A Look Back On The Racing Career Of Jeremy Mayfield

Jeremy Mayfield used to be a respected NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver.  Things have changed these days.  Let’s take a look at some of his brighter moments before he descended into his current pit of darkness.

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Jeremy Allen Mayfield (born May 27, 1969) is a NASCAR driver who competes in several NASCAR series. Mayfield drove the #41 All Sport Toyota Camry in the Sprint Cup Series for his own team, Mayfield Motorsports. Currently he and his team are unsponsored. Jeremy has run paint schemes for sponsors Big Red soda and SmallSponsor.com. On May 9, 2009, Mayfield was suspended indefinitely as both owner and driver by NASCAR following what NASCAR said was a positive test for methamphetamine.[1][2][3] A federal judge weighing the respective harms and evidence lifted the suspension temporarily on July 1, 2009. On July 15, 2009, it was revealed by NASCAR that Mayfield again tested positive for the second time of using methamphetamine. He allegedly failed a random drug test on July 6.[4] On July 24, a federal appeals court overturned the previous injunction Mayfield had been awarded, leaving him suspended from the sport again.

Career before NASCAR

Mayfield began racing in his hometown of Owensboro, racing BMX bicycles. He then proceeded to race go-karts at local short tracks, moving to Nashville Speedway USA at the age of 19. He soon went to work for Sadler Bros. Racing as a fabricator, and became their driver, winning Late Model Rookie of the Year at Kentucky Motor Speedway in 1987.
In 1993, he joined the ARCA series, and was named Rookie of the Year. He also made his Cup debut at the Mello Yello 500, starting 30th and finishing 29th in the #95 Ford Thunderbird sponsored by Mac Tools.

Early NASCAR career

In 1994, Mayfield declared he would run for NASCAR Winston Cup Series Rookie of the Year, and signed to drive the Sadler Bros.’ #95 Shoney’s Ford. He struggled heavily in ’95, and was released. He signed to drive the #02 for T.W. Taylor, sponsored by Children’s Miracle Network for four races before completing the year in the #98 Fingerhut Ford for Cale Yarborough. He ran 20 starts in his inaugural season, his best finish a 19th at Rockingham. In 1995, he stayed with Yarborough full-time with new sponsorship from RCA, and had an eighth place run at the Miller Genuine Draft 500, with a 31st place finish in the points standings after qualifying for 27 out of 31 races. The next season, he had two top-fives and earned his first career pole at the DieHard 500. Later that season, he was released and replaced John Andretti in the #37 Kmart/Little Caesar’s Ford owned by Michael Kranefuss. Mayfield ended the year 26th in points.

Late 1990s

1997 racecar

Mayfield returned to the Kranefuss team in 1997. He had eight top tens, including two fifth-place runs, and finished a then career-high 13th place in points. After the season, Kranefuss sold part of the team to Penske Racing South, and the team’s identity was switched, with a new number (#12) and new sponsor in Mobil 1. Mayfield took the points lead early in the season, and won his first career race at the Pocono 500. At the end of the season, he was seventh in points. He was unable to replicate his success in 1999, and dropped four spots in the standings, despite twelve top-tens. In 2000, he won four poles and two races. One of the poles, however, was at the DieHard 500, and the car was found to have violated the rules with an illegal fuel substance, and penalties resulted in the team earning -25 points from the race (his 126 points, earned by finishing 14th and leading a lap, were offset by the 151 point penalty NASCAR handed down). Later, while practicing for the Brickyard 400, he crashed hard into the wall. He suffered a concussion, and was forced to miss the next two races. He finished 24th in points that season.
He began 2001 with two consecutive third-place finishes, but his performance fell off, and was released after the Protection One 400. He sat out the rest of the season after signing a new deal.

