Jeremy Mayfield and NASCAR in Ultimate "Peeing" Contest, Literally
The "peeing" contest that has developed between NASCAR's sanctioning body and Cup driver Jeremy Mayfield has taken some dramatic turns, for the worse.
While the war of words has heightened and even more frightening, the war of the urine samples is practically out of control.
The saga began on May 9, when NASCAR suspended Mayfield for violation of its substance abuse policy. NASCAR claimed at that time that Mayfield failed a random drug test that was administered after the race in Richmond.
In spite of a gag order, the word leaked out that Mayfield had allegedly tested positive for methamphetamines.
Mayfield countered, saying that the positive drug test was a result of his use of an allergy medication, Claritin-D, combined with a prescription drug for attention deficit disorder, Adderall.
Mayfield next ramped up the "peeing" contest, suing NASCAR to get reinstated to race. Federal Judge Graham Mullen issued a temporary injunction just last week, effectively allowing Mayfield to return to the track.
While Mayfield and his wife, Shana, rejoiced at their "victory," it was NASCAR's turn to take the next shot. NASCAR moved to appeal the decision to temporarily lift Mayfield's suspension.
NASCAR argued that Judge Mullen did not consider the level of sophistication of NASCAR's laboratory testing. They also alleged that the high level of methamphetamine in Mayfield's system may indicate that he is a chronic user.
While awaiting the next court ruling, it was NASCAR's turn to take the next fateful step in the "peeing" contest. As per the court order, NASCAR invoked their right to randomly test Mayfield whenever and wherever they decided.
Mayfield was called by NASCAR at 1:18 PM on Monday of this week. He was advised that he had two hours, which is the normal time allotted, to get to a NASCAR-sanctioned lab and produce a urine sample for drug testing.
Producing this sample in the appropriate setting, however, was easier said than done. Mayfield alleged that he got lost, could not find the NASCAR-sanctioned lab and instead went to a non-NASCAR sanctioned lab, where he did produce his urine sample.
NASCAR volleyed back, with spokesman Ramsey Poston saying that Mayfield's delay indicated that he was unwilling to take the test, thereby avoiding the possible drug screen.
NASCAR further alleged that Mayfield may have delayed in order to purge his system of any tell-tale evidence of drug use.
In an exclusive interview with Marty Smith of ESPN, Mayfield lashed back at NASCAR, denying any drug use. Mayfield furiously countered NASCAR's allegation that he was trying to avoid the most recent required drug test.
Mayfield said that he was sent on a "wild goose chase", trying desperately to find the correct NASCAR-sanctioned lab.
Mayfield continued, "I wasn't running or hiding from anybody, because I don't have to."
NASCAR ratcheted up the "peeing" contest by requiring Mayfield to provide a urine sample to technicians and a NASCAR security official who went to Mayfield's home.
For this sample, NASCAR required Mayfield to pee in the cup with his pants down and shirt up, under direct observation by the technicians and security official to ensure the validity of the sample.
Mayfield complied, saying that he did not want to give NASCAR any opportunity to turn the table against him. He did, however, admit that the experience was absolutely "humiliating."
The results of this drug test could be available by Friday. If the test is positive, NASCAR will most likely allow their sanctioned laboratory to test the "B" sample, the second required sample, to ensure a totally accurate result.
Mayfield, however, advised he will take his lead from his attorney, Joe Buric. They will most likely argue that the "B" sample be tested by an independent laboratory, again to ensure accuracy and fairness.
While both sides await the drug test results, Mayfield and his team continue to fight to get back to racing. Unfortunately, they have not been able to find enough sponsorship to get back on the track.
Mayfield was unable to race at Daytona and his name was conspicuously absent from the entry list of this weekend's race at the Chicagoland Speedway.
In this ultimate "peeing" contest, NASCAR has suffered a negative impact, with the public attention focused not on racing but on the ongoing Mayfield drug saga.
NASCAR's drug policy has also come under scrutiny. NASCAR has been criticized by many for the lack of a list of banned substances, which has been confusing for drivers and teams attempting to comply with NASCAR's drug policies.
Mayfield, on the other hand, has also been severely impacted by this major league "peeing" contest. His team is in shambles and he cannot secure a sponsor to save his soul.
Meanwhile, many of Mayfield's peers on the track have expressed concerns about racing with him.
Court papers have shown that Mayfield has had to borrow money, sell assets and layoff staff at Mayfield Motorsports. Other vendors have also begun to file lawsuits against Mayfield, alleging that he owes them money.
Mayfield summed it up best, "Every time there's an action (by NASCAR), there's going to be a reaction. From here on out," said Mayfield.
Whatever side is taken, NASCAR's or Mayfield's, this "peeing" contest is most certainly not over yet. And there will no doubt be many more battles to come between Mayfield and NASCAR, locked together in the ultimate fight to this race's finish line.
By Mary Jo Buchanan
July 09, 2009