Friday, August 11, 2006

Report: Ricky Bobby Tests Positive For Steroids

With five races remaining before The Chase For the Nextel Cup begins, compelling storylines are abundant in NASCAR. Points leader Jimmie Johnson has not let up since his Daytona 500 victory. Marquee names Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart, and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. hope to hold on for one of the coveted ten spots in The Chase. However, the sport’s major storyline this week is one of controversy. A report has surfaced that star driver Ricky Bobby has tested positive for steroids.

The bombshell is just the latest development this summer in the sports world’s involvement with performance-enhancing drugs. The steroid problem has cast a persistent shadow over major league baseball. Tests for sprinter Justin Gatlin and Tour de France winner Floyd Landis revealed an overabundance of testosterone for both athletes. Gatlin and Landis maintain their innocence, and Landis vows to continue his goal of making new excuses until the problem goes away. Asked for comment about those two, Bobby seemed to invite suspicion when he declared, “Nobody’s got more testosterone than me! Just don’t ask me how to spell it.”

The recent controversies have increased skepticism about how clean today’s athletes are. However, Bobby’s reported positive test shows that steroid use has reached a level few would have expected. It is so rampant, it has apparently spread to fictional characters. It is true that steroid rumors swirled around Soviet boxer Ivan Drago in 1985 when he pummeled Apollo Creed to his death. However, testing procedures were woefully inadequate at the time. Now fans will wonder whether other great sports accomplishments on film were legitimate. Hickory High School basketball legend Jimmy Chitwood took a proactive step, angrily denying that his dramatic game winner in Hoosiers was chemically enhanced.

One NASCAR driver, speaking under condition of anonymity, claims that Bobby is well-known as a steroid user. According to the source, Bobby’s bulking-up once led him to be known as Frank the Tank, and he consorted with a notorious supplier known as The Godfather. The driver claims that he has incriminating footage of one of Bobby’s workouts, in which he goes swimming with a syringe in his neck.

The controversy has also brought a cloud of suspicion around Bobby’s longtime friend and racing partner Cal Naughton, Jr. Since the pair is known for doing everything as a team, many assume that Naughton was using banned substances along with Bobby. One insider speculated that Bobby and Naughton’s famous “Shake and Bake” credo refers to the steroids named shakenol and bakeandriol. Reached for comment, Naughton declared, “I ain’t never used steroids.” He continued, “Unless Ricky admits that he did. Then I used ‘em too, since we’re a team.”

Bobby himself claims that a French conspiracy is at work. “It’s like that guy on the bike, Neil Armstrong,” he remarked. “They couldn’t beat ‘em, so they said he was on drugs.” Bobby referenced his heated rivalry with driver Jean Girard and charged that NASCAR was biased in favor of the Frenchman. He commented, “Think about it. The guy in charge of NASCAR is Brian FRANCE. No one would be on my case if Brian America was in charge.”

The positive result is expected to be confirmed at a news conference this afternoon. Bobby continues to deny steroid use, stating, “I live my life according to Baby Jesus. And Baby Jesus never give me no steroids.” Insiders expect confirmation of the positive result to bring an immediate suspension for Bobby. He also could be forced to relinquish last weekend’s box office victory. Additionally, when he is allowed to resume racing, NASCAR will likely reduce his allowable sponsorships to no more than 75.

If those punishments occur, Ricky Bobby will no longer be associated with the Nextel Cup. The only cup that will matter is the one he peed into.