Ryan Partridge, a three-time NASCAR K&N Pro Series West winner in 2016, will be forced to miss the 2017 season due to an inconclusive drug test. Partridge, 28, of Rancho Cucamonga, California did not fail the drug test, but the timing of an inconclusive reading resulted him being unable to obtain a NASCAR license in time for the season opener Saturday in Tucson, Arizona.
Following many rumors and speculation, as well as a NASCAR statement indicating that they "did not have his paperwork in time," Partridge offered up an explanation via his Facebook page.
"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," Partridge said in the statement.
"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."
The timing of the inconclusive reading also meant that Partridge would likely be unable to do the necessary leg work in order to compete in NASCAR races this weekend. With one race at Kern County Raceway Park (CA) Thursday and a pair of races at Irwindale Speedway (CA) Saturday, he made the decision to forego his plans to compete in K&N West events this season.
Partridge plans to use his time away from NASCAR K&N Pro Series West competition to focus on his personal life.
"Just when we think we have things figured out, the lord changes our plans," Partridge said in the statement. "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."
In addition to racing the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West circuit in recent years, Partridge is also a frequent competitor on the Lucas Oil Modified Series. It is unclear at this time what his plans are with that series.
Zane Smith of Huntington Beach, California filled the driver's seat of the No. 9 Bob Bruncati car Saturday night at Tucson Speedway (AZ) and finished fourth.
-By Brandon Paul, Speed51.com Editor - Twitter: @Brandon_Paul51
-Photo credit: Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images for NASCAR