He had a playboy reputation and had just started to gel with Hendricks Motorsports and legendary crew chief Harry Hyde. For the 1986 season, he had racked up a string of first-place finishes and managed to take third in points for the year. Tim Richmond seemed to be on the rocket ride up to the top…then 1987 happened. After sitting out half of the season with what had been reported as double pneumonia (and in truth had been at least related to being a carrier of HIV/AIDS), he had returned to start a handful of races to close out the year, taking first at Pocono and Riverside and driving, officially, for the last time at Michigan before retiring from Hendrick Motorsports in September 1987.
The 1988 Daytona 500 was supposed to be the point where Richmond was going to mount his comeback. He felt better, looked better, and seemed ready to get going once again. By most accounts, he would be ready to race, but after NASCAR implemented a new drug testing policy (partially due to claims that Richmond was on drugs), and Richmond popped hot, NASCAR suspended his license. After it was determined that the chemicals in Richmond’s sample were Advil and Sudafed, Richmond tried to get his license back, but NASCAR wanted his medical records from 1987 before they were going to allow it. Richmond refused, and things kept hitting the fan from that moment until Richmond’s passing in August of 1989. Here’s a review of everything that went down. What do you think, fair shake or not?