NASCAR Suspends Mayfield
By Jonathan Ingram | Senior Correspondent
Darlington, S.C. – Citing it’s zero tolerance policy, NASCAR suspended owner/driver Jeremy Mayfield indefinitely following the results of random tests administered at the outset of last weekend’s Sprint Cup event at Richmond.
“It’s all about safety and competition,” said Jim Hunter, vice president of communications for NASCAR. “A positive drug tests means suspension from all competition.”
Hunter ruled out alcohol as the banned substance found from a urine test administered Friday morning at Richmond. A back-up second sample was taken that same afternoon. It also showed the same results. Asked if Mayfield had been on track while under the influence of drugs, Hunter said, “I can’t answer that.”
The results of last week’s tests, said Hunter, were received at Darlington at noon on Saturday.
“Every driver has been tested at least once this year,” said Hunter of NASCAR’s new random testing policy. All drivers were tested prior to Daytona by NASCAR and teams tested all crew members. From four to eight drivers’ numbers are randomly chosen by a computer lottery for testing each weekend.
Dr. Robert Black directs the substance abuse program of NASCAR. Anyone suspended can apply for reinstatement to Dr. Black, who is in charge of any rehabilitation. But NASCAR officials, said Hunter, decide whether a competitor can be re-instated. “A path to come back into the sport is up to individuals,” said Hunter. Although Mayfield cannot participate as an owner, it’s possible for his team to continue.
Also suspended indefinitely were two crew members: Tony Martin, employed on the Sprint Cup team of Bob Jenkins, and Ben Williams, a crewman in the Nationwide Series.
Mayfield, who has competed in five races this year, attempted to qualify Friday for Saturday night’s race at Darlington, but was one of two drivers who failed to make the field. He has not run a full season since 2005, when he won one race for Ray Evernham Motorsports and competed in the Chase for the Championship, finishing ninth.
Mayfield’s owner/driver effort this year, spawned by a weak economy and a shortage of entrants in the Sprint Cup, consists mostly of volunteer crew members. After driving in eight races last year, his decision to compete in the Daytona 500 season opener was taken so late he’s not included in NASCAR’s media guide.