By admin | July 1, 2009
By Richard Allen
A judge has granted an injunction that will allow Jeremy Mayfield to attempt to race in the Coke Zero 400 at the Daytona International Speedway this Saturday. That ruling probably came as a surprise to many, and it no doubt especially came as a surprise to NASCAR.
Information has been mysteriously flying out of nowhere in regard to this case leading up to the July 1st court appearance. What Mayfield may have actually taken and what dangers those drugs might have imposed on his fellow drivers came from one camp. And, that the test results had been verified by a second lab was also leaked to the public.
The possibility that the drug test may have been skewed by a combination of legally prescribed drugs coupled with the accused having ingested flames during a crash came out of the other camp.
A radio host even went so far as to take the very same drugs Mayfield said he had taken and then submit himself to a drug test. That test showed the same positive Mayfield’s test showed. While the radio hosts test will mean nothing in the court proceedings, it did help Mayfield score a major victory in the court of public opinion.
Here’s the thought that first came to my mind when hearing Mayfield had been granted the injunction. The next race on the schedule just happens to be on NASCAR’s home track in Daytona Beach. It sure would be embarrassing for NASCAR if Mayfield were to actually make the race and then receive a huge ovation during pre-race introductions.
Right there, in the shadow of the sanctioning body’s corporate office, their current enemy #1 could score a major public relations coup.
NASCAR officials have to be hoping that doesn’t happen. Up till now they appeared to be winning the fight. This injunction was a major blow against them. Mayfield winning the hearts of those assembled in the grandstands on Saturday night would be like salt in their wound.
I’ve heard some speculate that Mayfield’s car will never make it through tech inspection. NASCAR can’t afford to look so vindictive with a judge watching. I’d say the #41 will get through tech.
On a restrictor plate track with no qualifying race, it probably won’t matter if it does or doesn’t get through tech. Mayfield probably stands little chance of making the show anyway. But if he does and gets a huge ovation, there will be a little egg on the faces of those watching from the top of the ivory tower.
Richard Allen is a member of the National Motorsports Press Association. His weekly column appears in The Mountain Press every Wednesday.
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