Boy, has it been an interesting day in NASCAR.
Driver Denny Hamlin found himself in a little bit of hot water after a what was poised as a harmless and funny interview took a left turn into some controversial territory.
In his interview with the Barstool Sports podcast “Pardon My Take,” the former Daytona 500 winner got very candid about a few aspects of his sport many people may not be aware of.
There were plenty of funny and interesting tidbits revealed during the interview (like that fact that most drivers will wet their pants if they have to urinate during a race, according to Hamlin) but the most shocking one came with this sort-of bombshell response to a surprising question about performance-enhancing drugs.
Yeah, it’s not something you normally hear about in the NASCAR world, is it? Football, basketball, baseball, maybe … but NASCAR?
One of the podcast hosts asked Denny point blank if he got drug tested.
“All the time,” Denny responded.
The host then asked if Denny thought there was a significant amount of drivers that take Adderall or some other sort of attention deficit disorder medicine to try to focus better.
It was a pointed and specific question to ask, but after a long pause, Denny said, “I would say yes.”
When asked to estimate the percentage of drivers taking such drugs, Denny responded: “70 percent.”
Yep, you read that correctly.
Obviously this conversation stirred up the sports world and began making headlines around the web, especially in light of the upcoming Daytona 500 this weekend.
Denny met with displeased NASCAR officials not long after word got out about his remarks, and he now claims the whole thing was taken out of context.
He told ESPN.com, “Anyone who has listened to their podcast, they’re funny, joking around and they’re not serious whatsoever and they make jokes about a lot of things.
“I literally said that we get drug tested all the time … I joked around and gave them a number that had no fact or anything behind it,” he added.
ESPN.com then wanted to know if he really thought 70 percent of drivers take that medication.
“Probably not,” he responded. “Realistically, no … We get drug tested all the time, and NASCAR has a zero [tolerance] policy for anybody that does anything that’s not prescription.”
So there you have it. Case closed.
Well, for now.. We’ll see how his competitors feel about his comments — joke or not — when he hits the track in the coming days.
The Daytona 500 airs Sunday, Feb. 18 beginning at 1:30 p.m. (ET) on FOX.