Randy Lajoie Suspended For Substance Abuse: Say What?

Charles AllenCorrespondent IJune 22, 2010

17 Feb 2001: Randy LaJoie celebrates winning the NASCAR BUSCH Grand National Series NAPA Auto Parts 300 at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida. DIGITAL IMAGE Mandatory Credit: Jamie Squire/ALLSPORT
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Randy Lajoie, veteran NASCAR driver, television analyst, and safety pioneer, has been suspended by both NASCAR and ESPN after failing a drug test.

This shocking development makes Lajoie possibly the most recognized and respected individual to be nabbed by NASCAR's new and improved substance abuse policy, and proves that no one is immune to the consequences of the program.

As news of the positive test and subsequent suspensions were made public, Lajoie was put in the unenviable position of explaining his actions.

He did not deny the result, and admitted to marijuana use in May around the time of the Coca Cola 600. He was very apologetic to his family, associates, and fans and vowed to prove this was an isolated incident and gain the respect and trust lost as a result of his actions.

Lajoie is best known as a two time Busch Series Champion in the 1990's and his occasional ventures into the Cup Series. He amassed 15 wins over 350 career Busch Series starts and was one of the series' most popular stars.

He has also been a featured analyst for NASCAR on ESPN in recent years, calling several races from the booth as well as being featured on the series NASCAR Now as well as a regular on Sirius Satellite Radio's NASCAR channel.

Perhaps most importantly, Lajoie has become one of the industry leaders in safety equipment.

His Joie Of Seating company produces safe and affordable seats for countless drivers throughout the country. He is indeed well respected for his many contributions to the sport.

Lajoie's test was required as he had applied to be a spotter for Joe Gibbs Racing in upcoming Nationwide Series events. Any and all employees of NASCAR are required to adhere to the policy, and several have been caught since the programs inception.

While being placed on immediate and indefinite suspension from both NASCAR and ESPN, Lajoie will enter a treatment program as seen fit by NASCAR. He will be eligible for reinstatement at their discretion.

Randy Lajoie has been dealt a tough blow which will be difficult to overcome. He will be viewed differently from this point forward over what he claims to be a one time incident.

His punishment serves as an eye opener to future individuals and his return could very well be an inspiration to others who may be on the wrong path.

It also proves without a doubt that NASCAR and their substance abuse policy do not discriminate.