The Frontstretch: Fanning the Flames: Mayfield's "Dangerous Precedent" May Serve To Benefit The Sport by Matt Taliaferro -- Thursday July 9, 2009

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Fanning the Flames: Mayfield's "Dangerous Precedent" May Serve To Benefit The Sport

NASCAR Fan Q & A · Matt Taliaferro · Thursday July 9, 2009


Anyone see where former U.S. Figure Skating champion Nicole Bobek was charged in a New Jersey court with conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine? (Anyone care?) Wonder if she’ll “follow the dangerous precedent” set forth by Jeremy Mayfield, his appeal, and the court’s subsequent injunction? Considering she’s been retired for awhile and already in jail, I guess she has no one to appeal to — besides the court itself.

All joking aside, I think we’re making a little much of the “dangerous precedent” theory. This is America, after all, where the judicial system is set up the way it is for a reason. If an individual in this sport or any other has been falsely accused or tries in vain to clear his or her name despite the fact they’re guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, let them challenge the system. In the end, it only stands to make the system stronger. Policies are improved, testing bolstered, regulations focused.

We may not know for a long while what the truth is in this instance, but it was only a matter of time before someone challenged the system — testing results have been challenged in every sport, regardless of how the policies differ. In the meantime, weaknesses have been exposed in the structure of a drug testing policy that is of paramount importance — weaknesses identified by a federal judge. The more the policy and procedure is questioned and dissected, the more thoroughly it can serve the sport going forward.

And before you give me a hard time about the figure skating thing, no, I don’t follow the sport. I do, however, read newspapers. And I’ve still got a little thing for Katarina Witt.

Give me a shout this week; here’s the link. As for this week, let’s start with something you all are still enjoying — the Hall of Fame debate …

Why is no one giving credence to the fact that many crew chiefs have been just as valuable in advancing and contributing to the sport as drivers, owners, and men like Bill France and Bill, Jr.?

Dale Inman guided The King to seven championships, and he’s not even mentioned in the list of 25? That’s like the Pro Football Hall of Fame not inducting Vince Lombardi in his first year of eligibility. Everyone associated with the sport should be considered. In my opinion, it shouldn’t be limited to only certain “types” of participants.
— Linda Wells, Detroit, MI

A: The first thing I’m gonna do is drag out that tired old cliché and go apples and oranges on ya for making the pro football/head coach and NASCAR/crew chief comparison. I see your point, Linda, but I’m not sold on that analogy or reasoning.

That said, and this is after a couple of weeks of digesting all the facts here (while attempting to not contradict myself from earlier columns), I’m of the opinion that the inaugural Hall of Fame class for any sport should include more than just five entrants. Since this particular sport has been alive and well for 61 years, I think it’d be best to use the first class as an “assumed class.”

What I mean by that is we have maybe 20 or 30 people that deserve to be in after all these years, so why limit the first group to just five? Expand this one class to 15 or 20 entrants, and you’ll have taken care of all the accepted names that will be in over the next 10 years anyway. Get the Petty/Earnhardt/France trio along with guys like Junior Johnson, Cale Yarborough, Bill France, Jr., Curtis Turner, David Pearson out of the way in one fell swoop so we can move along to those that merit debate.

I do like your thinking on Inman, Linda. There is something to be said for seven titles when you’re the guy supervising on a weekly basis. And thanks for a question that made me look at this issue from a different angle.

The inaugural Hall Of Fame class should induct more than just five nominees in order to take care of all the accepted names that will be in over the next 10 years.

I’ve read NASCAR’s press release on the 25 nominees for the Hall of Fame on It says that voting will be done by members of NASCAR, former drivers, crew chiefs, media, etc. and name the 25 nominees. My question centers on who, exactly, is doing the voting? Was that list ever released or was that kept secret, too, like NASCAR likes to do?
— Terri G.

A: The list was released back in April, Terri. It consists of the following nominating committee that drew up the list of 25 nominees:

Winston Kelley and Buz McKim from the NASCAR Hall of Fame. NASCAR representatives Brian France, Jim France, Paul Brooks, Mike Helton, Robin Pemberton, Jim Hunter, Jerry Cook and Ken Clapp. Track owners and operators Lesa Kennedy, Clay Campbell, Bruton Smith, Ed Clark, Tony George, Denis McGlynn, Doc Mattioli, Dale Pinilis, Tom Blackwell, Jim and Barbara Cromarty, and Jim Williams.

