NASCAR driver tests positive for methamphetamines

Jeremy Mayfield
Jeremy Mayfield

NASCAR driver Jeremy Mayfield, left, arrives at the Federal Courthouse in Charlotte, N.C., Wednesday, July 1, 2009. Mayfield is in court trying to get his indefinite suspension from NASCAR lifted by a federal judge.

Chuck Burton/The Associated Press
Published: Wednesday, July 1, 2009 at 12:38 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, July 1, 2009 at 12:38 p.m.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. NASCAR confirmed Wednesday that suspended driver Jeremy Mayfield tested positive for methamphetamines.

The confirmation came outside federal court after Mayfield's attorney mentioned the illegal substance several times during a 45-minute argument against the driver's indefinite suspension. Court recessed after Bill Diehl's argument and is set to reconvene Wednesday afternoon.

"We will prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that Jeremy Mayfield did violate the NASCAR substance abuse policy and tested positive for methamphetamines," spokesman Ramsey Poston said.

Diehl argued in court that Mayfield has never shown any characteristics of a meth abuser.

"His teeth were never rotting out, his eyes were not sunken," Diehl said. "He never displayed any characteristics that are commonly seen by everyone among people who use meth."

In an affidavit filed last week, Mayfield denied ever using methamphetamines and said he didn't know how he failed a random drug test taken May 1. He was suspended eight days later after his backup "B'' sample also came back positive for a banned substance.

Previously, NASCAR had refused to disclose what substance Mayfield tested positive for, and blacked out the name of the drug in all court filings leading up to Wednesday's hearing.

Mayfield has blamed his positive test result on the combination of Adderall for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, and Claritin-D for allergies, an explanation repeatedly debunked by NASCAR's program administrator.

Mayfield is challenging the validity of NASCAR's testing system, and Diehl argued it's flawed because Mayfield never had the opportunity to get his backup "B'' sample tested by an independent laboratory. Nashville, Tenn.-based Aegis Sciences Corp., which runs NASCAR's testing program, tested both of Mayfield's samples.

Diehl argued that federal guidelines allow an individual a 72-hour window to have an independent lab analyze a sealed backup sample. He said that when Aegis tested the backup "B'' sample two days after the "A'' sample came back positive, Mayfield lost any opportunity to challenge the results because the seal had been broken on the second sample.

He also condemned NASCAR for acting as if its policies are above federal guidelines.

"They say 'We're not bound by anything. We're NASCAR. We can do what we want to do,'" Diehl said.

Diehl wants U.S. District Court Judge Graham Mullen to reinstate Mayfield on Wednesday in time to travel to this weekend's race at Daytona International Speedway. He said NASCAR would not be harmed by Mayfield racing this weekend, and the sanctioning body can drug test Mayfield every day going forward.

"Independence Day for Jeremy ought to be today," Diehl told Mullen, noting that Saturday night's race falls on the holiday.

Mayfield indicated outside court he will go to Daytona if he's reinstated, but he was not clear in what capacity. He owns his own low-budget team, but said in court documents last week that he's had to lay off 10 employees, borrow money from family and sell personal assets to meet his living expenses.

"I want to drive and would love to be there driving," he said. "But obviously it's late in the week. But we'll definitely be there."

Ownership of the No. 41 Toyota was transferred to his wife, Shana, following his suspension, but she cited financial reasons in not sending the team to the past five races. The team used J.J. Yeley in the first two races following Mayfield's suspension.

Mullen advised the court he would recess after 75 minutes because he had a funeral to attend and said he'd hear NASCAR when he returned.

"What Bill Diehl proved today is that he has a remarkably vivid imagination in terms of what the procedures are," Poston said. "NASCAR followed all its procedures. The samples are pristine, and this afternoon when we have the opportunity to speak to the judge."

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