Pro Stock Motorcycle driver Justin Finley was disqualified from the O’Reilly Auto Parts Route 66 NHRA Nationals at Route 66 Raceway in Joliet, Ill., Saturday morning and suspended for a period of one year.
Finley 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, Finley is entitled an appeal.
“The bottom line is he didn’t comply with the requirement to produce a necessary sample within the 24-hour period,” said Graham Light, the NHRA’s senior vice president-racing operations, told CompetitionPlus.com. “He has the right to appeal it if he feels he has been unjustly treated.”
The suspension left Finley stunned. According to Finley, he was issued the paperwork from NHRA to take a drug test Friday morning. He then went to the NHRA drug-testing facility onsite at Route 66 Raceway Saturday morning at 8 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time.
“I gave them a breathalyzer, and I gave them three urine samples,” said Finley Sunday to Competition Plus.com. “They bagged and tagged and sealed them and sent the first ones out. They wanted another (sample), and then they also wanted another one (sample). On the last one they wanted I couldn’t produce enough (urine) to fill up the cup to the line where they wanted it and that was when I was told I was under suspension for failure to produce a drug test in 24 hours. I was devastated. My 24 hours were up at 8:35 a.m. (Eastern Time). On the first one (urine test) I have the receipt here for it and it was bagged and tagged, and I have the receipt here for it at 8:10 (a.m.) and says on here, ‘please note took second urine specimen.’ This is one of two and it has the specimen ID number next to it also and that is the one he threw in the garbage. I was there at 8 o’clock in the morning waiting for them to open the doors, basically (on Saturday). I went there Friday night after qualifying, but they were closed and
they had a sign on the door that they would return at 8 a.m. Saturday. The rules say you get 24 hours to produce a urine specimen and I felt I should have had 72 hours if they wanted three of them. I will give them one every day if that is the case.”
According to the NHRA’s 2012 rulebook, NHRA has selected FirstLab as the independent Drug Program Administrator (IDPA) to implement and administer the sanctioning body’s Substance Abuse Policy.
Light said NHRA isn’t going to get involved in a war of words with Finley.
“We are not going get in the position of debating of what he says, it is not a debate,” Light said. “The bottom line is our position is he did not comply with the requirements of the program in the allotted time. He has the right to appeal the one-year suspension. He will get a letter this week from our offices officially notifying him of the suspension which is one year. He has a certain time period to submit an appeal request. The first is an informal review.”
Finley is eligible to come back as a driver in one year, as long as he pays the $2500 fine imposed on him by the NHRA as a result of his suspension. Finley could return earlier if his case is overturned on appeal.
Finley, according to the NHRA rulebook, NHRA’s Response to Statement of Action Against Participant, the participant must submit a written Notice of and Grounds for Appeal to NHRA so that it is received by NHRA within ten (10) business days of the date of NHRA’s Response to Statement of Action Against Participant, which in this case was June 30. Per NHRA rules, Finley has to pay $1500 to file the appeal.
“I’m in the process of filing my appeal,” Finley said. “I have a good argument and I’m going to get it straightened out. This was my first experience (taking an NHRA drug test) and it was a horrible one.”
Finley gave this account about what transpired when he went to take his drug test.
“I know personally, I had three bottles in front of me that I had to supply with urine,” Finley said. “They wanted more urine and I kept giving them more urine as it was being supervised. I was only able to produce so much. I wasn’t able to produce enough to fill all these other cups they wanted. I was told the ones (the urine samples) that were tagged and that I signed, I was told they were not going to the lab and I wanted to know why and how and they didn’t want to give my receipt for the urine. I stayed there and argued and I got my receipt and my social security card and all my personal information. I just really felt bullied like a kid in high school. It is really not fair that I’m being defamed all over ESPN and all over the internet.”
Finley said he filled up three cups (with urine) in the first kit he was given. According to Finley that kit had two small cups and one big cup and it was bagged and sealed.
“They wanted a second one (kit) and I did that and they didn’t like the temperature of it, and it went right in the garbage,” Finley said. “They said they didn’t like the temperature of none of them that was the whole problem. They were saying it (my urine) was not warm enough.”
Finley said there were thermometers in the urine cups.
“They made me sit down and drink some water and I started filling up one big cup (in the third kit),” Finley said. “That big cup had a thermometer in it and then the time expired.”
Finley, 32, made his NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle debut in Gainesville, Fla., last season. He ran a full season last year, finishing 17th in the point standings. Finley competed in Gainesville, Englishtown and Chicago this season. Joilet, Ill., was the fifth race of the season for NHRA’s Pro Stock Motorcycle competitors. Finley is riding a Vance & Hines-powered Suzuki.
“I’m a one-man operation,” said Finley, who is resides in Stamford, Conn. “I’m the owner, driver, haul the equipment around, and I do all the maintenance on my bike myself. On Friday (in qualifying at Chicago), I almost slid into the sand trap. My front wheel locked up because I built a new bike and I’m still trying to prove it. I planned on racing a full schedule this season, the only reason I missed a couple of races is because of the chassis issues I have been having.”
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