he drove in races.
Shocked that Fike fell through the cracks of NASCAR’s drug policy, Harvick immediately thought of the dangers presented by a driver on the track under the influence. Harvick was once in a race with Fike.
“Running into a wall at 200 mph and putting 42 other drivers at risk is a much bigger consequence than not being able to hit a baseball,” said Harvick, who drives the No. 29 Chevrolet for RCR. “The responsibility needs to be put in everybody’s hands, whether it needs to be put in NASCAR’s hands, the team owners’ hands, the drivers’ hands.”
So Harvick and his wife, DeLana, who own a Nationwide Series car and two trucks in the Craftsman Truck Series, scrambled to put together a drug-testing program. Kevin Harvick Inc. drivers Ron Hornaday, Jack Sprague, Cale Gale and their crew chiefs all have submitted to drug tests in the past month.
“Just knowing that these guys that build these cars and trucks are clean just makes me feel that much safer,” Hornaday said. “It would be good to see everybody follow KHI’s lead and do the same.”