KERCHNER: It Might Be Time To Give A Damn

Mike Kerchner

CONCORD, N.C. — Scott Bloomquist doesn’t give a damn.

He never has and that kind of attitude has helped him earn a reputation as a bad-ass outlaw — and sell a lot of merchandise along the way

But the act has gotten old and it may just leave a permanent scar on his racing legacy. But that’s right … Scott Bloomquist doesn’t give a damn. And that’s too bad.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t give a damn about Scott Bloomquist’s legacy. But I do care about this sport and its future, and Bloomquist’s continued behavior reflects poorly on motorsports.

For a sport often thought of in the mainstream “as a bunch of rednecks with dirt under their fingernails,” one bad apple can influence the opinions of thousands of potential race fans or sponsors.
The 54-year-old dirt late model Hall of Famer has made a habit of cheating the rules, but a soaked tire here, a supped-up engine or a weight violation there is one thing — and in fact through much of racing’s history, finding that gray area in the rulebook has been part of the sport. But potentially endangering his competitors and fans is another thing entirely.

Has Bloomquist done that? Only he knows, and that’s the problem.

Twice within a three-week period in June, Bloomquist blatantly skipped submitting a urine sample when chosen to participate in DIRTcar’s random drug testing program that is administered by Drug Free Sport. The incidents took place during the Dirt Late Model Dream at Ohio’s Eldora Speedway and the Firecracker 100 at Lernerville Speedway in Pennsylvania.

Ultimately, DIRTcar officials suspended Bloomquist from DIRTcar-sanctioned competition for 90 days and fined him $1,000. He can reduce the suspension to 60 days should he complete an alcohol or drug education program. Bloomquist will also be required to pass two drug tests during the final 14 days of the suspension.

On Friday of the Dream weekend at Eldora, Bloomquist was asked to submit a sample, but claimed he was unable to urinate and disappeared from the race track. He reportedly fell in the pits and went to a local hospital for treatment of a shoulder injury.

A doctor’s report cleared Bloomquist from submitting a sample, he was approved to compete and not only did so but won the $100,000-to-win race for the eighth time.

Social media went crazy, crying foul because of the missed drug test. Most of that backlash was the direct result of Bloomquist’s past brushes with authority, including the law. In 1994, Bloomquist was acquitted of drug trafficking, but he was sentenced to 11 months and 29 days (of which he served six months) for drug possession.

Rumors and innuendo have followed Bloomquist since, only adding to his bad-boy mystique.

After racing with the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series, which does not have random drug testing, on June 16 and despite being told by DIRTcar officials after he was cleared at Eldora that he would be tested at the next available opportunity, Bloomquist entered the World of Outlaws Craftsman Late Model Series event at Lernerville. On June 21, he was asked to submit to random testing and again failed to supply a sample.

Bloomquist parked his car after participating in a heat race and blamed his injured shoulder, telling those who would listen that he was going to have surgery and miss three months of racing, and that he may field his car in select events with another driver.

Something certainly smells fishy here.

Maybe Bloomquist does have a serious injury, and maybe he is going to have surgery and be out of commission for three months. If true, that only begs the question, why not pee in the cup?

Yes, if Bloomquist was taking painkillers during his appearance at Lernerville, it may have triggered a positive test. But to many, the difference between a suspension for failing to provide a sample and a suspension for a positive test is inconsequential.

Is Bloomquist racing while under the influence of a banned substance?

We’ll never know until he takes a test, but he sure looks guilty by going out of his way to dodge these tests. Bloomquist has always marched to the beat of his own drum and has never given a hoot what others say or think about him. Obviously, he still doesn’t.

If he did, he’d have more respect for the sport that made him a wealthy man. If he did, he’d have enough respect for his fellow competitors, who put it all on the line night after night, to prove he’s clean.

Instead, they are left to ponder whether or not the “Zero Hero” is fit to be racing them side by side at high speeds on poorly lit race tracks.

There’s no denying Bloomquist may be the best driver to ever back a late model into a corner. He’s won everything there is to win — in most cases more than once. But his repeated disregard for rules, authority and societal standards is certainly problematic.

If Bloomquist proves he’s clean, we hope he makes a quick recovery from surgery and wish him a long and profitable career. But if he never submits that sample, No. 0 should stand for zero tolerance and not just in DIRTcar events, but in all racing series in which he chooses to compete.

And we won’t give a damn if he ever races again.