Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Mayfield To France: "I'd Like To Come Back"

Suspended driver Jeremy Mayfield inquired about a possible return to NASCAR last night, with an unexpected call to NASCAR CEO Brian France on Motor Racing Network’s "NASCAR Live" radio program.

Mayfield made an unsolicited and unscheduled call to the program, asking France, "if he's willing to accept the fact that I'd like to come back racing and if we could sit down and talk about it and figure out what we need to do to make that work."

France responded that Mayfield’s path back to the sport remains unchanged since his suspension for a failed drug test in May of 2009.

"Jeremy, you know the path back for you," replied France. "It's the path back for anybody. I've always hoped that you would choose the right path and not litigation… but that's up to you.”

Mayfield has been suspended from the sport since that failed 2009 drug test, eventually revealed to be for methamphetamine. Mayfield claimed the test result stemmed from a combination of the prescription drug Adderall – which he took to treat Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder – and the over-the-counter allergy medication Claritin-D. Spokespersons for NASCAR drug testing agent, Aegis Laboratories, insist that those medications could not have triggered such a result.

Mayfield subsequently filed suit against both NASCAR and Aegis for breach of contract, discrimination and defamation, saying they failed to follow government drug testing guidelines. He also accused NASCAR of intentionally “spiking” his urine sample in an effort to drive him out of the sport.

“I'm not going to lay down,” said Mayfield at the time. “I'm going to stand up for what's right. That's the way I am, and who I am.”
Mayfield also and implied that France is himself a drug user, saying, “France… talking about effective drug policy, is kind of like Al Capone talking about effective law enforcement.”

In May of 2012, after a series of rulings in NASCAR’s favor, U.S. District Court Judge Graham Mullen dismissed Mayfield’s claims outright, saying the former driver had failed to produce facts to support his allegations and had signed documents as part of his 2009 NASCAR license application agreeing to abide by the sanctioning body’s substance abuse policy, and waiving his right to sue.
Tuesday night, France extended an olive branch of sorts, telling Mayfield, "You have a welcome mat out anytime you want. There's a stated process that AJ Allmendinger just went through. We welcomed him back, and it's terrific. That's up to you."
Allmendinger was suspended by NASCAR after a failed substance abuse test on July 24 of last year. He admitted taking a single tablet of Adderall supplied by an acquaintance, and was reinstated in September, after completing the sanctioning body’s mandated “Road To Recovery” program.
Mayfield has repeatedly refused to enroll in that program, saying, “I don't need to go to rehab, because I don't have a problem." He did not indicate Tuesday whether he is now willing to participate.
Off the race track, Mayfield’s future is equally uncertain. He faces multiple felony charges – including possession of methamphetamine and possession of stolen property – in the aftermath of a November 2011 Sheriff’s Department raid on his then-North Carolina home. If convicted, he reportedly faces a maximum of 14 years in jail, but told reporters following a court hearing Monday that he would consider a plea bargain that allowed him to avoid jail time.
He and wife Shana filed for bankruptcy last year in an attempt to delay foreclosure on their home, after they defaulted on a $3.1 million mortgage from Carolina Farm Credit. They stopped making payments on the loan after Mayfield was suspended from NASCAR competition, with approximately $2.3 million in principal still owed. They eventually vacated the dwelling last year.


  1. Schreib11:50 AM

    I was totally shocked at the news of this when i heard about it on The Morning Drive. Mayfield HAS to know the road back to NASCAR, after everything that has occured in his case. Brian France was very professional in his response and handling of the call.In my opinion, im not sure how Jeremy would even remotely feel comfortable coming back amongst the organization and its people after all that went on.Its a long road ahead for him if he does, but with the extensive crop of young talent and perfected veterans in the sport, it may be a tougher battle to return than he thinks.

  2. Anonymous12:35 PM

    The first step is he has to admit to having a problem. If he doesnt then he should not be allowed to come back. Of course his return would also be hinged on the fact of if he is in jail

  3. Anonymous1:26 PM

    Doesn't Mayfield know that he CAN sit down and talk about it and work it out, In the Road to Recovery Program.

  4. Anonymous2:19 PM

    While I feel no sympathy towatds Mayfield due to the criminal charges, it was clear that Brian knew the question was coming because that was the most thoughtout answer that he has ever given in his life. All the allegations by Mayfield may be untrue, but I have no faith in the direction Brian has taken the sport since he took over.

    Jamie in NC

    1. Schreib4:06 PM

      Brian is a professional, and obviously trained to respond in situations such as this. His response was well versed, and in my opinion, he has done an excellent job with NASCAR. I dont understand how there can be naysayers in this awesome sport we love!