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Jeremy Mayfield: now in court and fighting for his racing career

Jeremy Mayfield: a decided underdog in this battle with NASCAR (Photo: Toyota Motorsports)


   By Mike Mulhern

    DOVER, Del.
    Fighting NASCAR is like fighting Mother Nature: You usually know the winner before the game even begins.
    So now, the curious case of Jeremy Mayfield, Take Three.
    Is Mayfield, suspended, now doomed to just a dusty chapter in the NASCAR history book…..or will Mayfield be back in a Sprint Cup car next week at Pocono, Pa.?
    That question may be answered Wednesday when Mayfield and his attorneys and NASCAR and its attorneys return to a Charlotte courtroom.
    NASCAR insists it is adamant about its position not to settle out of court with the high-profile racer, who has been running the Cup tour since 1993.
    The number of winners in a battle with NASCAR over the years can probably be counted on one hand.
    So the Vegas odds on Mayfield here, well, probably not good.
    The specific drug at question appears to be Adderall, which is an amphetamine mix, which can be legally prescribed for attention deficit disorder. Mayfield says in court papers that he was diagnosed with ADD in March of this year. And he says he has been taking prescribed Adderall XR once per day since March 30th. Mayfield also says he took two 10 mg Claritin-D tabs, for severe allergies, on Thursday April 30th, the day before the NASCAR test.
    One question: even if Mayfield is taking something like Adderall as legally and correctly prescribed by a doctor, does NASCAR have the right still to bar him from competition?
    Another question: does NASCAR have the right to know and question all legal medications any driver or crewman might be taking?
    NASCAR appears to be taking the stand that yes it does.
    NASCAR is also fighting the idea of being subject to injunctions in situations like this.
   However Mayfield and his attorneys are fighting the idea that some NASCAR decisions, like this, are unappealable within the sanctioning body.
    The Sprint Cup tour driver, a five-time tour winner, has been put on indefinite suspension by NASCAR for what the sanctioning body insists was a 'positive' test in a routine drug test at Richmond International Raceway four weeks ago.
   Mayfield and attorney Bill Diehl took the case to court in Charlotte Friday, asking for a temporary restraining order on the suspension so Mayfield can return to racing. The judge wants everyone back in court Wednesday for more debate.
   The judge agreed to a gag order in the 'substance abuse' debate, as requested by Diehl.
   Mayfield withdrew his team from this weekend's Autism Speaks 400 before appearing in court. It was unclear why that move was made. JJ Yeley has been running Mayfield's car. Mayfield is one of the sport's few owner-drivers, running on a limited budget.
   To point up the gravity of this legal debate, NASCAR president Mike Helton was in the Charlotte courtroom Friday.
   Mayfield says his 'positive' drug test at Richmond earlier this month was the result of an unintended interaction between over-the-counter Claritin-D (with sinus-clearing pseudoephedrine) and a prescribed drug.
   NASCAR's medical specialist refutes that claim by Mayfield.
   Mayfield's lawyers told the court that NASCAR told Mayfield it was amphetamine, a stimulant.
   Mayfield's lawyers told the court Mayfield has been taking Adderall, a legal prescription drug, for attention deficit disorder.
   Mayfield's attorneys want the NASCAR Richmond test results thrown out and want him to be tested again. And they made arguments about the specific testing procedures involved, raising questions about whether Mayfield ever did give NASCAR the okay to test his Richmond 'B' sample. His attorneys say Mayfield was not told that he had the right to have that 'B' tested at another lab of his own chosing.
    NASCAR said in its May 9th suspension announcement that when it told Mayfield his 'A' sample had tested 'positive' that Mayfield told them to test the 'B' sample, which comes from the same original urine sample.
   Now it appears that Mayfield's attorneys may be questioning whether or not Mayfield did indeed give that okay.
   One part of that issue would be that now that both the 'A' and 'B' samples have been opened, and seals broken, there is no clear sample for an independent lab to test. Hence, Mayfield would have to take another drug test.
   However, if Mayfield were still taking that medication, it would show up again, most likely, just as at Richmond.
   And where would we all be then?
   Stay tuned.