 Recent years

In 2002, Mayfield signed to Evernham Motorsports, replacing Casey Atwood. In his first year, Mayfield had just four top-tens and finished 26th in points. He rebounded some in 2003, winning the pole at the Aaron’s 499 and posting 12 top-tens, finishing nineteenth in points. Finally in 2004, Mayfield returned to victory lane at the Chevy Rock and Roll 400 earning his team the 9th spot in the inaugural Chase for the Cup, and finished tenth in points. For a while, winning a race to get into the Chase was referred by the moniker “pulling a Jeremy Mayfield.”[5] In 2005, he won the GFS Marketplace 400, and finished ninth in the standings. In August 2006 he was released from Evernham after his team fell out of the top-35 in owner points, and replaced by Bill Elliott and then Elliott Sadler.
Mayfield signed a contract with Bill Davis Racing for 2007, driving the #36 Toyota Camry with primary sponsorship from 360 OTC. Associate sponsors included World Wrestling Entertainment, the TNT television network, and rock band Kiss.[6] He ran a total of 13 races for Bill Davis Racing in 32 attempts with a best finish of 22nd at Kansas Speedway. In August 2007, it was announced that Mayfield and Davis would part ways at the end of the season. Later in the season, he would take over driving the #66 Best Buy car for Haas CNC Racing starting with Atlanta 2007. Late in 2007, he and teammate Scott Riggs would switch rides with Mayfield ending up in the #70 car for the 2008 season.[7]

2008 racecar

Mayfield completed seven races in the #70 with a best finish of sixteenth before he was released from the team. He would complete one additional race at Dover in the #40 Target Dodge, filling in for the injured Dario Franchitti. He would start tenth and finished twenty-fifth.
In January 2009, Mayfield announced that he would attempt the full season in a self-owned Toyota, using the number 41. He raced his way into the Daytona 500. After 10 races in the 2009 season, Mayfield qualified for just 5. He would then have his substance abuse controversy that subsequently in most respects ended his racing career and as of July 16, 2009 Mayfield sold his race team and operations due to lack of sponsorship and the last remaining member of his crew resigning after all other members of the race team were laid off.
Jeremy Mayfield features in the video for “Drowning (Face Down)” by the band Saving Abel. [8]
Mayfield was working as a delivery person while waiting for word on his appeals.[9]

Controversies

Release from Evernham Motorsports

On August 8, 2006, Jeremy learned through NASCAR.com that he was not placed onto the entry list for Watkins Glen, instead replaced by former Evernham driver Bill Elliott. Discussions of a move to Bill Davis Racing by Mayfield in the past month or two before were initially given as a reason for Mayfield’s release, to make this transition sooner than later.[10] Evernham later confirmed that Mayfield had been released from his contract after making comments about Evernham not being at the track often. Mayfield later stated that the problems with the 19 car stemmed from lack of attention from the team owner due to a “close personal relationship” with developmental driver Erin Crocker. Mayfield stated that Evernham was not with the Cup cars most weeks because of the extensive attention that he was giving Crocker and her #98 truck team. Evernham later admitted that he was seriously involved in an affair with Crocker. Evernham and Crocker were later married in 2009.

