Are there people in big time sports who use drugs? Absolutely. Are there some who don't get caught? Yes. Two crew members from a high-profile team were arrested Tuesday, but that is hardly an indicator of a culture of rampant drug use within the sport. That they had 10.5 pounds of marijuana and were charged with trafficking certainly didn't look good. But again it is two people.
Sure, numerous individuals in the sport have tested positive since NASCAR implemented mandatory drug testing before the 2009 season, but is it any different than in any other walk of life? The percentage is still small.
Zero tolerance a must
The more salient question is whether NASCAR knows the full extent of the problem. The alleged violations of the two Earnhardt Ganassi employees were a relatively easy call because they were charged and arrested by police. NASCAR has strengthened its substance-abuse policy in recent years.
After former trucks series driver Aaron Fike revealed in 2008 that he used heroin before a race, the sanctioning body moved from testing mostly when there was "reasonable suspicion" to a policy more in line with other sports, including random testing during the season. That's led to discipline against several crew members.
But it goes without saying that in the dangerous world of motor sports, NASCAR must make sure that "zero tolerance" isn't just a slogan.