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Mayfield skipping Chicago too, but finally speaks out on NASCAR suspension; meanwhile crew chief Tony Eury Jr. reappears on the NASCAR scene

Tony Eury Jr., veteran crew chief and long-time bud with Dale Earnhardt Jr., back on the NASCAR trail (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)

   By Mike Mulhern

   JOLIET, Ill.
   Jeremy Mayfield is a no-show again this weekend here at Chicagoland Speedway, and there's no word yet on what the next step might be for the driver in his battle with NASCAR to get back in a Sprint Cup car.
   Mayfield says he doesn't have enough money to haul his own car up here, and he apparently can't find a team owner willing to risk NASCAR's wrath by putting him in a ride.
   NASCAR suspended him in May for violating its substance abuse policy; however a federal judge last week granted Mayfield an injunction, lifting that suspension, and the judge criticized some significant parts of NASCAR's policy, particularly the 'no appeal' part.
   NASCAR shows no signs of wavering in its stance. Mayfield has little money.
  So Mayfield's courtroom win could be a Pyrrhic victory.
  Mayfield has said little in public since his suspension, but Thursday he finally spoke out, angrily about NASCAR handling of his case, in an interview with Marty Smith: HERE.

   However Tony Eury Jr., long-time crew chief for Dale Earnhardt Jr., now Junior's ex-crew chief, for about six weeks now, in that Rick Hendrick shakeup, is here – heading a Hendrick Chevy team for rookie Brad Keselowski, using Hendrick's R&D hauler.
   Eury talked wistfully about his days with Earnhardt, and the long history of the Earnhardts and the Eurys, which go back to the dusty days of the 1970s when Earnhardt Sr. and Eury Sr. worked together, long before making it in NASCAR's big leagues.
   And Eury said now, without Earnhardt Jr. at the wheel of one of his own cars, he feels much less pressure, for a change:
   "It was, at one moment, like 'Cool. I'm glad this is over with,' Eury says of the late May split. "And the next moment I felt like I let my cousin down.  
   "I've done a lot for him; he's done a lot for me. We enjoy racing together.  
    "A lot of people put him on a pedestal that he doesn't need to be on.  They put a lot of pressure on him to be somebody that he's not going to be.  
    "Dale Jr. is a great race driver…but I just think he's got so much pressure on him that he doesn't enjoy it right now.  
    "I told him 'Man, you just need to start enjoying yourself more.'
    "That's where I was at -- You get blasted in the media…and my wife wouldn't even watch the race.  
    "You would come home, and she would ask where we finished, because she doesn't want to sit there and hear the negativity.  
    "I fought it for a long time -- and at some point you have to weigh it and ask if it's worth it.  
     "It wasn't. And it took me a couple weeks to figure that out.  
     "Just glad Rick Hendrick put me in a position where I could have a little bit more fun."
     The long-running Earnhardt-Eury relationship "just kind of run its course," Eury said.
     "There are definitely some things that happened that brought us to this point: In general, it was time, there is no other way to put it.  
     "We just needed to try something different.
     "Dale Jr. is not getting any younger, so let's give him the opportunity to work with somebody else.  
     "Definitely the road we were going down, it wasn't a bed of roses, so let’s try something different."
     Since Hendrick moved Eury to the R&D operation, and put Lance McGrew in charge of Earnhardt's team, Eury says "I've just been chilling a lot. Spending some time with the wife. I haven't done that in a real long time."
    But this weekend it's back to business for Eury, with Keselowski – who needs to get a good deal in place for a Cup run next season. This weekend's sponsor – GoDaddy.com….which also happens to be a major sponsor for Indy star Danica Patrick.
      "The first two or three weeks I didn't even watch a race," Eury says of June. "It was really cool to just get away, because I've never been able to do it before. And I've enjoyed it, to be honest with you.  
    "But I'm glad to be back here at the track."
    And Eury says he's letting Earnhardt do his own thing for a while: "We just let everything ease up.  
    "We sent a couple texts that first weekend.  We talked on the phone, and it was emotional for both of us.  
    "In no way am I going to let this sport get in between me and Dale Jr.  It was a job; I enjoyed being around Dale Jr…and still do.  He's family, and we go deeper than this racing deal.  
    "Me and Dale Jr. have plenty of hunts planned together, and we're going to go do things outside of racing. I don't think we really talk a whole lot of racing when we do talk; that's pretty cool."
   The relief is clear on Eury's face: "People don't know what goes on behind the scenes and how difficult it is.  
    "When this whole deal started (back in the 1990s), it was Dale Sr. and Pops (Tony Eury Sr.), and they wanted me and Dale Jr. to go racing…and them two wanted to retire and kick back and watch us.  
    "Losing Dale Sr. was a big hit on all three of us…and we were trying everything we could to make Dale Jr. successful, and it just wasn't enough.  
    "I felt I let everybody down, to a point.
    "So it means a lot to me when our peers in this garage walk up and tell me I am doing a great job and they're sorry to hear about what happened. That means more to me than anything else that will ever go on in my life.  
    "I'm satisfied with everything I've done…and the way it went down…and just looking forward to something new.
   "The chemistry we had with the eight car over at DEI was a lot of heart and soul; that team believed in one another and picked up the next guy beside you and carried on.
     "That's what I missed…. and that's what I'm looking forward to again."
    Things really began changing, Eury said, in the days following Daytona in February. Earnhardt had a very good car, but had problems on pit stops, got behind, and then, with rain coming, crashed.
   "You guys put so much pressure on him after Daytona that Dale Jr. just basically had had enough," Eury said. "We had a shot at winning that race, had some problems on pit road…but we ain't going to slam Dale Jr.  We're going to pick him up and say 'Let's go to Vegas.'
   "And went to California and blew up…so there are two negative weeks.  
    "You guys were all over him, and it just brought him down.  
    "I don't think we had a strong enough finish to bring him back up, so every week the hole gets deeper and deeper and deeper.
     "We just have to get Dale Jr. having more fun right now. That's the biggest thing.
     "That pressure gets to anybody.  
     "We have to chill out and let Dale Jr. do his thing and enjoy himself."
    This is Earnhardt's second season with Hendrick, and Year One started so well…but then started going downhill. "As the season went on, I basically lost confidence in myself and my set-ups because we had trouble at some of Dale Jr.'s worst tracks during the summer," Eury said.
   And psychologically it all snowballed.
   "You open the newspaper, you go online….I couldn't open up a paper because it would be an Earnhardt or a Eury Jr. story, and it's if we won the race it was great (Michigan), and if it wasn't, then it was all negative.  
    "You just get tired of reading it."


