Austin Wayne Self has issued an apology in the wake of his suspension by NASCAR, which he said was triggered by a random drug test from February.
NASCAR officials announced Monday that Self, a competitor in the Gander Outdoors Truck Series, had been indefinitely suspended from competition for violation of the substance abuse policy. Neither NASCAR or Self has said what led to the failed test, and Self will have to participate in the Road to Recovery program before being reinstated.
“To each of my fans, team partners, crew members, and fellow NASCAR members, I ask for your grace and understanding in this difficult season of adversity, and ask that you would accept my apology for what has happened,” Self’s said in a statement. “It is an honor to be involved in a premier sport so great as ours, and I am truly crushed for what has happened.
“It has been incredibly disheartening since learning of the results from the random drug test taken earlier this season at Daytona, through our sanctioning body, and for the news announced today.
“The news and positive results have caught me as a surprise. Being a driver, I am expected to be a steward for our sport – someone who pays attention to even the most minute of details, just as our race team does with our trucks in competition. Moving forward, I promise to those who will follow this journey, that I will aim to the utmost of my ability to do a better job at paying close attention to what I consume, and allow into my body, as an athlete.
“I will work closely with NASCAR through this process to learn more about what has happened, and to ensure that I am able to return to competition as quickly as possible.
“Moving forward I would be grateful to have your prayers as I prepare for the days ahead. I take comfort in knowing that God has a plan for me through this, and that as 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 explains, will come through this stronger ready to tackle what lies ahead. Thank you for your support and understanding.”
AM Racing stated Monday it plans to continue racing during Self’s suspension and is working on filling the seat of the No. 22 Chevrolet.
Self competed in the first three races at Daytona, Atlanta, and Las Vegas. Darrell Wallace Jr. was then announced to the truck for the Martinsville and Texas races.
The policy of random drug testing began in 2009 and includes drivers, crew members, and officials. Collected samples are split into “A” and “B” samples, and once an individual has been notified of a failed test, they have 72 hours to respond and have the option for the “B” sample to be tested (which can take up to 30 days).
The Truck Series next races on May 3 in Dover.