The AP is reporting that defending Craftsman Truck Series champion, and Kevin Harvick Incorporated driver Ron Hornaday admitted publicly to “using testosterone for more than a year before it was added to the sport’s banned list. The driver said “he received shipments of testosterone and human growth hormone from December 2004 to January 2006, and that the drugs came from an anti-aging center that has been linked to drug-related scandals in the NFL and Major League Baseball.”
ESPN, however, noted that he “he denied using growth hormone that was sent to his home for his wife’s use.” According to Hornaday, “he used the testosterone to treat a mysterious medical malady that later turned out to be a hyperactive thyroid.” Hornaday also revealed that he used a cream that he did not know “was a steriod.” ESPN points out that “the prescription label bore the name ‘testosterone,’ but was partially torn so that it did not show his name.” NASCAR is investigating whether this was a violation.
Ironically enough, recently, Hornaday’s owner, Harvick, started requiring mandatory drug tests for his teams. For his part, Hornaday claims he was using the testosterone to treat a medical condition, not to gain a performance advantage.
In this blogger’s opinion, there is something suspect about Hornaday’s story. Something about his denial seems shady. That said, I’m not sure that I think he is hiding something or lying. I think it is plausible for him to be using testosterone to treat a medical condition. He also stopped taking them. And, he had records showing that the drugs were prescribed. So, I’m willing to take him at his word.
But what of the NASCAR investigation? If NASCAR did not have a steroid policy, what can be done? How much of a performance advantage, realistically, could a driver get from steroids or testosterone. After all, a driver on steroids isn’t going to benefit much if he’s driving an ill-handling racecar, or inferior equipment. Sure there’s an argument that right about the time he began taking testosterone, his career got back on track. But, he was no slouch during that time. He finished third and fourth in points in the two Nationwide Series seasons before he started taking them.