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Jeremy Mayfield, two crewmen, suspended by NASCAR for undisclosed drug abuse violations


Jeremy Mayfield: struggling new owner-driver, now suspended indefinitely by NASCAR (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)

   By Mike Mulhern


   Jeremy Mayfield, a prominent NASCAR Sprint Cup driver with 433 career starts since his first race in 1993, and two crewmen from other teams have been suspended indefinitely by NASCAR for violating the sport's substance abuse policy.
   The violations were confirmed at noon Saturday, after testing at Richmond last weekend.
   Mayfield practiced and attempted to qualify here Friday for Saturday's Southern 500, but Mayfield, who owns a Toyota team, wasn't fast enough to get his car in the field.
   NASCAR declined to say what specific drugs might be involved, but NASCAR's Jim Hunter said alcohol was not an issue with Mayfield.
   The two crewmen suspended are Cup crewman Tony Martin and Nationwide crewman Ben Williams.
   Martin works for a Chevrolet Cup team that is officially listed as owned by Teresa Earnhardt, but which is a part-time operation run as an Earnhardt-Ganassi satellite team. John Andretti is the driver.
   Williams works for a Nationwide Ford team that is officially listed as owned by Jack Roush; Matt Kenseth won Friday night's Nationwide 250 here in that team's car.
   NASCAR's drug testing procedures include taking two samples; NASCAR said both samples were positive at Richmond.
   Mayfield, one of the sport's newest owner-drivers, has five Cup wins during his career, most recent in the summer of 2005 at Michigan. He started 38th at Richmond and finished 35th. He has run in five Cup races this season, with a 32nd at Talladega his best finish.
   NASCAR's 'new' drug policies were first announced last year at Dover, in part in response to a story a week earlier about NASCAR Truck series star Ron Hornaday using steroid creams as medication.
   Under the 'new' policies, NASCAR says it tested all its drivers before the season opened, and the sanctioning body does about a dozen random tests each race weekend.
   Mayfield is the first Cup driver suspended under this policy.

Jeremy Mayfield, happier days...winning at Michigan (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)


The late Tim Richmond, who died in 1988, brought NASCAR's drug policies to the fore when NASCAR suspended him at the start of the 1987 season, ostensibly for some type of drug abuse. In fact, Richmond was undergoing treatment for HIV, and sports officials were uncertain about how precisely to deal with that situation. The late Bill France Jr. announced a drug testing policy, and then suspended Richmond.
   More recently Kevin Grubb, then a Busch/Nationwide driver, failed a NASCAR drug test in 2004 and was suspended indefinitely two years later after refusing to take a drug test following a Busch race at Richmond. Grubb was found dead Wednesday in a motel in Richmond; no drug reports were immediately available.
    Hunter said the three were suspended "for violating the sanctioning body's substance abuse policy."
    "We received the results today (Saturday) at 12 noon….
    "NASCAR has one of the toughest substance abuse policies in all of sports. And it's all about safety and competition. And a positive result means an indefinite suspension from all competition.
    "The implementation of the random testing aspect of this program has been welcomed and supported by drivers, owners and other competitors in the sport."
   Hunter would not disclose any specific drugs. He also declined to talk about questions that perhaps the over-the-counter allergy medicine loratadine might produce positive test results.

Jeremy Mayfield's biggest win, Richmond 2004 (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)

"We test quite a number of people each weekend," Hunter said. "At this point every Cup driver has been tested at least once.
   "We do it on a weekly basis, anywhere from eight to 15 weekly in the Sprint Cup series. And the number would about triple if you include the other two series.
   "So we think it's working."
   Dr. Robert Black is NASCAR's substance abuse consultant; he was not apparently at Darlington Raceway over the weekend.
    "We have made it clear all along that we have a zero-tolerance for violations," Hunter said.
    "The path to come back into racing is up to the individuals. If they chose to meet with Dr. Black, he will lay out a path for their possible return.
    "There is just no place for substance abuse in our sport."
   Mayfield himself was not at the track Saturday and could not be reached for comment, but he released a brief statement Saturday night:
   "As both a team owner and a driver in the NASCAR Sprint Cup series, I have immense respect for the enforcement policies NASCAR has in place.
    "In my case, I believe that the combination of a prescribed medicine and an over-the-counter medicine reacted together and resulted in a positive drug test.
   "My doctor and I are working with both Dr. Black and NASCAR to resolve this matter.
   "Mayfield Motorsports remains committed to the NASCAR Sprint Cup series, and the organization will announce an interim owner and a temporary replacement driver early next week."
    Mayfield said his team would compete in next week's Sprint Open at Charlotte's Lowe's Motor Speedway and continue operations the rest of the year.



NASCAR spokesman Jim Hunter, making the announcement of drug suspensions (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)


Mike, Have always respected


Have always respected your thoughts.
Miss reading your take on racing in the W-SJ.

Have you heard anything new on this matter??


thanks, mon....still

thanks, mon....still giving-and-taking right here....jeremy? nope, nothing yet...rather surprised, since everyone in the haulers knows about the random testing. nascar has been very diligent in testing...though it's not clear just what drivers are being tested for....and, considering these guys get sick with the flu and sore throats and stuff like that, what are they supposed to do -- use voodoo magic to get well?

It would appear that voodoo

It would appear that voodoo magic may not be subject to coverage under the proposed new Obama we're-here-to-heal-you national medical plan.

Elliott Sadler said on PRN that all the drivers have Dr. Black's cell phone number and can call him whenever they have a question about something they are considering using.

Richard in N.C.

What surprises me is that so

What surprises me is that so many drivers are insisting NASCAR open up on all this and clarify a lot of points. How effective can a drug policy be is so many drivers see so many gray areas?

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