And a voting panel that, along with the aforementioned group, will narrow the field to five. The voting panel consists of:

Mike Accavitti, Rick Allen, Dusty Brandel, Kenny Bruce, Duane Cross, Barry Dodson, Edsel Ford III, Harry Gant, Barney Hall, Mike Harris, Tom Higgins, Ned Jarrett, Junior Johnson, Mike Joy, Dustin Long, Bud Moore, Cotton Owens, Buddy Parrott, Jim Pedley, Ed Peper, Jerry Punch, Doug Rice, Ricky Rudd, Nate Ryan, Ernie Saxton, Bill Weber, Humpy Wheeler, Lee White and Waddell Wilson.

Michael Waltrip Racing has come a long way in a short time, but do you think Martin Truex, Jr. made the right move in jumping from EGR to Waltrip? Seems like a lateral move to me. I think Truex has potential, so MWR scored.
— Shaun Jackson, MS

A: On the surface, the term “lateral” may seem appropriate, but I think Truex was thinking of his long-term viability in the sport. Let’s be honest here, there aren’t going to be many open seats for 2010. Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing — in the current economic environment, anyway — is looking more like a sinking ship than a lifeboat. I mean, didn’t those two groups have seven teams among them (not to mention the sport’s ultimate cash cow) just two years ago?

Anyway, in the press conference that introduced him as the new pilot of the No. 56 NAPA Toyota on Tuesday, Truex cited that he saw potential at MWR and an appealing environment. Both fair points. However, I can’t help but wonder if the security of a fully-funded car in one of the few organizations that isn’t in danger of dropping cars didn’t sway his thinking. The fact that Toyota isn’t filing for bankruptcy anytime soon didn’t hurt either, I’m sure. And let’s not overlook the improvement that organization has made in its two and half years of Cup existence.

MWR, in turn, got a super-marketable 29-year-old that should play the Felix Unger to Michael’s Oscar Madison to perfection. And Felix, err, Truex, has proven that when he’s in the right situation, he’s able to win a race or two and qualify for the Chase.

In short, a solid move for both MWR and Truex … although he would’ve fit the mold of a third Stewart-Haas pilot to a tee. That third car, though, does not yet exist.

Matt, we’re going to Chicago and camping for the race this week, and I wondered about Route 66 Raceway. I haven’t been able to get information on whether they are running there this week. We will be there on Thursday afternoon. Any racing at the half-mile to fill the gaps?
— Steve Harden, Indy

A: Sorry bud. The half-mile dirt track at Route 66 isn’t running again until July 25th. Looks like it’s horseshoes and grillin’ for you instead. And that’s not a bad thing.

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07/09/2009 08:37 AM

Expanding on the non-driver nominees for the HOF…Dale Inman , Leonard Wood , Smokey Yunick , Holman-Moody , Banjo Mathews , Ray Fox , Cotton Owens , and that just scratches the surface .
Thank you to Mr. Mayfield for standing up for yourself . Maybe the school bully isn’t as big and bad as he thinks .

07/09/2009 08:45 AM

How easy we, the American public, can be “diverted” from the REAL issues of FAN SAFETY & DRIVER SAFETY!

NA$CRAP wants to, and is trying their best, to portray Mayfield as a DANGER TO THE OTHER DRIVERS AND THE FANS!

Now, sports fans, bear with me here, and think!! PLEASE?

Ask yourself this basic question???

Is a SINGLE “impaired” driver inherently, or potentially more inherently DANGEROUS, than racing that sick machine called the CoT with the infamous RESTRICTOR PLATE, 43 of them, count em’, at Talladega & Daytona?

Think about it! In ALL recent years “events”, at either track, there have been crashes of 12+ cars , a multitude of times, even to the point of pieces of cars getting into the stands injuring spectators!

It is “THE NORM”!

So, if NA$CRAP REALLY wanted to protect drivers and fans alike, and I mean REALLY PROTECT THEM, the emphasis would be on the tracks and the cars, not pursuing in public a SINGLE DRIVER! (don’t get me wrong, drugs are bad, very bad) but the time end energy spent trying to “protect the sport” as far a safety, should really be spent on what historically has endangered fans and drivers alike! Every race, multiple car crashes, every race (particularly Dayton & Talladega)!

So? On prioritized scale,
the protecting of the fans and drivers it is the CoT & restrictor plates that should be getting the attention!

Yet another NA$CRAP sleight of hand!

Don’t fall for it! Stay away from NA$CRAP, at least as long as King Brian is involved.

