THIS STORY HAS BEEN FORMATTED FOR EASY PRINTING

Mayfield misses deadline

Driver’s absence raises questions

By Jenna Fryer
Associated Press / July 3, 2009
  • Email|
  • Print|
  • Reprints|
  • |
Text size +

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - Jeremy Mayfield missed the deadline to enter this weekend’s race after successfully fighting NASCAR to get back behind the wheel following a suspension for a failed random drug test.

His only hope for participating in tomorrow night’s race at Daytona International Speedway is as a relief driver, a change NASCAR must approve.

With that looking like a long shot and Mayfield yet to arrive, NASCAR questioned the need for the injunction.

“Jeremy and his legal team asked for a temporary injunction for emergency relief because it was necessary apparently to come compete here in Daytona,’’ a NASCAR spokesman said. “Apparently, he’s not here and it appears as if he’s not going to compete this weekend, which would raise some questions on how much of an emergency it really was.’’

As the cars fired their engines yesterday afternoon for the first practice session, the Mayfield watch ended roughly 24 hours after a federal judge lifted the indefinite suspension and cleared him to race.

Mayfield’s absence calmed at least one driver, who was admittedly uncomfortable driving against Mayfield now that NASCAR said he tested positive for methamphetamines in a urine sample collected May 1.

“A federal judge releasing someone to drive without clarifying everything, that’s not cool,’’ said Ryan Newman, one of the most vocal drivers about drug testing since Mayfield’s suspension. “People make mistakes. I hope the judge didn’t make one.’’

Mayfield sued NASCAR over the suspension, which covered his roles as owner and driver of the No. 41 Mayfield Motorsports Toyota.

On Wednesday, US District Court Judge Graham Mullen issued a temporary injunction based on the argument that NASCAR’s testing system is flawed.

Although Mayfield said after the ruling he intended to travel to Daytona, he wasn’t sure he’d be able to compete because of the short turnaround.

He’s admittedly cash-strapped, revealing in an affidavit last week that since his suspension he’s had to lay off 10 employees, borrow money from family, and sell personal assets to cover his living expenses.

Triad Racing Technologies also is suing Mayfield for more than $86,000 for parts, pieces, and chassis work he allegedly owes the company.

The outstanding balance would make it difficult for him to purchase a motor to use in the No. 41, and he also would have had to pay a $5,005 late entry fee to bring his own car to Daytona.

His other option was finding a team owner willing to give him a ride.