Right or wrong, Mayfield goes down swinging
Yet whether Mayfield proves guilty in the long run is inconsequential at this point in terms of him getting back on the race track. With two "faulty" drug tests under his belt, it will be nearly impossible to resurrect his team and get the sponsorship needed to compete. That point was driven home in the past 24 hours when the last remaining employee of Mayfield Motorsports, Inc.,
That leaves Jeremy Mayfield standing alone this morning in his fight to prove not one, but two drug tests were false. To do so, he must face not only damning testimony from a member of his own family, but also a case prepared by one of the best legal teams in the country, put together by the second-biggest sport in America.
It's a daunting mountain to climb, one that would scare the best of men into submission. But know this much: Jeremy Mayfield is not fearful. He's ready to fight.
"It's just like if somebody accuses you," he said Wednesday night on SIRIUS XM Radio in comparing his battle to a criminal act. "They say, 'Hey, man, you're going to jail.' They send you to jail and you've got to explain later how you're going to get out. [But] you're not going to take the fall for somebody else. You're going to stand up, be a man about it, and fight for what's right -- that's what I gotta do."
Taking that stance is nothing new for Mayfield, who has a history of being candid, regardless of the consequences. After four years at powerhouse Penske Racing in 2001, he openly criticized management, which he claimed seemed to favor teammate
One week later, he was fired for those comments, but his conscience was clear, his point was made. The rookie Newman finished second at Kansas, and the next year his part-time team was dissolved so he could slip into Mayfield's former ride in the No. 12 full-time -- which was just what Mayfield thought was being set up.
Fast forward to 2006. After two straight Chase for the Championship (think playoff) appearances with his new team at Evernham Motorsports, Mayfield saw his crew gutted in favor of his teammate, the more marketable, 20-something superstar
Filing a lawsuit in court that August, the driver let the cat out of the bag. He said what everyone in the garage had known for months but was too afraid to admit in public: the car owner was having an affair with his own driver,
That brings us to 2009. Mayfield was supposed to be a shining light this summer, after starting a self-owned team. In February, NASCAR CEO
"Someone who says, 'I didn't have the biggest budget but was still competitive,'" France said back then, "that would be a wonderful story to see unfold in 2009."
Mayfield was attempting to fit those criteria, making the Daytona 500 and qualifying for five of the first 11 races with his small-but-growing program before a drug test ended his season. Now, in the midst of the latest accusations, no man, no organization -- not even NASCAR -- will stop him from standing up for what he believes in.
"You know, Brian France out there talking about effective drug policy, it's kind of like
Kudos to NASCAR if it's right, and shame on Mayfield for jumping through this many hoops to hide a serious problem. But if the opposite proves to be true ... I hope the sport understands just how far this man will go to prove a point.