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Every Driver Ever BANNED From NASCAR

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Cody Williams

Cody Williams

Cody Williams is the author of BUNNY BOY and THE FIFTH LINE. He lives near Bristol, TN.
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A comprehensive list of all drivers who were ever banned from NASCAR competition.

It’s a list that no NASCAR driver ever wants to find themselves on: the Banned Driver’s List. With the talk throughout the year on driver suspensions and the subsequent reinstatements of said drivers, we here at the Daily Downforce thought it would be cool to compile a list of some of the more high-profile drivers who’ve suffered suspensions handed down from the governing body. Some of these suspensions lasted only a couple of weekends but a bulk of them took a significant chunk out of a driver’s career or ended their career altogether. Let’s take a look at almost every driver ever banned from NASCAR.

Curtis Turner

Status: Reinstated

This is a big one. Curtis Turner is one of NASCAR’s pioneer drivers such as the likes of Junior Johnson and Lee Petty. Believed to have started running moonshine for his family at the age of 10 years old, he was able to avoid arrest by outrunning local law enforcement. This is where he fell in love with fast cars. While his stats in the record books may not look as flashy as other drivers of his time, he was a fierce competitor out on the track, winning some of NASCAR’s biggest races including the Southern 500.

Curtis Turner was banned from NASCAR from the years 1961-1965. Why? Not because of any illegal drug rings or anything like that. He was banned, simply, for attempting to start a driver’s union. As a union head, he yarned for rights to broadcast revenue as well as decent retirement benefits for all NASCAR drivers. Catching wind of this, Big Bill France released a statement that warned that any driver involved with this union would be issued lifetime bans from all NASCAR-sanctioned races. Turner, being the rebel he was, stuck to his guns and NASCAR banned him for four years.

NASCAR, who was in a bind and needing high-profile drivers after the untimely deaths of Fireball Roberts and Joe Weatherly, Big Bill France reached out to Turner and subsequently reinstated him. He would return to his winning ways shortly thereafter at Rockingham Speedway.

Tim Flock

Status: Reinstated

Like his friend Curtis Turner, Tim Flock was also issued a ban in NASCAR after sticking with Turner, pressing for a driver’s union. Unlike Turner, though, his suspension would mark his retirement in the world of NASCAR as a driver, though he would be reinstated in 1966. In 1959, he was hired by Charlotte Motor Speedway and subsequently was hired by the Ford Motor Company to entertain fans during events. Though Flock would never race in NASCAR again after his banning, he would carry on driving for other organized racing leagues.

During his last race as an owner-driver, NASCAR Hall-of-Famer, Darrell Waltrip would drive a paint scheme to honor Flock, a scheme dubbed the Tim Flock Special.

Tim Richmond

Status: Reinstated

When Tim Richmond burst onto the NASCAR scene, he was the antithesis of what the NASCAR image was supposed to be. A far cry from the “good ole boy” persona most of his contemporaries doubled down on and even quite different from DW’s smooth-talkin’ gimmick, Tim Richmond was a playboy. He was a movie star. Tim Richmond’s persona was as flashy as his driving was out on the track. He was a dose of something different and, by and large, the fans loved him for it.

Richmond got his big break in NASCAR’s premier series in 1986, driving the No. 25 Budweiser Chevy for Hendrick Motorsports. In ’86 alone he won a grand total of 7 races and finished 3rd overall in the Winston Cup points standings. Heading into ’87, he was a clear championship favorite. But, he got sick. He was later hospitalized for double pneumonia. He missed that year’s Daytona 500 as well as the first 11 races of the season. There was a lot of mystery surrounding Richmond’s illness with the media reporting early that he had contracted AIDS.

He would make a return later that year at Pocono, winning the race as well as the next one at Riverside. He’d remain competitive until an engine expired at Michigan late that summer. He would subsequently resign from Hendrick Motorsports, again shrouded in mystery. He would attempt another comeback in 1988 but NASCAR would ban him for testing positive for the banned substance, Sudafed. Richmond maintained that he did not abuse drugs and Bill France Jr. admitted that the test used on Richmond was bad. He was later reinstated but he never raced again.

