The NASCAR K&N Pro Series West lost a significant championship contender over the weekend before the season could even start as Ryan Partridge was unable to secure his annual license to compete before the season opener at Tucson Speedway in Arizona.
The 28-year-old finished second in the championship last season but wasn’t allowed on the track on Saturday night. The initial reason provided by NASCAR was that Partridge failed to provide the necessary paperwork needed to receive his license. But the veteran short-tracker revealed on Tuesday via his professional Facebook account that an inconclusive drug test is what ultimately sidelined him. As a result, Partridge will not compete on tour this season. His statement:
“There are quite a few requirements to allow one to race including drug test, physical, a pile of paperwork, etc. The day before opening night in Tucson I learned that my drug test was inconclusive, and they would not allow me to race without another. To clarify, I did not test positive for any banned substances.
“Let me give some insight to the testing process. You first call requesting a test kit, then they call back usually a day later needing information and specifics, then they send you (a) kit, once received, you make (an) appointment with a specified clinic, after (a) sample is given, they package it up and send it back east (sic) again, once they receive it’s a 3 to 4 day testing process, all in all totaling over a week.
“Learning about this on Friday made it impossible to obtain a license, not only for the first race, but most likely the first four, crushing our hopes for a championship or competitive season. I was devastated to say the least. Mostly for the investment and preparation Bob, Maureen and my team have sacrificed on my behalf.”
Fellow veteran Chris Eggleston won at Tucson to open the campaign on Saturday. The West Series will next compete on Thursday at Kern County Raceway Park (Calif.) and has twin races scheduled for Saturday at Irwindale Speedway (Calif.).
That made matters even worse for Partridge, who likely couldn’t get a license for a passed drug test until after the weekend — and a quarter of the completed schedule. Late Model youngster Zane Smith got the call to drive the No. 9 Sunrise Racing Ford for Bob Bruncati. He finished fourth in the one-off effort. Partridge went on:
“Just when we think we have things figured out, the lord changes our plans. It’s hard to understand sometimes because we don’t know what his plans are but I truly feel that he wants me to use this to re-organize and re-prioritize my life.
“Since my father passed away a few years ago I feel my life has been on hold. While my professional life has been fulfilling and successful, I don’t feel I have made any progress in my personal life and what I want to accomplish as an individual, not a race-car driver. It’s easy when we are in pain to use that pain to focus on something like racing and immerse ourselves in something we think is bigger and complex enough that we can get lost in.
“Racing is a relentless sport that always asks for more, and no matter how much I love racing, racing will never love me back. I am blown away at the love and support I have received these last few days from our racing community and family. In the midst of rumors and confusion, these people love, care and worry enough to reach out and make sure I’m doing OK. That is truly what racing is all about: the camaraderie and community of our racing family and friends. I’m not sure what the next step is for me but I will definitely keep you all posted. Thanks everyone.”