Substance abuse violation

On May 9, 2009, Mayfield was suspended indefinitely by NASCAR for violating NASCAR’s substance abuse policy. Mayfield stated, “I believe that the combination of a prescribed medicine and an over the counter medicine reacted together and resulted in a positive drug test. My Doctor and I are working with both NASCAR consultant Dr. David Black and NASCAR to resolve this matter.” Mayfield Motorsports named former Hall of Fame Racing driver J.J. Yeley as interim driver and Jeremy’s wife Shana Mayfield as the interim owner.[11]
David Black, whose company oversees NASCAR’s testing program, disputed Mayfield’s claims, stating, “What we have is a clear violation of policy. In my many years of experience, I have never seen a violation like this due to the combination of over-the-counter or prescription products.” Owing to NASCAR policy, Dr. Black refused to specify the substance for which Mayfield tested positive, instead saying it was “a drug of concern.”
However, at the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race the week after his suspension, Mayfield publicly stated that he had only taken two tablets of Claritin-D, and that he had never used any sort of illegal drug. His wife and crew chief backed these claims. Afterwards, criticism of NASCAR’s testing policy became rampant, and several suggested that NASCAR’s secrecy over Mayfield’s results was politically motivated as to not smear the reputation of Claritin, who was a sponsor of Carl Edwards and NASCAR on Fox at the time. To this day, Mayfield refuses to enter NASCAR’s rehabilitation program, and has alluded to legal action against NASCAR.[12]
On June 9, ESPN.com stated that during the random drug screening on May 1 at Richmond International Raceway, Mayfield tested positive for methamphetamine.[13]
On July 1, 2009, US District Court Judge Graham Mullen granted a temporary injunction, lifting Mayfield’s suspension. Mullen concluded that the “likelihood of a false positive in this case is quite substantial.” In granting the injunction, Mullen ruled that the “harm to Mr. Mayfield significantly outweighs the harm to NASCAR”.[14]
However, even with the injunction, Mayfield was forced to sit out the 2009 Coke Zero 400 and 2009 Lifelock 400 for want of a sponsor.[15] Mayfield is now considering selling the team due to lack of funds.
On July 15, 2009, NASCAR stated that Mayfield had again tested positive for methamphetamine during testing on July 6, five days after his suspension was lifted. Mayfield’s stepmother, Lisa Mayfield, stated that she had seen him use methamphetamine many times since 1998. Mayfield has refuted these allegations. Despite two positive tests, Mayfield continues to deny ever using the drug, blaming the results on ingestion of the OTC drug Claritin D.[16] Additionally, Mayfield took a drug test 40 minutes after NASCAR’s, this time with an office not affiliated with NASCAR, and it was negative. A doctor from Florida stated that it was impossible for Mayfield to use the levels of methamphetamine NASCAR claimed he did, or else he would be dead or a chronic user.[17] According to an independent medical professional in Central Florida, the combination of medications cited by Mayfield has a 15% chance of a false positive being obtained.
A federal appeals court reversed Mayfield’s injunction on July 24, 2009. His suspension continues to this moment.
On May 18, 2010, a North Carolina state judge dismissed Mayfield’s claims on 6 grounds, including that by signing to drive for NASCAR, he dismissed his right to file a lawsuit against them, so his claims had no legal standing.
On April 22, 2011 five dogs owned by Mayfield attacked a female mail carrier who was carrying a package to the front porch. She received several scratches and bite marks on her legs. The dogs were quarantined and a decision has not been reached on what will happened to them or if charges will be made.
On November 2, 2011 – Jeremy Mayfield was charged with possession of Meth in Catawba County, NC

Other series

Jeremy Mayfield has 36 career NASCAR Nationwide Series starts. To date he has five top tens, his best finish being a fourth at Rockingham in 2003. He has also three Craftsman Truck Series starts, with a best finish of 6th at the 2003 Hardee’s 250 for Green Light Racing. After his release from Evernham in 2006, he drove for Billy Ballew Motorsports in a pair of truck races.

Source:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeremy_Mayfield

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BREAKING NEWS RE: JEREMY MAYFIELD

Mayfield arrested on meth charges: Authorities say NASCAR driver Jeremy Mayfield was arrested Tuesday night on drug charges. Mayfield was arrested in his home in the town of Catawba on possession of methamphetamine charges, according to the Catawba County Sheriff’s Office. Deputies had gone to Mayfield’s home to execute a search warrant on a tip there were stolen goods in the house. During the search, deputies found the methamphetamine. They also found items that may be stolen but deputies have not verified the items taken are in fact stolen property. Mayfield has a scheduled court appearance Wednesday morning. His is out of jail on a $3,000 bond.(WBTV)(11-2-2011)

Source: www.jayski.com

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This leaves me with one question.  Why would Mayfield throw away his good reputation just to use drugs?  Perhaps he thought he could get away with it.  Perhaps he wasn’t having as good a time in the sport as he wanted to so he turned to drugs for relief…that’s never a good reason to use those kinds of drugs.  Perhaps he had personal problems, who knows.  It is a shame that he chose to go down that road instead of leaving room for a possible rebound in his career.  Jeff Burton had a similar slump in his career and he was able to bounce back.  If Mayfield had just waited things out, perhaps he could still be racing with a good team.  Unfortunately Mayfield chose to use drugs to get away from his problems instead of working them out on the track (or off of it).  What we have here is a guy with a once respectable career that is now forced down to an all time low.

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