Some headlines state “Mayfield is drug impaired”, the headline should say “Brian Farce is mentally impaired”!

07/09/2009 08:51 AM

Brian will probably vote for himself. They should have taken 3-5 from each decade up until 2000 for the first class in the hall.

07/09/2009 04:58 PM

And so it begins
Judge blocks suspension of 2 Viking.

One point to remember with urine testing for drugs. That is the elimination step. Person might not be still under the influence of the drug at the time of the test. They could have been under the influence the day before while driving on the road while your child was riding their bike. Or even 30 days before if using pot. It is not the drivers on the race track I fear for.

Matt T. --
07/09/2009 05:31 PM

And an addendum:

Jeremy, for the love of God, when NASCAR asks you to take a drug test, please, please show up within the two-hour window! What’s with the seven hour crap?? You’re making the case easy for them…

07/09/2009 06:24 PM

Hey Matt, ya know?

RE: showing up for drug test! ON TIME!

Are we sure this happened, or did not happen? Are we “trusting” NA$CRAP on this?

That would be a laugh for sure!

I simply BELIEVE NOTHING NA$CRAP says or publishes!

Something fishy about this whole scenario!

Oh sure, with all the (bad) publicity and the public whipping Jeremy is taking, he is going to play games when it comes to showing up for a drug test!

Yeh! Right!

Or does NA$CRAP have a shadow on Jeremy and so can call him at the most inconvenient time!

What are the circumstances? I, as you, sure hope Jeremey has a good answer! (at least I hope you agree)

Matt T.
07/09/2009 07:18 PM

Wish I had an answer for ya, Douglas. Marty Smith has Jeremy’s take, though. At least we get his side of the story on this one.

07/09/2009 07:33 PM

Why does everyone make NASCAR to be the bad guy in this? Mayfields samples were tested 4 times and then he was asked to report in two hours to a test he never showed up to and made excuses as to why he didn’t! He didn’t want to get tested! He waited a long time and then showed up at some place set up by his lawyer!! Um, don’t you think that points to some fishy business on Mayfields part. He was trying to avoid getting test within the two hours required! Folks, the writing is on the wall and NASCAR is trying to keep the sport as safe as possible for the folks who compete and the fans! Stop making NASCAR out as the badguys!

07/09/2009 09:28 PM

Hey “NASCAR Fan”! Are you kidding?

Where do you get your information from? NA$CRAP?

How silly!

Here are some of the “facts” as stated by Brian Farce himself at a recent press conference:

1. King Farce stated that “plenty” of drug test have been failed! BUT NA$CRAP has written into their testing “flexibility” on how and when to handle the individuals involved in the “failed” tests!

Please note he actually said “plenty”!

(my take is that Jr. failed, no actions taken, another driver “fails” (mmm, fails what?), CRUCIFIXION! Why? his name is not Jr. JJ, JG.

True “flexibility”, just like all the other rules they change and ignore depending on whom and who!

2. King Farce went on to state also that no, they have not supplied the “complete” list of banned substances! Again why? Glad you asked!

So NA$CRAP can continue to be vague about what is legal, and what is illegal, again, for “flexibility”!

3. King Farce has stated many times, that they, NA$CRAP are only interested in driver safety, and safety for the fans that attend these event!

If this is indeed the case, why do they continually turn loose on the high-banks of Daytona & Talladega, 43 cars (I don’t dare refer to them as race cars, they ain’t no such thing)
of the CoT design using restrictor plates? MMMM, how about calling them “WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION”? A fitting title, right?

At each and EVERY such race, major multiple car pileups have occurred, a minimum of two per race, each exceeding 12 cars wrecked, WITH PIECES OF CARS GETTING INTO THE STAND WHERE THE SPECTATORS ARE! and spectators indeed being injured!

So, knowing the fact that these pileups endanger spectators and drivers alike, race, after race, after race, why would not NA$CRAP’S priority be on solving this continuing problem guaranteed to happen at every restrictor plate race!

Is NA$CRAP “REALLY” interested in driver/spectator safety?

In closing, your “Folks, the writing is on the wall and NASCAR is trying to keep the sport as safe as possible for the folks who compete and the fans”??

I again must ask???


07/09/2009 11:22 PM

Regarding Jeremy, I only have 5 for for NASCAR and I pray that they come to pass;

Richard in N.C.
07/15/2009 01:40 AM

Check out Mayfield’s statement and actions when one of his crewmen was among the very first to fail a drug test this year – and then was fired by Mayfield as a result.


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