Steve Seligman

Status: Banned For Life

Steve Seligman was a struggling NASCAR driver in his time, DNQing for many of his attempts to qualify for NASCAR Winston Cup Series races. He was able to find some legging in the ARCA Menards Series, though, and even scored a best finish of 11th at Atlanta in 1987. Any hopes of a NASCAR career were cut short in 1997, however, as a significant amount of cocaine was recovered during a police raid at his race shop. Seligman was banned for life by NASCAR and sentenced to 27 years in prison.

Sammy Potashnick

Status: Suspended Indefinitely

Sammy Potashnick is a former NASCAR driver who competed in a handful of NASCAR Craftsman Truck and Xfinity Series. He was suspended indefinitely in 2002 for violating NASCAR’s drug abuse policy. He never raced in NASCAR again.

Brian Rose

Status: Reinstated but inactive

Brian Rose is another driver who had a bright future in the sport but let drugs and substance abuse get in the way of a promising career. After lighting the world on fire on the short tracks of Tennessee, Brian Rose got his big break with one of the primer teams in the Truck Series at the time, Bobby Hamilton Racing. He would score a career-best finish of 4th at the season-opening Daytona race in 2002 and remained with the team until being released at around the midpoint. He then finished the year racing for Billy Ballew Motorsports and Rick Ware Racing.

Rose was suspended indefinitely by NASCAR in 2003 for refusing to take a drug test. Later that year, he was arrested for possession of marijuana and the illegal possession of a firearm. He would be reinstated in 2010 and would attempt to make a truck race at Nashville Superspeedway. He would fail to make it in on speed. However, he would successfully qualify for the following race at Kentucky Speedway but would crash out early. He has not attempted a race in NASCAR since.

Aaron Fike

Status: Reinstated

Aaron Fike was a young driver with a promising future in NASCAR ahead of him. His sheer talent landed him a ride in Curb Racing’s No. 43 car where he would attempt a full season in the NASCAR Xfinity Series. That was until he caught the eye of Xfinity Series powerhouse, Kevin Harvick Incorporated. Fike would drive 3 races in 2006 for KHI after being released from Curb. Unable to score a finish better than 30th in the No. 33 Chevy for KHI, Fike would leave the Xfinity Series in favor of the Craftsman Truck Series for the 2007 season. There, Fike would attempt a full-time season for the recently formed Red Horse Racing as their No. 1 entry. He would score his first-ever top-5 finish for the team that year at Memphis Motorsports Park.

Fike’s performance at MMP would see the youngster capture the lead in the Rookie of the Year standings. Things quickly started to unravel after that, though. He was arrested over the same weekend following suspicious activity in the parking lot of the amusement park, King’s Island. In his truck, authorities found heroin and drug paraphernalia. Upon receiving the news, NASCAR suspended Fike indefinitely and Red Horse Racing promptly released him from his contract.

In 2012, after completing NASCAR’s mandated road to recovery, Aaron Fike was reinstated by NASCAR. However, he has not competed in a race since.

Shane Heimel

Status: Banned For Life

Shane Heimel, in the eyes of many, is the perfect example of wasted potential. Upon first competing in the NASCAR Busch East Series, Heimel was awarded Rookie of the Year honors and instantly propelled into the NASCAR Busch Series, now the Xfinity Series. A member of NASCAR royalty (his father, Steve Heimel, was the competition director for NASCAR at the time), great things were expected of this youngster. But inner demons off the track hindered him from reaching his full potential.

During a Richmond race in 2003, Heimel was seen driving irradicably and was involved in several on-track incidents. Since NASCAR can administer random drug tests based on suspicion, they gave one to Heimel who failed it. He was subsequently suspended indefinitely. Later it was revealed that he started smoking marijuana on a regular basis when he was just 12 years old.

Although several attempts to return were made, including another full-time stint in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, Heimel’s addictions would continue to get in the way, forcing NASCAR to issue a lifetime ban. After this, Heimel would go on to race in the World of Outlaws, carrying his demons with him. This, unfortunately, would result in a career-ending injury.

Kevin Grubb

Status: Suspended Indefinitely

Kevin Grubb’s story and overall journey in NASCAR is a very, very sad and tragic one. He was a driver with a lot of promise, competing full-time in the NASCAR Xfinity Series in 2001 to a 14th-place points finish. He also made several attempts in the Cup and Truck Series divisions. All of that would come unraveled, though, first in 2004 when he failed a random drug test. He was then suspended indefinitely from NASCAR competition but would then be reinstated in 2006 under the condition that he submit to random drug testing.

