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Jeremy Mayfield case cropping up again, more legal twists coming, one year after the story broke

  Back on the Jeremy Mayfield stage: Jimmie Johnson (L) and teammate Jeff Gordon, heading to the lawyers' office for depositions (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)

  By Mike Mulhern

   DOVER, Del.
   Jimmie Johnson confirmed Friday he and teammate Jeff Gordon have been subpoenaed for depositions next week in the Jeremy Mayfield case.
   "We'll just sit back and watch where it all leads," Johnson said.
   The Mayfield case, set for trial in September, has been filled with wild twists since NASCAR suspended the veteran stock car driver on the eve of last year's Southern 500. The legal battles have been hot and heavy, though NASCAR's Brian France said earlier this year his side will be quiet this season and let the courts handle the action.
    NASCAR says Mayfield tested positive for methamphetamine at last spring's Richmond 400. But Mayfield, who has been barred from NASCAR tracks even as a spectator because of the suspension, insists the drug test was in error, because of an interaction between medication he had been prescribed for ADD and allergy medicine.
    Johnson certainly has a lot on his plate at the moment....including trying to bounce back from that Darlington crash, his third DNF of the year.
   Jimmie Johnson says he talked with former teammate Brian Vickers Thursday night and said there was still some concern about why the clots had occurred: "I think it's still so new that they're still learning, and trying to understand exactly what's going on with him. 
     "I spoke with him, he's in good spirits, and certainly hope they get to the bottom of things and get him healed up and back in the race car as soon as possible. 
    "When I spoke to him there are still a lot of question marks and concerns, trying to understand just what in the world is going on. 
     "Until they can find out what's going on, there's a lot of worry and concern."
     Still Johnson says Vickers sounded "healthy and fine and normal. 
     "But there's obviously something going on."

     And there may be something going on in the Johnson camp too, of a different sort:
     "Last weekend I was in four wrecks before the fourth one finally took me out of commission," he says.
      "It was just a wild night.
      "Kevin Harvick joked around at California that we have a horseshoe implanted in a certain area.  That horseshoe fell out before that race started last week...because I've never been in four wrecks and then have a guy with no brakes come and T-bone me."

    Jimmie Johnson's car on the hook at Darlington (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)

    So Johnson's amazing run of good look may be running out? "It all changes," he says. "We've been saying this all along -- this stuff doesn't last forever.
     "The garage gets smarter..."
    In fact the Joe Gibbs guys may have passed the Rick Hendrick bunch on the competition side.
     "We're not where we want to be right now," Johnson says. "We're still very competitive. But we have a little work to do. 
     "The three races we won this year, we weren't the dominant car, but we got the job done.
     "We're trying to find some new speed for our cars, and it just takes a little bit of work."
    And, heck, Johnson is sitting pretty in the points as it is.
     Still, that T-bone by AJ Allmendinger (here's the video, with the impact 55 seconds in http://bit.ly/aXpaf7 ) made a dent. "I've never been in a position like that, where a car just came in...." Johnson said.
    "I've never had a car without brakes just hit me, and me not even know what was going on. 
     "I knew the caution was out, and I rolled into the corner and was getting ready to talk on the radio about what we needed for adjustments, and at the last second I saw a flash of green.
    "Then, before I knew it, I was trying to gather my thoughts and my breath and get the car out of the way and off the track."
     When Johnson got crashed out at Darlington some in the crowd actually cheered, as sick as that might seem, particularly given the violence of the hit.
    Jeff Burton was surprised: "My wife told me that the place went crazy when he wrecked.
     "It was a hard wreck...and she was like 'Golly, most people don't realize how hard that wreck was.'
    "It surprised her that people were cheering.
     "I don't care what sport you're in, people love to see the big dog go down.
     "He's one of those guys -- because of success -- that no one sits on the fence for long. You don't 'kinda' like Jimmie Johnson. You either really like him or you don't like him at all, because of the success he's had.
     "He hasn't done anything wrong.
     "He hasn't done anything to incite people to not what him to do well. His success has done that.
     "So when he does badly, there's a group of people who are going to cheer...and when he does great, there are people who are going to cheer."
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    Jeff Burton (R) talking with Jimmie Johnson (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)

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