Brody Jones · Thursday April 14, 2011
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Depending on one’s viewpoint, Jeremy Mayfield is either a misunderstood conspiracy victim or he’s an attention-seeking compulsive liar. There is no middle ground nowadays, with Mayfield’s seemingly endless crusade to clear his name from drug use forcing an opinion one way or the other. Nearing the two-year mark on his case, it’s had more bizarre twists and turns than a Saw movie since the NASCAR positive test that stirred up a racing nation in May, 2009. Mayfield has accused his stepmother, Lisa Mayfield, at one point of lying about his alleged methamphetamine usage and even accused her of allegedly murdering his father, which led at one point to a lawsuit filed by his former stepmother for slandering her name (later dropped). He has been involved in lawsuits with former lawyers and engine suppliers. He has claimed that NASCAR’s Brian France, while allegedly drinking scotch, called Mike Helton at the Indianapolis control tower and had him black-flagged in the 2006 Brickyard 400, a statement that France and even former team owner Ray Evernham have gone on record to dispute.
But the bizarre claims don’t end there. He’s also gone on record to say that NASCAR allegedly either fabricated the results of those drug tests or they should have been made aware of the chances of inaccurate results. And in the latest strange twist, Mayfield has claimed that NASCAR has allegedly edited his recent interview with SPEED Channel to make it look like he wasn’t really saying anything because he claimed NASCAR called the network and said if they aired all of what Mayfield allegedly said, the sport’s relationship with the network would be in serious jeopardy. With this latest twist, one has to wonder if Jeremy Mayfield might want to just throw in the towel because, let’s be realistic, race fans… even if he wins the case, his NASCAR career is basically over, for all intents and purposes. Mayfield has even admitted this fact. So why keep trying to buck City Hall, or in this case, NASCAR?
There are two schools of thought on the subject. Mayfield’s most ardent supporters have stood by him when so many have abandoned ship, and those supporters point to the tragic case of Tim Richmond, whom NASCAR admitted later on to tampering with his drug test for the 1988 Daytona Busch Clash. But what those fans need to realize is that in 1988, society did not know as much as they do now about the AIDS virus. There were very real concerns that Tim might be in a bloody accident and rescue workers could become infected as a result.
However, in this situation, Mayfield does not appear to be suffering from any debilitating diseases on the level of HIV or anything of that sort. He has tested positive for methamphetamines not once, but twice. He has claimed that taking Claritin and Adderall set off the positive test. Jon Wood, of the famous Wood Brothers family, was another driver that claimed to have a bad reaction to Adderall after a bizarre interview following an accident, which led to his eventual removal from his Busch Series ride and a one-way ticket to the land of “Where Are They Now?” But there has been some speculation that perhaps Wood was under the influence of some sort of substance that led to his removal from the car. While it was never formally proven that Wood was under the influence of any illegal substances, that speculation still exists to this day.
The other school of thought is that Mayfield is acting like a typical addict, with his rampant, bizarre denials and outright refusal to take any responsibility for what NASCAR claims that he has done. Those thoughts have only been strengthened with the same type of career-killing interviews that Charlie Sheen has become a laughing stock for. The only thing different is Mayfield hasn’t declared himself a “Vatican warlock assassin” with “tiger blood” and hasn’t claimed he’s “duh, winning!” his court case. It’s no secret that Mayfield’s public denials and twisted attempts to keep his court case in the limelight of NASCAR have hurt far more than it has helped him and it’s leaving NASCAR fans divided. On this other side of the fence, people wish that Mayfield, like Vanilla Ice, would just fade away into obscurity.
It seems as if Mayfield truly is damned if he keeps this case going, but he’s damned if he doesn’t as well. To keep pushing forward means he’s only going to further alienate the public unless dramatic revelations from NASCAR change their perception over the long-term. But if he doesn’t keep fighting, then it’s more or less an admission of guilt. So what do you do? It’s going to be a large, costly uphill battle to disprove the results of not one, but two failed drug tests. Mayfield will, in all likelihood, be black-balled from NASCAR when all the dust settles from this court case, so for race fans to hope he will one day make it back to the sport’s top level is rather misguided.
But at the end of the day, the majority of race fans are tired of this mess and just want to see this whole ugly debacle come to a merciful end. Both sides are at a major impasse at this stage; Mayfield maintains his innocence while NASCAR maintains his guilt. It’s a case where nobody wins; it’s just when faced with little upside, it’s Mayfield who loses more by not waving the white flag.
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