After crashing out on lap 2 of a NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Richmond, NASCAR would approach Grubb and ask him to submit to a drug test. Grubb would refuse which led to a second indefinite suspension from NASCAR. The next day, after being diagnosed with a concussion at a local hospital, and claimed to have no memory of the refusal. He offered to submit to the drug test for a chance at reinstatement but NASCAR refused. Grubb never raced in NASCAR again.

Sadly, on May 6, 2009, Grubb was found dead in his hotel room of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. He was 31 years of age.

Randy Lajoie

Status: Reinstated

This is a surprising name on this list, isn’t it? Yes, even good ole Randy Lajoie, father of current NASCAR driver of the No. 7 Chevy for Spire Motorsports, has found himself on the wrong side of the NASCAR Powers That Be. Though he hadn’t competed in a NASCAR race since 2006, Randy Lajoie was suspended indefinitely by NASCAR in 2010 while working as a crew member for Joe Gibbs Racing’s No. 18 Xfinity Series team. The suspension came after testing positive for an illegal substance. Lajoie admitted to smoking marijuana after the 2010 Coca-Cola 600 and took full responsibility for his actions. He was reinstated in August of that year.

Carl Long

Status: Reinstated

Prior to his ban in 2009, Carl Long was a struggling race car driver in the ranks of NASCAR. His biggest career highlight up to the point of the ban was giving up his own ride in the 2000 Coca-Cola 600 for Darrell Waltrip who was in the middle of his Victory Retirement Tour and had failed to qualify for the race. Carl made good on the swap, securing a partnership from Big K Mart (remember those stores?). The years that followed saw Long limping around the racetrack, often struggling to qualify.

That was until 2009. Having failed to make the field for the 2009 Daytona 500, Carl Long would not attempt another race until May of that year for the Sprint All-Star Open…or Challenge…or Showdown… whatever it was called back then. This was largely due to him having a guaranteed starting spot in the field and thus a guaranteed payday. During a Friday practice session for the Open, Carl would blow an engine and would have to scramble to find a replacement.

Due to weather, qualifying for the Sprint Open was rained out and Long was awarded the outside pole. However, on lap 2 of the Open, the new engine would expire and Long would DNF the race. Following the post-race inspection, it was found that Long’s engine was too big and he was hammered with a massive $200,000 fine. He was also barred from attempting to qualify for the next 12 NASCAR Cup Series Races. However, he was unable to pay the fine thus NASCAR banned him from ever competing in a Cup Series Race again.

Long would continue to compete in NASCAR’s Xfinity and Truck Series events and would go on to form the team MBM Racing. In 2017, eight years after the ban, NASCAR lifted the suspension and Carl Long was once again able to compete in NASCAR Cup Series races.

Shane Sieg

Status: Suspended Indefinitely

Shane Sieg was a promising young driver who found most of his success driving in NASCAR’s Craftsman Truck Series. Scoring a career-best finish of 8th in the series at Milwaukee, Sieg was an impressive prospect for many teams in the garage. That was until his indefinite suspension in 2011 for failing a NASCAR-mandated drug test.

Shane Sieg sadly passed away in 2017 at the age of only 34 years old.

Ronnie Hultz

Status: Suspended Indefinitely

Admittedly, not a lot is known about this cat. He frequently made attempts to run in the then K&N (now ARCA) West Series and was suspended in 2011 for testing positive for an illegal substance. He claims to have a medical prescription for medical marijuana. Regardless, the suspension still stands.

Tyler Walker

Status: Reinstated

Tyler Walker had a hard road in front of him in regards to his NASCAR career. Struggling to break through the NASCAR glass ceiling, Walker raced for many years in the World of Outlaws. Eventually, he would be able to make full-time NASCAR attempts, driving for Bill Davis Racing and their Truck Series program in 2007 which saw his career-best finish of 8th at Martinsville.

Walker was suspended indefinitely later in the 2007 season by NASCAR citing their drug abuse policy. Walker started and completed the mandated road to recovery and was subsequently reinstated. Things did not get better from there as he was again suspended for drug-related problems. In 2013, he was arrested following a high-speed chase and later pleaded guilty to drug and alcohol-related offenses.