I'm betting NASCAR is going

I'm betting NASCAR is going to subpoena his complete medical records regarding the prescription and they'll challenge its legitimacy. Produce the brain scan or else...

and I'm betting Bill Diehl

and I'm betting Bill Diehl is going to subpoena everyone in the sport who has anything to hide.....he'll go all the way back to the tim richmond thing, and certainly bring up the ron hornaday thing....at least Jeremy apparently had a real doctor making the call.....not that we shouldn't be laying all this out on the table, but I don't think NASCAR really wants to go down this path, or needs to go down this path. NASCAR has made the point. One question I have is if Mayfield does get the okay to run at Pocono, or Michigan or Loudon, what will the other drivers say? At least all the facts are out on the table now. That's good. Adderall. Well, NASCAR can make its play, and Jeremy can make his play. At least we all now know what the deal is.
At some point -- think Mauricia Grant -- you just pull the plug and go on down the road.

"One question I have is if

"One question I have is if Mayfield does get the okay to run at Pocono, or Michigan or Loudon, what will the other drivers say?"

There but by the grace of God go I.

I can think of one top-tier driver I believe was on antidepressants who voiced concerns about this episode.

Question #1 ... Did Mayfield

Question #1 ... Did Mayfield take drugs that would help him perform better?
Answer to that. Yes he did... he took drugs to make his sinuses better..
Question #2 ... Should NASCAR have suspended him for taking the 2 Combined drugs?
Answer to that.. No Plain and Simple... they should have sent him too their own Doctor or a Hospital to be re-tested ASAP and than go from there...
So when did it really become illegal to take drugs for a Medical Reason????
Im sure every other nascar driver has been seeing their own doctors since Mayfield got Suspended to make sure sure they are legal for what they can take...
Take note....Jeff Gordon just had some stuff done for his back problem....taking pain pills and pills for his back...watch out nascar if you go suspend him for that....im sure there would be a strike or something close too that or it would be called the "Gordon Cup" after they sued the pants off of nascar....
If Nascar wants to do a drug test so be it...that is a good thing. but do it within reason.... BUT Nascar i believe is getting a little bit out of hand on some of these small rules that they are enforcing. If Mike Helton was in the same Situtation im sure he would have done the same thing... Just as im sure most of the other NASCAR DRIVERS have already done too..

NASCAR is a OPEN SPORT not a PRIVATE CLUB .... Just say If i won 200 million in a lottery and wanted to Join, all i would have to do is pay for my License and im in the sport.... yes, granted i'm sure there's an exam or some small stuff involved here and there also.. And, yes, granted i would have to start at the bottom and work my way up just like every other nascar driver has had too do...

I really hope Mayfield Wins his Court Case against nascar... there was nothing done to his car to make it perform better than the other cars,, he didn't take Illegal drugs,, he took drugs for a MEDICAL REASON.

NASCAR has every right to

NASCAR has every right to protect the safety of the rest of the field from someone who is abusing prescribed medications or illicit drugs. That said, they should be trying to get to the bottom of what is going on here instead of sticking their heads in the sand. Mayfield may get his win in the courtroom, but NASCAR will take it out on him once he gets back in the garage.

If you remember the scene in "Days of Thunder" when Big John gives the lecture to Cole Trickle and Rowdy Burns. "You ever heard of a "Japanese Inspection?" Japanese Inspection, you see, when the Japs take in a load of lettuce they're not sure they wanna let in the country, why they'll just let it sit there on the dock 'til they get good and ready to look at, But then of course, it's all gone rotten... ain't nothing left to inspect. You see, lettuce is a perishable item... like you two monkeys. You trade paint one more time, you so much as touch, I'm gonna Black Flag the two of you, and tear apart your racecars for three-hundred laps. Then, if you pass inspection and you put your cars back together, I might let you back into the race."

