U.S. District Court Judge Graham Mullen has granted Jeremy Mayfield’s request for a preliminary injunction, a decision that forced NASCAR – at least for now -- to lift his indefinite suspension for testing positive for a banned substance, reportedly methamphetamines.
That ruling does not necessarily mean that Mayfield will take part in Saturday night’s Coke Zero 400 at Daytona. NASCAR is entitled to appeal the ruling to the U.S. Court of Appeals in Richmond, Va., though spokesman Ramsey Poston said NASCAR does not plan to appeal, and will abide by the judge's ruling.
The sanctioning body had argued that Mayfield is not guaranteed the right to compete as a driver, pointing out that Mayfield Motorsports has fielded cars for driver J.J. Yeley in Mayfield’s absence. In their words, "While (Mayfield has) not suffered, and will not suffer, any harm that could not be compensated through a monetary award, reversing the suspension would create a real and serious risk of injury or death to others.”
NASCAR also raised the spectre of Mayfield’s fellow drivers refusing to compete if he is on the track. “If other drivers refuse to race, it will harm the relationships that NASCAR has developed with its drivers, fans, sponsors and broadcasters over the last sixty years."
In his ruling, Judge Mullen said, "The harm to Mayfield substantially outweighs harm to NASCAR." He also ruled that Mayfield is subject to whatever drug testing NASCAR deems fit.
NASCAR’s Poston said Mayfield will be tested on a regular basis.