NASCAR driver flunks drug test

Mayfield is first to be suspended

Jeremy Mayfield, who drives a car he owns, was suspended indefinitely for using an undisclosed banned substance. Jeremy Mayfield, who drives a car he owns, was suspended indefinitely for using an undisclosed banned substance. (C.J. Driggers/Associated Press)
By Pete Iacobelli
Associated Press / May 10, 2009
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DARLINGTON, S.C. - Jeremy Mayfield was suspended indefinitely by NASCAR yesterday for failing a random drug test, becoming the first driver to violate a toughened new policy that went into effect this season.

Mayfield tested positive for a banned substance last weekend at Richmond International Raceway.

"In my case, I believe that the combination of a prescribed medicine and an over-the-counter medicine reacted together and resulted in a positive drug test," Mayfield said in a statement. "My doctor and I are working with both Dr. [David] Black and NASCAR to resolve this matter."

Black is the CEO of Aegis Sciences Corp. in Nashville, which runs NASCAR's testing program.

NASCAR spokesman Jim Hunter would not reveal what banned substance Mayfield used, but Hunter said it was not an alcohol-related offense.

"There is no place for substance abuse in our sport," Hunter said.

NASCAR also suspended two crew members for failed tests at Richmond.

Tony Martin, a crew member for the car John Andretti drove last weekend, and Ben Williams, a crew member for Matt Kenseth's Nationwide Series car, were both suspended indefinitely.

Mayfield, who is driving a car he owns, failed to qualify for last night's Sprint Cup race, the Southern 500 at Darlington Speedway.

NASCAR said Mayfield was randomly tested last Friday in Richmond. The Aegis lab discovered the positive "A" sample Tuesday and notified Mayfield. Two days later, the lab told NASCAR of the failed test.

Mayfield, who participated in both of Friday's practice sessions at Darlington, asked Friday for his backup "B" sample to be tested. That, too, came back positive, and he was told by Aegis officials yesterday afternoon.

Black said he spoke with Mayfield, who can return to NASCAR only after he completes a "path for reinstatement" that's tailored to each individual. The process, which can include rehabilitation, varies depending on the substance.

The suspension, which cannot be appealed, applies to Mayfield's roles as owner and driver of the No. 41 Toyota. Although the car can race next weekend at Lowe's Motor Speedway with another driver, Hunter said it cannot be entered with Mayfield as the owner.

The 39-year-old driver said in his statement that an interim owner and a temporary replacement driver would be announced early this week.

Mayfield, a two-time qualifier for the Chase for the championship, has five Cup victories in 433 career starts, but none since 2005 at Michigan. He entered the weekend 44th in the Cup standings.