This is what it will be like for Mayfield even if he gets justice in the courtroom.

jeremy's situation is a tough

jeremy's situation is a tough one for everyone. i understand the dilemma from nascar's standpoint...but there are too many murky areas in this situation for me to comfortable with how NASCAR is handling it. Look, this sport is a family, a very small, tight family, and Jeremy has been part of it since 1993. If NASCAR -- let's stop using 'NASCAR' and name names, Mike Helton and Brian France -- has an issue with Jeremy, or with mikemulhern.net or with fireballroberts, they can call us into the office (believe me, I've been there, and more than once) and talk it over. but the way this whole Mayfield thing went down, as best I can see it, is unsettling. Maybe they all know more than me. but I know Brian, I know Mike, I know Jeremy, I know the system. this thing just doesn't ring right.

Assuming for the sake of

Assuming for the sake of argument that NASCAR had some issue with Mayfield, why would Aegis risk its reputation and business to help NASCAR get back at Mayfield? Aegis has more to lose than gain by bending results to aid NASCAR.

It seems pretty clear to me that NASCAR's drug testing program must be on pretty sound ground since you guys in the media have made no effort to compare NASCAR's program to that of any other major racing series, like the IRL, F1, or NHRA, nor to that of any other major sport like the NFL, NBA, or MLB. Also it seems curious that apparently everyone in the world has heard about the suspension of Manny Ramirez except the NASCAR media.

One thing is absolutely clear - Mayfield did not tell the truth to the media and the public when he said that he was not told what he was alleged to have taken that resulted in his suspension. His lawsuit says he was told by a Dr. Aukerman on May 7th that he tested positive for amphetamines.

Prescription medicines can be misused just the same as illegal drugs. As I recall Brett Favre developed a dependency for pain killers.

At this point all that has been heard is mayfield's side of the story and only a part of NASCAR's response.

I don't know much at all

I don't know much at all about this Aegis bunch or Dr. Black. Never met him. Don't think NASCAR ever brought him to the track to meet the media (which I thought was odd, at Darlington, considering the gravity of the situation). But my people tell me there are some investigative reporters already checking out that operation and its NASCAR program.
NASCAR's drug testing program does look pretty solid to me, a lot of random testing, pre-season testing, testing of crewmen as well as drivers, anyone with a nascar license. But the lack of a precise list of banned medications is curious. Read the World Anti-doping Agency's prohibited list
Formula 1 adopted the WADA code in 2005, I believe, and I recall writing an article about that and the FIA back then, and about NASCAR deciding to generally ignore the WADA code in favor of its own policy then of testing 'upon suspicion.' Still don't know what NASCAR thinks about the WADA code and prohibited list.
Manny Ramirez? A lot of athletes in other sports get busted for stuff; just check out some of Juliet Macur's stuff on cycling in the New York Times over the years (even last week, in Italy, I believe). What has set NASCAR apart from other sports is its almost squeeky clean image, in most areas, an image NASCAR officials have worked very hard to cultivate and keep. Manny and his female hormone stuff, well, I wonder if that's illegal in NASCAR .
As far as 'telling the truth,' i think both sides have a few holes in what they've said to the media.
And who this Dr. Aukerman is, I have no idea.
Certainly anything can be misused; NASCAR busted Tim Richmond for too much Sudafed.
I don't know that we've heard enough of this whole story to draw any conclusions. But the court papers so far laid out seem pretty plausible and straightforward.
The bottom line, though, seems obvious: if Mayfield took Adderall as a legally prescribed medication, under a doctor's orders, does NASCAR have the right to bar him from competition? Would that be your conclusion here?
Myself, I am not happy with the way NASCAR is handling this; it could have used a little more finese. Which makes me wonder just what kind of statement NASCAR is trying to make: is Mayfield being considered 'expendible' as far as this sport is concerned, in order to make a point? If so, why? After all, in the Ron Hornaday case last fall, he was given the benefit of the doubt. (And I seem to remember NASCAR officials not being very happy with the way ESPN handled its coverage of that.)
I suspect there is a lot more to this case -- and to this entire drug policy thing -- than we've seen so far.
Whether NASCAR wants all that out, well, I don't know.

