Auto racing: Mayfield and NASCAR still feuding
By Jim Utter
CONCORD, N.C. — Suspended driver Jeremy Mayfield on Saturday night was asked to leave the infield area of Lowe’s Motor Speedway by NASCAR officials.
He left without incident.
Mayfield, who is under indefinite suspension by NASCAR for a violation of the sport’s substance abuse policy, stood atop a National Guard hospitality hauler near the infield tunnel entrance in Turn 3 watching his team compete in Saturday night’s Sprint Showdown, a preliminary event for the Sprint All-Star Race.
According to NASCAR rules for suspended drivers, Mayfield was not allowed in the infield area, officials said.
“No suspended driver or crew member is permitted in any area of the track where NASCAR business or responsibilities are conducted,” said NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston. “This includes, but not limited to, the garage, spotters stand, pit road, driver/owner lot and hospitality areas.
“There seems to have been a misunderstanding on Jeremy’s part. NASCAR officials spoke with him and he understands the rules of suspension and agreed to comply.”
In an interview with several reporters while he was in the infield, Mayfield claimed he took no illegal drugs and said he would not attend a drug rehabilitation program prescribed by NASCAR. Mayfield said he had not been told what substance caused his positive test.
“All NASCAR members who violate the policy, including Jeremy, are notified of the substance that caused the failure,” Poston said. “Jeremy was verbally informed of the substance on three occasions last week by NASCAR’s Medical Review Officer.
Mayfield was among three people—the other two were crew members—who were indefinitely suspended last weekend for violation of the substance abuse policy. All three had random tests administered during the race weekend at Richmond, Va.
As has been practice with its drug policy, NASCAR has not released the name of the substance for which Mayfield tested positive.
At a news conference at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway last weekend, Jim Hunter, NASCAR’s vice president of corporate communications, said the substance was not alcohol. “It was a substance banned by our policy but I would not personally characterize it as performance-enhancing,” he said.
In a statement released Saturday night by his team, Mayfield said he believed a combination of a prescribed medicine and an over-the-counter medicine “reacted together” to result in a positive test. He repeated that explanation Saturday at the track.