By admin | November 2, 2011
By Richard Allen
With the news released on Wednesday morning that former NASCAR driver Jeremy Mayfield had been arrested on charges of possession of illegal drugs and stolen property, another chapter in one of the strangest stories in recent racing history was set to be written. Perhaps this will even be the final chapter in this twisting tale of charges, allegations and counter-charges.
While many were likely not caught of guard when the news broke that the Catawba County(N.C.) sheriff’s department had taken Mayfield into custody and alleged that he had been found in possession of drugs and stolen property, there were others who may have felt at least some degree of loss in the matter. No doubt, there were some who genuinely were fans of the driver who has five Sprint Cup victories to his credit. However, I believe there are others who were rooting for Mayfield for reasons other than their fandom of his driving skills.
It is my belief that some hoped for Mayfield’s vindication out of a disdain for the sport’s sanctioning body and its leadership. These people wanted the former driver to be right because such would have meant that NASCAR had been wrong.
While these observers may not have any particular feelings for Mayfield himself, they have strong feelings toward the organization that abandoned traditional tracks, instituted the Chase for the Championship and rolled out the Car of Tomorrow. For these people, Mayfield was viewed as the guy who was standing up to the establishment. An establishment that is ruining a sport they once cherished.
The banned driver’s cause was simply a way of hopefully opening a door for making greater changes.
These ‘supporters’ of Mayfield no doubt were even more enthused when Mayfield made his case personal by going after the man who is the embodiment of NASCAR’s detrimental downturn. That man, of course, is NASCAR Chairman Brian France.
Mayfield instructed his attorneys to go after court documents pertaining to France’s divorce. While the driver may have hoped that information might be found within those papers that might have helped his cause. Others may have hoped for a more sinister result. The third generation head of the sport’s public humiliation was instead their desire.
As this case has proceeded from the time of his initial banishment, there have been many twists and turns. Some out there were behind the driver because they believed in him personally. Others may have considered his personal case to be merely a stepping stone toward the tearing down of a disliked sanctioning body and its leaders. Either way, the cause of Jeremy Mayfield, and thus the cause of those who supported him for whatever reason, was dealt a devastating blow on Wednesday morning.
Likely, those who have actually believed in Mayfield have been hurt on a personal level. Those who simply viewed Mayfield as the embodiment of a bigger cause will have to seek out a new ‘hero’ to take on the establishment.
Were people rooting for Mayfield or against NASCAR?(May, 2010) http://racingwithrich.com/?p=1182
NASCAR haters may have chosen the wrong hero in Mayfield(July, 2009) http://racingwithrich.com/?p=884
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