It was announced just yesterday that Jeremy Mayfield became the first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver to fail a random drug test. Mayfield was tested last weekend at Richmond, and faces indefinite suspension from NASCAR.
According to Mayfield, the reason he failed the test was because a prescription medication he was taking interacted wrongly with an over-the-counter medicine he was taking. With that said, Mayfield stated that he respects NASCAR’s judgement, but he will try to clear up the situation with them.
For Mayfield, this is just the latest chapter in a career that has gone downhill way too fast. Something many people forget is that, just 5 years ago, Mayfield had not even made the inaugural Chase for the Nextel Cup yet. That, along with his dramatic win in the Chase cut-off race at Richmond, was still to come. In 2005, Mayfield made the Chase yet again, becoming one of only seven drivers to make the hase in its first 2 years of existence.
But then, in 2006, Mayfield’s career fell apart. After team-owner Ray Evernham decided to swap pit crews on his and Kasey Kahne’s teams, along with adding a brand new team with driver Scott Riggs to the fleet, Mayfield was left with the scraps. This, along with the fact that Evernham was not showing up to the track and seemed pre-occupied with off-track affairs, prompted Mayfield to call out his team owner of 5 years, which resulted in his immediate termination.
Mayfield’s career seemed as if it would be resurrected when it was announced that Bill Davis Racing would be switching manufacturers, from Dodge to Toyota. Davis would also be starting a second team with what appeared to be a fast-growing sponsor, 360 OTC, and signing Mayfield as the driver of the #36 Toyota for the 2007 season. However, too many new elements and the lack of success that came from that resulted in the team’s folding, and Mayfield would be released halfway through the season.
Mayfield jumped on with Haas-Cnc Racing for the 2008 season, but 1/4 of the way through, the team fell apart once again. While many teams had forgotten that Mayfield was, just 3 years earlier, a Chase driver, Mayfield remained unemployed. Then, to begin the 2009 season, Mayfield started up his own team, Mayfield Motorsports, and successfully made the Daytona 500. His racing life thereafter was a struggle, and finally, just yesterday, it was announced that Mayfield had failed a random drug test.
I hope Mayfield’s statement is honest. For not fighting the situation, I have the utmost respect for Mayfield, just as I always have, and forgive him. However, a failed drug test is a failed drug test, and if NASCAR says that what Mayfield did was wrong, then he should be punished. Hopefully, because of the circumstances, they will let Mayfield off easy. However, if they don’t, I, like Mayfield, respect NASCAR’s judgement.
But for Jeremy Mayfield, his career is one that went downhill way too fast.