Race Weekend Central

What’s Vexing Vito: Smokin’ Weed or a Smoke Screen? Mayfield’s Suspension for Banned Substance Provides More Questions Than Answers

Editor’s Note: This column appears in our Frontstretch newsletter today. The biggest story to break in NASCAR over the last few days has been Jeremy Mayfield’s suspension for a positive test of a banned substance following the May 2nd race at Richmond. A subsequent follow up “B” test confirmed the original findings, causing the sport …

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Did You Notice? NASCAR’s Drug Mistake? (Not Mayfield’s), Keselowski Should Be Cup’s Top Rookie & Johnson Plays Dead

Did You Notice? That despite the rough economy, Darlington was closer than any track not named Daytona or Bristol to a sellout this season? I had a quick conversation with Track President Chris Browning yesterday, and he told me they came within 2,000 seats of that magic number – with daily ticket sales for the last three weeks far outpacing the numbers they had back in 2008. When you add in the large number of fans buying infield admission, the overall attendance for Darlington was about 63,000 in the stands and 9,000 in the infield for a total of 72,000. What an impressive turnout, especially considering the unemployment rate for South Carolina is up to a scary 11.2%.

Mirror Driving: Darlington on Steroids?, The Rookies Rally & NASCAR on Drugs

Jeremy Mayfield stated that his positive drug test was the result of a mix of legal prescription and over-the-counter drugs – in effect, a false positive. Did NASCAR do the right thing with its “suspend first, ask questions later” reaction, or should they have ordered and waited for a more complete toxicology test and report… even given that some tests may take several weeks before results are available?

Is Catching Mayfield Enough? NASCAR Should Have No Restraint When It Comes to Drug Testing

Just as Major League Baseball’s new era of drug policing caught perhaps its biggest name yet in Manny Ramirez, just last week NASCAR’s enhanced drug testing policy snared the most notable driver in recent memory for substance abuse in Jeremy Mayfield, a two-time Chase contender and current Sprint Cup owner. After the positive test was announced just prior to Saturday night’s race at Richmond, the veteran has been sidelined indefinitely and prevented from even associating his name with the No. 41 Toyota he’s driven since February.

Fan’s View: NASCAR’s Good Neighbor Policy – No Drugs Allowed

Drugs. Just hearing the word makes you sit up and look around, doesn’t it? This Saturday, at approximately 6 p.m., you could hear a pin drop when the announcement was made that a driver in the Sprint Cup Series had been suspended… because of drugs. NASCAR randomly tested Jeremy Mayfield after the Richmond race. He …

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5 Points to Ponder: 2009 Southern 500 at Darlington Edition

In the same week that Manny Ramirez was suspended 50 games by Major League Baseball for violating the sport’s substance abuse policy, NASCAR one-upped the stick-and-ball sport by suspending former NASCAR race winner Jeremy Mayfield indefinitely for the same violation. Mayfield claims that the combination of prescribed medication and an over the counter drug triggered the negative result; but in today’s era of positive tests in other sports and half-hearted and often bogus excuses, you have to take his with a grain of salt.

Bubble Breakdown: Jeremy Mayfield Dealt Death Blow While Non-Top 35 Teams Struggle

Just like Jeremy Mayfield’s test results, the Lady In Black wasn’t kind to everyone to tried to conquer her this weekend. While there were some great days for teams on the right side of the bubble, many of the cars outside it saw their bubble burst with wrecks or poor qualifying runs that hampered overall performance. As a result, while no one new moved into the Top 35 this week, some teams had a chance to put distance between themselves and the rest of the pack. To see which ones had the most success – and who’s still in danger – read on to see this week’s edition of the Bubble Breakdown.

The Big 6: Questions Answered After the 2009 Southern 500 at Darlington

After starting in the back, fighting an ill-handling car early and losing a lap when a caution flew while he was on pit road, Jimmie Johnson somehow got back on the lead lap, only to have more pit issues and a near meltdown when David Ragan got into him. Yet when the checkered flag flew, Johnson had a runner-up finish. Johnson and his team thrive on adversity, but this night was unbelievable. And if you think Johnson is unemotional, you weren’t listening to his team radio just before Ragan wrecked the first time. Most of it is unprintable, but unemotional, it was not.

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