NHRA officials announced Saturday afternoon Top Fuel driver Mike Strasburg has been disqualified from the SummitRacing.com Nationals at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and suspended for a period of one year.
Strasburg failed to comply with the NHRA’s drug testing policy within the required 24-hour time period. NHRA drivers have 24 hours from the time they receive the drug testing paperwork from the testing lab to comply with the policy during the random drug testing process. Per the NHRA rulebook, Strasburg is entitled an appeal.
The suspension left Strasburg stunned. Before the suspension was announced, Strasburg failed to qualify in the 16-car field.
“I went down there today (Saturday) before my (second qualifying) run and I just couldn’t pee,” said the 51-year-old Strasburg in an interview with CompetitionPlus.com presented by Attitude Apparel. “I drank three bottles of water and I went down and made my run, and I went (to test) and I still couldn’t (pee). But, they (NHRA) wouldn’t let me wait there until I could (pee). They said the time ran out. It’s my fault. I should have went down sooner (to test).”
Prior to Strasburg’s suspension Saturday, Pro Stock Motorcycle racer Matt Guidera was the last driver to be suspended for a year for failing to comply with the NHRA’s drug testing policy within the 24-hour time period. Guidera was suspended on Sept. 5, 2009 at the US Nationals in Indianapolis.
According to Strasburg, he was issued the paperwork from the NHRA to take a drug test Friday afternoon.
“I went down there (Friday night) to test, but they closed at 6 p.m. (Pacific Time), and I just missed them (before they closed). I had to run the alcohol (Funny Car) Saturday. We help tune the alcohol Funny Car driven by Roger Bateman. We were busy with everything else Saturday and I should have made time (to go do the drug test), and missed a run with our (Top Fuel) car or whatever. It’s a zero tolerance. They (NHRA) will not let you do it five minutes after the time in which you were (allotted) to do it.”
At the Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, NHRA’s drug-testing lab is at the end of the track. The second round and final session of qualifying Saturday for Top Fuel was held Saturday afternoon. When Strasburg’s dragster was pulled up to the burnout box, he wasn’t in the car yet.
“I was down there (at the drug testing lab) trying to do it (test),” Strasburg said. “I passed the alcohol (breathalyzer) test with all zeroes and that was fine and then I drank three more bottles of water and I went down and made my run and then I went right back there (to the drug testing lab), and I stood right there for 30 minutes drinking water trying to give them a sample. I did (pee), but they (NHRA) said it wasn’t enough. They said I had to fill two (samples). They (NHRA) will not let you do a little bit and then finish in a few minutes. It has to be all at one time.”
Strasburg said he was required to fill two vials of urine and he could only fill one.
“They (NHRA) will not test just one (vial),” Strasburg said.
Strasburg is eligible to come back in one year, as long as he pays the $2500 fine imposed on him by the NHRA as a result of his suspension. Strasburg could return earlier if his case is overturned on appeal.
“Good question,” Strasburg said when asked if he was going to appeal the suspension. “They said it doesn’t do any good. Basically, they do not care. I might appeal it. It is hard to say. It is not like I took it and failed. I just couldn’t give them (enough) urine. I have nothing to hide. I would go take a blood test right now if they (NHRA) would let me.”
Strasburg is no stranger to taking NHRA drug tests.
“This is the first time I was called to (drug) test this year,” Strasburg said. “I usually get it (called for a drug test) three or four times a year. It is not like I have never done it.”
Strasburg said this suspension may end his racing career.
“This is tough,” Strasburg said. “That’s probably a good time to get out of it (racing). I would say there is a pretty good chance.”
Strasburg was hoping to return to the track as a tuner for alcohol cars or Pro Mod cars, but according to his NHRA suspension he can’t attend races by the sanctioning body for a year.
“If I’m completely suspended for a year, I will be out of it (racing) forever,” said Strasburg, who lives in Salt Lake City and his company B&J Transmissions sells transmissions to the top running alcohol cars. “I will definitely never come back. I’m a little frustrated that they wouldn’t work with me and say we will give you 10 more minutes or two more minutes, something like that. They (NHRA) said the rules are the rules and that’s it. You are done.”
Strasburg has been racing Top Fuel dragster since 2002 on a limited basis. Before that Strasburg competed several years in the alcohol ranks.
“We usually do 10 to 12 (Top Fuel) races a year,” said Strasburg, whose team was making its second appearance this season as it also competed at Pomona.
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