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Thursday, July 9, 2009

Bad directions or eluding testing? … The Jeremy Mayfield saga takes a silly turn

So Jeremy Mayfield, who is busy trying to keep his race team alive so he can get back to the track and enjoy his newfound freedom from suspension, had a little detour from his efforts when NASCAR gave him a buzz on Monday afternoon. According to the AP, they called Jeremy at 1:18 p.m., and told him to report for a drug test within 2 hours, the usual allowance for a test subject.

As I describe the following scenario that allegedly unfolded, picture Yakety Sax, the Benny Hill theme song, playing in the background. Because it is that silly.

NASCAR claims Mayfield said he had to speak to his attorney before reporting for the test … then said he couldn’t find the lab, so NASCAR sent him to another lab … then, at 3:45 p.m., called to say he was close but lost … then, at 5:30, his attorney said he had gone to an independent lab so they couldn’t say he didn’t get tested … then went home, where NASCAR testers showed up and weren’t allowed to enter for 10 minutes, then couldn’t get Mayfield to submit a sample for an hour … A man watched him pee, over Mayfield’s objection.

Now if that isn’t a ridiculous series of events, I don’t know what is. The song “I Don’t Like Mondays” took on a whole new meaning for everyone’s favorite embattled backmarker driver who was once a feel-good story back at Daytona.

NASCAR hinted that Mayfield’s actions were suspicious.
“The litany of excuses and delay tactics he used to keep away from our testers was ridiculous,” NASCAR’s Ramsey Poston said.

Mayfield’s lawyer offered an alternate tale. He said that NASCAR’s confusing instructions were the reason for the delays, and there was no stalling involved.
“He’s not a danger, and they have the right to test him anytime to find that out,” John Buric said. “In fact, they did test him on Monday night at his home. A group of people went to his home and watched him pee in a cup. It was humiliating.”

Dr. David Black, CEO of Aegis Sciences Corp., which runs NASCAR’s program, said that when someone has more than two hours before testing, they can do things to mask the results. He said the test sample collected Monday would come back by Friday.

From my perspective, the actions of Mayfield certainly aren’t helping his quest to find sponsorship for his racecar and get back on the track. Whether he was evasive or not, the fact is he should be doing everything perfect when it comes to testing if he is as innocent as he claims. As far as finding the lab, a GPS is only about $150 in most Best Buy stores, and I’m sure even Jeremy can afford one of them. This is no time to get cute.

At the same time, NASCAR is clearly being a bully here. They are treating him like a convicted criminal when it hasn’t even been determined whether the test that he failed was a false positive or not (and we may never know).

The key point in all of this is that everybody involved is looking bad. With his “bad directions” routine and waiting two hours to call back, Mayfield is looking more guilty than ever. When he first went to court, I said he was either telling the truth or crazy. At this point, I’d say it’s a toss-up.

But NASCAR is also coming across as a sore loser that wants to punish the guy who surprisingly beat them in court.
There’s no doubts Mayfield’s actions on Monday appear shady from a distance, but only he knows what actually happened. I’m very anxious to see what happens with the results of these latest tests.

If they come back positive, all bets are off. He’s a goner. If that happens, he’s clearly been lying all along and this is the last straw. He won’t be able to race at his local dirt track.

But if the tests are clean, NASCAR should avoid the pettiness of harassing him every other day just so they look tough on drugs. Let the court battle play out and leave him alone so he can do his best to get back on the track.


Anonymous non believer said...

How can you get lost in Catawba

July 9, 2009 at 1:48 PM 
Blogger 3KillerBs said...

My mom was in charge of safety at a trucking company and thus had to schedule the drivers' random tests.

They called them at random, gave them a testing location, and if they didn't show in 2 hours it was the same as a positive test.

That's federal guidelines and if Mayfield wants federal guidelines then its his turn to run afoul of them.

July 9, 2009 at 3:20 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's not exactly easy to find a lab around catawba county, musless get to one within 2 hours. Jeremy and I have several mutual friends, and thus, I know the location of his home. It would take AT LEAST 45 minutes to get to either Mooresville or Hickory to subit to a test, with good directions, and being ready to jump in the car and leave right then.

July 11, 2009 at 8:42 PM 

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