Crew chief suspended after drug test

Associated Press
Published October 7, 2005

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - NASCAR on Thursday suspended crew chief Glenn Darrow indefinitely for violating its substance abuse policy.

Darrow, crew chief for Tony Raines' Nextel Cup car, was tested for banned substances last Saturday at Talladega Superspeedway. The results were positive, leading to an automatic suspension.

NASCAR did not identify the substance and several series officials did not immediately return phone messages left Thursday.

Darrow becomes the second person suspended by NASCAR this season for failing a substance abuse test.

Busch Series regular Shane Hmiel will not be allowed to return to NASCAR before 2007 after failing a test earlier this season. It is Hmiel's second suspension - he also failed a test in September 2003.

NASCAR's substance abuse policy, based on "reasonable suspicion," allows the sanctioning organization to broadly administer tests any time, anywhere.

FRANCE'S FLAG: NASCAR CEO Brian France doesn't like fans flying Confederate flags at races as he tries to make racing more appealing to minorities and women.

"It's not a flag that I look at with anything favorable. That's for sure," he said in an interview with CBS' 60 Minutes to be aired Sunday. "I can't tell people what flag to fly. I can tell you the flag we get behind: It's the American flag."

France is trying to broaden auto racing's appeal with minorities in places like Los Angeles, where France moved the important Labor Day NASCAR event last year, and New York, soon to have a track.

"(Reaching out to minorities) is something I work on every day. I work on it personally," France said.

F1 champ surprised

Fernando Alonso didn't expect to be the world champion when the Formula One season started.

"The car was competitive in the winter but the McLarens were quick in the winter and we all expected Ferrari to have a dominant position like the previous year," Alonso said.

That changed quickly when Renault won the Australian, Malaysian, Bahrain, San Marino and Spanish Grand Prix in succession.

Alonso has already won the title heading into the Japanese Grand Prix on Sunday in Suzuka.

Michael Schumacher, who's five year-reign as world champion ended, saw signs during the winter that it wouldn't be Ferrari's year.

"There was some indication over the winter, but if you go back to the winter before 2004 there were similar indications but we managed to solve the situation," Schumacher said. "This year we didn't."