Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Walker Suspended By NASCAR

NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series driver Tyler Walker was suspended indefinitely by NASCAR yesterday, after violating the sanctioning body’s substance abuse policy.

Walker, who drives the #36 Toyota Tundra for Bill Davis Racing, was found to have violated Section 12-4-A of the NASCAR rulebook (actions detrimental to stock car racing), as well as Section 12-4-E (failure to comply with the NASCAR Substance Abuse Policy).

He becomes the third driver sanctioned by NASCAR for substance abuse, joining Shane Hmiel and Kevin Grubb. Both Hmiel and Grubb remain on NASCAR’s “indefinite suspension” list, after being readmitted by the sanctioning body, only to re-offend. Bill Davis reacted quickly to NASCAR's announcement, saying, "We agree with the vigilance that NASCAR is taking in this instance. We also have a zero tolerance substance abuse policy at Bill Davis Racing, and will take the appropriate action concerning Tyler’s future status with our company."

There will be little sympathy in the NASCAR garage for Walker. Like Hmiel and Grubb before him, the former World of Outlaws Gumout Series champion will be seen as a supremely talented racer who chose drugs over a promising NASCAR career. It’s easy to pass judgement when someone flushes that career – and millions of dollars in potential earnings – down the drain.

The truth, however, is considerably more complex.

Millions of people in this country have lost jobs, homes, marriages and families to drugs. It’s not as simple as saying, “I’m going to stop.” If it were, everyone would make the logical choice to lay down the pot pipe, the coke spoon, or the syringe.

I will resist the urge to condemn Tyler Walker -- just as I did with Hmiel and Grubb – and I urge you to do the same. Blame is useless, and criticism does no good. Instead, let’s devote our energy to praying for Tyler Walker’s speedy return to NASCAR.

Hopefully, he can succeed where Hmiel and Grubb failed.

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