Jeremy Mayfield

Status: Suspended Indefinitely

The Jeremy Mayfield in NASCAR story is an interesting one if not also somewhat messy. Okay, very, very messy. Jeremy Mayfield was amongst one of the brightest rising stars in NASCAR, competing toe-to-toe for Penske Racing, beginning his career driving the No. 12 Mobile 1 Ford. Later, he took his talents over to Evernham Motorsports where things started to get a little bit sticky.

Long story short, Mayfield said some things about team owner Ray Evernham and his up-and-coming star, Erin Crocker that we’re not going to go into. These comments put Mayfield in the hot seat with the team. He was subsequently released.

When trying to make a comeback in 2009 for his self-owned team, Mayfield felt targeted. He took a random drug test and failed. He admitted to taking Adderall for his ADHD and was subsequently suspended. Following a messy and lengthy court hearing, Mayfield wound up banned for life from NASCAR. He still competes on and off in late model races across the country.

Jack Smith

Status: Suspended Indefinitely

Jack Smith (no, not Stan’s father in American Dad) is a little-known racing driver who competed in 17 Truck Series races between the years of 2008 and 2011. In 2010, he was banned from NASCAR for attempting to buy illegal substances under a pseudonym but was quickly reinstated. He was banned for good following a second drug-related arrest in November of 2011.

A. J. Allmendinger

Status: Reinstated

The most recent winner in the NASCAR Cup Series, A. J. Allmendinger, has also found himself on the wrong side of the NASCAR Rule Book in the area of drug policies. In mid-2012, while driving the No. 22 car for Team Penske, Allmendinger was suspended indefinitely after failing a drug test. After resubmitting a B sample, the suspension stood throughout the summer months. He was reinstated later that October and would fill in for Regan Smith at Phoenix Racing who had been hired by Hendrick Motorsports to fill in for an injured Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Derek White

Status: Suspended Indefinitely

Derek White is a Canadian racecar driver who found moderate success in NASCAR’s Canadian Tire Series, finishing 14th in the standings in 2009 despite not running a full schedule. Later on in his budding career, White would make several attempts in the NASCAR Xfinity and Truck Series though never stringing together a full campaign. In 2015 he would make his lone start in the NASCAR Cup Series, driving the No. 33 car for Circle Sport Racing to a 39th place finish at New Hampshire.

White’s NASCAR career would unfortunately come to an end in 2016, though. In April of that year, he would turn himself in to Canadian authorities, admitting to being a key player in a tobacco smuggling scheme. He would subsequently be indefinitely suspended by NASCAR.

Kyle Larson

Status: Reinstated

Kyle Larson’s slur heard around the world occurred during the 2020 Covid pandemic when NASCAR was on hiatus. It all went down over an iRacing stream when Kyle used a racial slur while live on the stream. This led to his abrupt withdrawal from the iRacing Invitational Event. Once the 2020 NASCAR season was able to continue, Kyle Larson’s team at the time, Chip Ganassi Racing relieved him of his duties and NASCAR indefinitely suspended the former driver of the No. 42.

After completing rehab, Larson was reinstated and hired by Hendrick Motorsports. They went on to win the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series Title.

Cody Ware

Status: Suspended Indefinitely

Cody Ware shocked the racing world earlier this season when he was suspended indefinitely by NASCAR after being arrested for domestic abuse charges. The investigation is ongoing and he remains suspended indefinitely by NASCAR.

Noah Gragson

Status: Reinstated

The biggest controversy in NASCAR this year has to be Noah Gragson. While many NASCAR fans understand the decision to suspend the former driver of the No. 42 LMC car, another group disagrees with the supposed knee-jerk reaction. Noah Gragson was suspended indefinitely first by LMC and then by NASCAR after allegedly liking a racially insensitive post on Instagram.

Gragson underwent the necessary sensitivity rehab and was reinstated by NASCAR on September 12, 2023. His 2024 plans are not yet known.

This ends our comprehensive list of the drivers banned from NASCAR for varying reasons. What do you think, Daily Downforce readers? Were their names that surprised you on this list? Let us know and keep it right here at DailyDownforce.com for all your latest NASCAR news stories and discussions!

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Cody Williams

Cody Williams

Cody Williams is the author of BUNNY BOY and THE FIFTH LINE. He lives near Bristol, TN.
All Posts