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What was Jeremy Mayfield thinking?

By admin | June 18, 2009


By Richard Allen

The headline of this piece is meant to raise the question asked on several levels.

It was announced during the weekend of the Southern 500 at Darlington that Jeremy Mayfield had been suspended indefinitely by NASCAR for failing a drug test.

In the first asking of “What was Jeremy Mayfield thinking?” I have to wonder about the events of the next 48 hours or so after the initial announcement. Mayfield insisted that he had only taken the allergy reliever Claritin-D, and that’s what caused the positive result on his drug test. It was also revealed later that he had also taken Adderall XR, a drug most commonly used to treat Attention Deficit Disorder.

Internet columns and message boards across the country suspected NASCAR of a cover-up on the level of the JFK assassination and the Roswell UFO crash conspiracy theories. Columnists and fans alike accused NASCAR of trying to keep one of its sponsors, Claritin, from looking bad.

NASCAR did not do itself any favors by shrouding the drug test in secrecy.

If Mayfield had only taken Claritin-D and Adderall then he would have been right to pursue the case to the furthest. However, if he had taken something else and knew very well that an allergy reliever was not what caused his positive, wouldn’t the best course of action just be to stop talking? The plot of this story begins to thicken here.

In the second asking of “What was Jeremy Mayfield thinking?” I have wonder about Mayfield’s next move. He brought in attorney Bill Diehl to press the case further. Would it be a prudent move to hire an attorney and continue to push the case if the drug was known by the accused to be something other than what he claimed?

NASCAR vehemently denied that Mayfield had only tested positive for Claritin-D. They insisted that it was much worse. When pressed as to what the drug was, however, they remained mum on the subject.

“What was Jeremy Mayfield thinking?” when he took the case to the point of no return by going to court. The court of public opinion often takes the side of an accused person who fights back against his accusers. It is generally believed that no one would be so foolish as to file a lawsuit knowing that he is in the wrong.

Now, NASCAR came out swinging. They filed a countersuit against Mayfield saying that he put his fellow competitors at risk. And for the first time, it was leaked that the drug to have triggered the positive test was methamphetamine.

NASCAR has also stated its belief that one of the experts to have come out in Mayfield’s favor has lied about his credentials, thus throwing a cloud of doubt over any testimony that might come from this potential witness.

Mayfield countered the leak by claiming he had been involved in a fiery crash in Talladega which had also added to the potential of a positive drug result. He said he inhaled fumes in that crash.

For a person such as myself with very limited knowledge of drugs and drug testing this story is very confusing.

What was Jeremy Mayfield thinking if he actually did take an illegal drug and then went out and raced? What was he thinking when he continued to push this case further and further knowing he was in the wrong, if indeed that is the case?

It would seem to me that he was thinking he was in the right. But at the same time it seems to me that NASCAR thinks they are right as well. Two sides convinced they are right and both seemingly with evidence on their side will make for a very interesting court case, if one ever occurs.

Typically, I have been one to cast a doubtful eye in NASCAR’s direction in cases such as this. However, nothing seems to be going in Mayfield’s favor at this time. And, either way I think it is safe to say that he has driven his last NASCAR race.

Some have claimed that NASCAR was so harsh toward owner/driver Carl Long to take attention away from this case. That may be, but in my mind these cases are not similar in any way.

I don’t know for sure why NASCAR chose to do what they did with Long, but in the Mayfield case it seems as though they have taken the proper course. It seems to me they should have been more lenient toward Long, but this sport has to have zero tolerance for drug related issues.

At one time, Jeremy Mayfield’s career seemed to have great potential. He won races driving for Roger Penske and Ray Evernham. Now, that career seems headed toward an early conclusion.

Richard Allen is a member of the National Motorsports Press Association. His weekly column appears in The Mountain Press every Wednesday.

Topics: Articles |

9 Responses to “What was Jeremy Mayfield thinking?”

  1. Trevor Says:
    June 20th, 2009 at 12:35 am

    But what if Jeremy is right? Says that his hearing is July 1st and it was a mistake sent in by a lawyer sending in the rough draft of the papers, not the final copy. I hope Jeremy wins this one. If the papers about how it all went down are correct, and i saw you can get them off of jayski, Jeremy has a valid point and it ties together nicely.

  2. midasmicah Says:
    June 20th, 2009 at 8:11 am

    As far as Jeremy Mayfield is concerned even if he wins he loses. nas$car will make his life so miserable that it will drive him away anyway. He won’t be back under any circumstances. The Long situation is a joke. Talk about the bully on the block beating up the little guy. For anyway who thinks that someone like Jimmy Johnson or Dale Jr. would have got the same treatment, I’ve got some ocean front land in Kansas to sell you. I’ve slowly lost a lot of respect for nas$car and respect means a lot to me.