Ok, ok, just when you think

Ok, ok, just when you think Mike is a southern racin' kind of guy, he throw a "Pyrrhic victory" into the paragraph. I admit I had to Bing it. (That is the same as "Google it" but I use Bing because it understands me better).

'The expression alludes to the Greek King Pyrrhus who, after defeating the Romans in battle, stated: "If we win another such battle against the Romans, we will be completely lost." ' according to Answers.com

Thanks Mike for expanding my horizons. There is probably still some printers ink under those fingernails somewhere.

just trying to keep you guys

just trying to keep you guys interested in what the hell i might come up with next.....

yo, dude, thanks for the

yo, dude, thanks for the context.....i've used that phrase every now and then, but until you brought it up, i'd never done a deep dive into the romanesque history of that phrase...it's cool,ain't it.....
keep me thinking...and i'll try to keep y'all thinking

Chris NNC, I'm enervated with

Chris NNC, I'm enervated with Mayfield's act - Bing that. ;-)

Seriously, I am sick of Mayfield's act - he failed two tests, he admitted taking substances and is defending himself with the "it was for my ADD and my allergies" excuse I've heard over and over from the NFL etc., and his history of being perhaps the ultimate cancer in the garage of every team he's raced for stands out. He keeps claiming "false positive," and it's timeless tosh because there really isn't such a thing - the term itself is contradictory - if it's false, it can't be a positive.

Mayfield should have just accepted that he got caught and gone away.

My old 1953 Ford tractor has

My old 1953 Ford tractor has a positive ground wire and a negative hot wire, that is a false negative that plowed many an acre. Antimatter has a negative proton and a positive electron, that is a false positive that drove the space ship Enterprise at warp speed.

Drug testing isn't rocket science, it is old fashioned chemistry, not to be confused with the golden rule. Those that have the gold make the rules and those that make the rules have the gold. There is no room in any sport for drug abuse even though untaxed spirits laid the cornerstone of the stock car racing era. How soon they enervated their own foundation.

Coffin versus the United States gives me, you, Mike, O.J, and driver Mayfield the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty. I rather like my right to be presumed innocent even though I haven't had the opportunity to use it except for that one unfortunate speeding ticket in Yadkin county.

Driver Mayfield may have claimed a victory, although Pyhrric in nature, but now he, like Hamlet, suffers the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, but that's racin'.

great work, dude

great work, dude (LOL)....sure you're not related to Tom 'The Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby" Wolfe.....
ah, willie boy shakespeare....and all that onomatopoeia of his.....

Pyrrhic victory...wow. I

Pyrrhic victory...wow.

I had to look that up.


I have to admit I'm a bit confused as to the whole Mayfield vs NASCAR thing. They're at such polar opposites that this doesn't seem to be a case of "oops...bad test results" or "just a misunderstanding". One or the other is completely right and the other lying. Either Mayfield uses or NASCAR really screwed up.

What I haven't seen any reports on is that if Mayfield's claim is correct or not...can his use of OTC and prescriptions give a false reading? Why not an independant source being quoted on that possibility? Maybe it's been done and I've missed it.

I can't help but think that NASCAR wants to put Mayfield out...and when they got the slightest possibility, even if in error, of using the drug policy, they played it to the hilt.

Or could it be that Mayfield is using, but in the spirit of Major League Baseball stars, will go down swinging, er, lying about not using?

The last non-drug related

The last non-drug related announcement for JM Motorsports was thier involvement with smallsponsor.com. This site has sponsors from churches to doctors and many others that were to be periodically featured on the car. Since NA$CAR did not have contol over these individual sponsors and could not force them to bend to NA$CAR's will, they simply trumped up the drug test or used the false positive, knowing that they would destroy the driver, team and sponsors. This is NA$CAR's way of saying we only want to work with large sponsors that can be wrangled away from teams to sponsor races, "the _ of NASCAR" deals, and take over sponsorship of the over-bloated floundering cup series. Fortunately, they only have themselves to blame for lower ticket sales and declining revenues which started way before the "economic crisis".

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