NASCAR officials have consulted with a substance abuse expert and plan to talk to competitors to see if the sanctioning body should ban ephedra.
College athletics, the NFL, minor-league baseball and the International Olympic Committee have banned the dietary supplement. Dr.Joshua Perper, Broward County medical examiner, said that ephedra was partly to blame in the heatstroke death of Baltimore Orioles pitcher Steve Bechler last month.
Jim Hunter, NASCAR vice president, said series officials hope to have enough information in a few weeks to determine if a ban of ephedra is needed.
Al Shuford, head trainer for Chip Ganassi Racing, was quoted in USA Today this week as saying an estimated 80 percent of crew members have at least tried ephedra. Hunter questioned that percentage. Series officials will talk to teams this weekend to see how many have used the product.
“No.1 is to try to determine if there is a problem, which we don’t think we have, or if there is a potential for a problem and how we can head that off,” Hunter said Thursday at Texas Motor Speedway.
Should NASCAR ban ephedra it could slightly alter the sponsorship of Kenny Wallace’s car. Stacker2, a supplement manufacturer, sponsors the car. There’s an ephedra-free Stacker2 product and if a change is needed, that product could serve as sponsor the car.