The National Hot Rod Assn. lifted the competition license of drag racing champion Darrell Alderman and suspended him indefinitely Friday after learning that he had pleaded guilty to federal charges of conspiracy to possess and distribute cocaine.
Alderman, winner of the past two NHRA pro stock championships, drove a Dodge Daytona to victory in 11 of 14 national events last season, setting a record for victories in a season. He would have been defending champion in the season-opening Winternationals, which start Jan. 30 at the Pomona Fairplex.
The NHRA edict will "prohibit Darrell Alderman from driving, owning or otherwise participating in NHRA events or in events held at NHRA tracks." Although the suspension is of an indefinite length, Alderman will not be eligible to apply for reinstatement for two years. At that time, the competition committee would review the case if he asks that it do so.
Alderman, through spokeswoman Janet Dougherty, issued the following statement from his home in Morehead, Ky.:
"The NHRA made a very strong statement. What I did was wrong and this is the penalty I have to pay. As I said before, if you are thinking about using drugs, don't, and if you are using them, get help."
One of the first fallouts was his cancellation of a trip to Burbank, where tonight he was scheduled to receive an award as a member of the American Auto Racing Writers & Broadcasters Assn.'s 1991 All-American racing team.
The NHRA committee did not strip him of any victories or championships, even though the period involved in the charges--from August of 1990 to February of 1991--was during portions of his two championship seasons.
Alderman was indicted, along with Paul J. Adams and Gregory Frankel, both of Lexington, Ky., on March 21 by a federal grand jury in Fayette County. Alderman received several postponements, and the case did not come to trial until Dec. 27, when he entered a guilty plea. Sentencing is scheduled for March 6.