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Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Five years after heroin arrest, Aaron Fike has chance for an amazing comeback in NASCAR

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Aaron Fike is pictured above now, in happier times, after beating his heroin addiction. Five years after being suspended from the sport, he has been cleared to compete again.

NASCAR driver Aaron Fike once drove a truck to a top 5 finish while under the influence of heroin.

He was arrested on drug charges in 2007, and only now -- a full five years since his suspension from the sport -- he has been reinstated as a driver.

To read more about Fike's story, check out my original entry on him from 2008.

To put things in perspective, there were no random drug tests at the time he was suspended. That came after his arrest when he was caught in a King's Island parking lot with black tar heroin. His suspension was one of the catalysts for the currently in place random drug testing of drivers and crew members.

Now, just a handful of years later, NASCAR has not only caught up to other sports in terms of drug testing, it has really surpassed them. In many sports, drug arrests and failed tests lead to short suspensions, but the players are soon back making millions.

In NASCAR, a failed drug test is usually a death knell for a career. Have you seen Jeremy Mayfield lately? Do you think A.J. Allmendinger will have a top ride anytime soon?

For NASCAR to take this long to reinstate Fike says something about how serious
they are taking any drug use by drivers. I'm glad to see that Fike was able to meet their requirements and be reinstated. That shows a lot of commitment on his part to get back to the sport and overcome his personal demons. He's been clean for two years, and says he plans to stay that way.

Realistically, someone with his background isn't likely to get a top ride in any series in NASCAR. He'd be lucky to get a start and park ride with a history of drug use, though his former team Red Horse Racing has expressed interest in possibly giving him a shot at some point in the future.

But I am rooting for Fike. Because if he can come back from the darkness of heroin addiction and compete successfully in NASCAR, even at the Trucks level, that would be one of the most impressive comebacks in the history of the sport.

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