  3. MiK Watson Says:
    June 20th, 2009 at 9:29 am

    To say that Jeremy was in the wrong is adding to the stigma that NASCAR has painted him with. If the tests show an illegal substance (Reportedly Meth), why is there a problem? Hand the results over to law-enforcement and Jeremy goes away.

    A Shock Jock, “Bubba the love sponge” has shown that combining Adderal, a drug for ADHD, with Claritin, for sinus problems, does produce indicators for meth in a drug test.

    Why didn’t Jeremy tell NASCAR about the Adderal? If you took a drug for what is seen as a disability, were trying to make it in the Big Leagues, and telling sponsors that their money wasn’t going to go down the drain. Would YOU tell NASCAR?

    NASCAR hasn’t got a good reputation for secretcy. We all know that the info would be common knowledge throughout the garage inside of a week. I mean, if NASCAR signs a sponsor, they give up YOUR right to carry a rival who’s supported you for a while. You want to entrust this info to ‘em?

    Jeremy is already ruined. He now owes for equipment bought with the before the sponsor backed-out. it’s gonna cost a fortune to defend his rep, and He now has no job. NASCAR has won without firing a shot. the only question is: Who’s Next?

    NASCAR will do what they’ve always done. They’ll delay and wait until all chances to make a name are gone, then drop it.

  4. Jim Andrea Says:
    June 20th, 2009 at 10:18 am

    This is very poor journalistic practice. Your articles are read by many race fans and just scanned for their headline by even more. By creating a “guilty” impression with the headline and tone of your article, you are doing real journalism a great disservice. The public knows NOTHING at this point. Rumors, innuendo and leaks do not substitute for facts. Perhaps everyone should shut up and wait until they can report on the actual facts when they are presented. You can title my comment “What Was Ricard Allen Thinking/”

  5. Charlie Says:
    June 20th, 2009 at 10:29 am

    NASCAR lost the minute the Federal Judge was assigned. This Judge is probably the best in the District bench at being fair. Whoever at NASCAR that wanted the case in Federal Court lost the minute Judge Mullins was chosen. He will consider all the facts and does not lean toward defendants, as many of his peers tend.
    This one will get extremely ugly.
    I’m sure NASCAR will offer to settle. I hope Mayfield does not and Mr. Diehl deposes the likes of Helton, Hunter and France. (Moe, Larry, and Curley). I would pay a life’s wages to witness that.
    This is a no-win for the sport.

  6. chris love Says:
    June 20th, 2009 at 10:47 am

    nascar cant always be right .the big bully will get beat. may field is going to be in nascar again . this time it wont be in third behind earnhardt at daytona it will be in first……
    got mayfield

  7. Chuck Allen Says:
    June 20th, 2009 at 6:40 pm

    I still believe, at this point, in the whole “innocent until proven guilty” that our great nation is founded on. The article brings up some valid points, but the truth is unknown. The real problem facing Jeremy at this point is the public perception of him. At first, he was winning that battle. When the leaked “information” of the meth result came out, he was virtually crucified. I have seen several instances where urine tests can in fact come back a false reading. The fact that this has happened way more times than any drug testing facility would ever admit makes it very interseting. I am and will continue to be a fan of Jeremy regardless of the outcome. Even if he loses this case and his life is destroyed, maybe it can help the next person who may encounter a similar situation. The drug policy has been exposed on several fronts and people can actually thank Jeremy Mayfield for that.

  8. Marybeth Wallick Says:
    June 20th, 2009 at 7:52 pm

    Rich,
    I have read that if they would to a test on a hair sample from Mayfield, and he offered to do this, they would know if he did drugs or not, back to 6 months…unless getting to the truth of this doesn’t matter, for whatever reason…? Marybeth

  9. Angie Says:
    June 20th, 2009 at 10:06 pm

    I personally don’t think Jeremy would be a person to take meth but I could be wrong. I think the whole thing has been handled terribly on all sides. Meth is made combining allergy pills and other terrible toxins so the justification of the fiery crash along with his prescriptions could be very accurate. My son takes Adderall (not the XR) and the generic form is called amphetamine salts. I have known several meth addicts and Jeremy does not show the signs of someone who takes meth. He would look way older than he is and have terrible teeth along with other distinguishible features. Do I think he screwed up in not checking out his “expert” yes. But I think the high and mighty NASCAR is being vindictive. they have to do something to get some publicity because the races sure aren’t doing it for them. I hope things work out for Jeremy.