nascar-steroidsAccording to AP report, NASCAR is likely to start testing drivers by the third week of January under anti-doping policy.

NASCAR is implementing tougher policy for use of anabolic steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs. Said policy also applies to illegal drugs and abuse of prescription medications.

Crew members, meanwhile, are required to submit results from an approved lab by Jan.16. A memo was sent to teams enumerating the prohibited compounds for which crew members must be tested. No specific guidelines were provided for drivers as NASCAR reserves the right to screen drivers for any compounds. However, according to a NASCAR’s spokesman, drivers will definitely be screened for performance-enhancing drugs.

The tougher policy was adopted partly because of former Truck Series driver Aaron Fike’s public admission that he had used heroin even on days he raced. Veteran drivers like Tony Stewart and Kevin Harvick urged the association to strengthen its policy regarding the use of banned compounds.

In September this year, Ron Hornaday Jr admitted he used a testosterone cream during the 2004 and 2005 to treat a medical condition. Hornaday is suffering from Graves’ disease, a thyroid disorder characterized by goiter and exophthalmos (bulging of the eyes).

The memo, dated Dec. 8, is the first time the new policy has been laid out in writing and specifies who falls under the guidelines. Those who must be tested before Jan. 16 include: pit crew members, including “over-the-wall” crew members, the crew chief, car chief, team members responsible for tires, fuel and pit crew operation, spotters and race-day support personnel that includes engineers, engine tuners, shock specialists, chassis specialists and tire specialists.

Among the substances those participants must be tested for are:

_ Seven different amphetamines, including methamphetamine and PMA, a synthetic psychostimulant and hallucinogen.

_ Three drugs classified under ephedrine.

_ 13 different narcotics, including codeine and morphine.

_ Ten different benzodiazepines and barbituates.

_ Marijuana, cocaine, zolpidem, nitrites, chromates and drugs that can increase specific gravity.

Under the old policy, NASCAR only implemented random test based on suspicion of abuse. Under the new guidelines everyone will be tested before the season begins, and random testing will continue throughout the year. NASCAR expects to randomly test 12 to 14 individuals per series each weekend in 2009.

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