NASCAR Driver Returns After Heroin Recovery
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NASCAR reinstated driver Aaron Fike yesterday, now that he's completed his recovery program for a heroin addiction. Fike was arrested in July 2007, while he was injecting himself in an amusement park parking lot. He avoided jail time by delivering anti-drug speeches at schools and race tracks, while also participating in NASCAR's Road to Recovery program. While NASCAR never actually caught Fike using drugs, he admitted in 2008 that he'd been a heroin user for eight months, and a painkiller addict for six years before that. In the weeks before his arrest, he was using heroin every day. His habits hadn't yet deprived him of professional success however: at the time, he was eighth in the Camping World Truck series standings. Fike's confession likely influenced NASCAR's decision to instate a random drug-testing policy in 2009—before that, drug tests were only conducted based on "reasonable suspicion." “I was able to race with it in my system, so [that policy] didn't work with me,” Fike said in an April 2008 interview. Now, the 29-year-old driver is eligible to race again, but he doesn't appear to have any sponsors yet. And he's not the only NASCAR driver in trouble for using drugs—A.J. Allmendinger is also in the recovery program after a drug test found amphetamine in his system this year. Three other drivers have been suspended since the random testing began, and none of them have returned to race.