Woody: Jeremy Mayfield Case Is Heart-Breaking
Despite an onslaught of incriminating evidence over the last couple of years I had continued to hold onto hope that the drug-use accusations against Jeremy Mayfield were untrue.
I thought maybe a mistake had been made in the lab, or that people who claimed to know about Mayfield’s alleged problem were either mistaken or making it up because of some sort of personal motive.
I never believed that NASCAR would launch an unwarranted vendetta against a driver, but at the same time I couldn’t believe that the Jeremy Mayfield I knew – or thought I knew – could possibly be messing with drugs.
Looks like I was wrong.
According to credible reports, Mayfield was arrested Tuesday night at his home in North Carolina on charges of possession of methamphetamine. The reports said police were executing a search warrant based on a tip about stolen goods when the meth was discovered.
Mayfield in the past has been accused of using methamphetamine by NASCAR, resulting in his suspension from the sport. He had maintained his innocence despite all the evidence to the contrary, and vowed to fight the charges.
Now that fight is probably over. It’s time for Mayfield admit he has a problem and seek help.
I’ve known Mayfield for over 20 years, since he moved to Nashville from Owensboro, Ky. He was following in the footsteps of his hometown hero, Darrell Waltrip, who decades earlier moved from Owensboro to Nashville to pursue a racing career at Fairgrounds Speedway.
I was impressed by Jeremy from the first time I met him. He had an outgoing personality and was a tremendous talent on the track. He also had a strong work ethic. His first job was sweeping floors and doing odd jobs at Sadler Racing in return for getting a shot at an ARCA ride.
When Cale Yarborough hired him to drive his Cup car, Mayfield’s career took off. He went on to drive for a couple of top teams, did well, and seemed to be on track to join NASCAR’s elite.
Then, out of nowhere, came the drug accusations.
I didn’t believe them. I knew how hard Mayfield had worked and how much he had sacrificed to build his racing career. I couldn’t believe he would throw it all away. Sadly, however, that seems to be the case.
One summer I visited Owensboro to write a feature about Mayfield. I spent part of the day visiting with Jeremy’s mother who ran a local hardware store. I toured the racetrack where he began racing as a teenager. I went to his old high school. Everybody I talked to remarked about what a good, wholesome kid Mayfield was when he was growing up.
They all saw the same Jeremy that I’d seen – bright and personable, quick to laugh and smile, talented and determined on the track.
Despite all the revelations, I still believe that same Jeremy is there. But unfortunately there’s another side that we didn’t detect.
Hopefully Mayfield can conquer his terrible demons and get his life back. His racing career is over, but there’s much more at stake than losing a good racer. I don’t want to lose a good person as well.
– Larry Woody can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org Comments