Richmond and Sudafed

My memory is slightly foggy after all these years, but in the Richmond case I seem to recall that there was no "B" sample to retest so Richmond had an independent lab re-sample and the second test came back clean. At that point (again going from memory here) NASCAR retracted their drug allegations but demanded that Richmond submit all his medical records to be reinstated to drive in the Clash. Richmond declined, and went home.

That incident, and the shady way it was handled, has severely hampered my faith in NASCAR's drug testing policy. I'm all for keeping the sport "clean", when I held a NASCAR license I know for a fact that I had to race against drivers who were taking amphetamines, cocaine, and alcohol within hours of racing. I've seen drivers taking illegal drugs between a heat and the feature so I know it's a problem on the Weekly Series level and more than one or two of those guys even have Cup starts since that time. The actions of NASCAR just make it hard to separate punitive actions from participants with legitimate problems.

I would think it would have

I would think it would have been learned from Michael Nifong that just because it is in a document filed in court does not mean it is true.

Ah, yes....but that's an odd

Ah, yes....but that's an odd comparison. Give me a little more explanation here.

Jeremy Mayfield

If you take at face value what was in Mayfield's court papers, there are some serious flaws with the testing system. And looking at NASCAR's program which was submitted in black and white, besides the fact that there are no drugs listed as to what is and isn't prohibited, there are some items which aren't clearly defined. Such as who is a NASCAR official? Are we talking about the guys in the white uniforms who monitor pit road activities or are we talking Brian France, Mike Helton, etc. or both? It also says any participants can be tested. So who is a participant? The guest flag waver? The folks in Victory Lane passing out the hats? The members of the media covering the race? There are more questions than answers all the way around.Once more info comes out, I think we'll know a little bit better about what's actually going on and which way the court battle will go as things progress. NASCAR will not get out of this unscathed, even if they should win. Mayfield's career and reputation have already been seriously damaged even if he should win.

We're following the Mayfield

We're following the Mayfield saga as best we can...and it's still very murky.
But here are some interesting comments from Travis Tygart, head of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency:

"I think (NASCAR's testing program) fails to meet some if not all factors on a list of effective policies.
"The (Mayfield case) is an example of what can go horribly wrong without an effective policy. At the end of the day, it's a terrible situation for clean drivers.
"With (Mayfield), you either have someone who got off on a technicality due to a poor policy or someone who was falsely accused, neither of which is fair or acceptable. Clean drivers and their owners ought to be very nervous given this policy and example.
"I'm glad NASCAR has a policy. A few years ago, they didn't. But maybe like others over time, they'll learn the lesson of having a bad one like this and take the necessary steps to make it good. Clean drivers deserve that."


Nascar, by having no banned drug list leaves its self open to ban anyone at any time for really any reason. That is same as the rule book policy and the standard "actions detrimental to racing" rule.

I thought Nascar banned TR not only for the meds in his system but because he would not turn over his medical records. He wasn't addicted, or intentionally abusing the cold medication, he was sick and dying from aids. IIRC he also filed a 20 million dollar lawsuit in 88 then died before it was ever able to go to court.

I think Jermey is in the right, and so is Nascar. Being the way Nascar has it's drug policy written, anyone can be suspended at anytime for really anything: high sugar level, too much caffeine etc. When you sign your papers for a Nascar license(or any governing body) you agree to play by their rules.

Jermey(if telling the truth) is right in he was taking a prescribed drug directed by a doctor. Nascar's open policy is unenforceable (or overly) without a specific list of banned drugs, and the limit of ppg for prescripion drugs.

either way this turns out, Nascar will wash it under the bridge and Jeremy's career is over as a driver.

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