NASCAR suspends Chodora indefinitely

Updated: February 19, 2009, 6:27 PM ET
By David Newton | ESPN.com

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Pit crew member Paul Chodora of Jeremy Mayfield's No. 41 Sprint Cup team has been suspended indefinitely by NASCAR for violating the new substance abuse policy.

Chodora, who NASCAR confirmed was a member of Mayfield's team Thursday, is the first person to be punished under the policy that was amended last season to mandatory preseason testing and random testing throughout the season.

"Mayfield Motorsports respects the decision by NASCAR to indefinitely suspend Paul Chodora," Jeremy Mayfield said in a statement issued Thursday. "We as an organization appreciate NASCAR's drug testing policies and policing efforts as it makes the sport stronger overall. If Paul doesn't comply with NASCAR's reinstatement process, then he will no longer be an employee of Mayfield Motorsports."

Kevin Harvick fired two members of his Truck Series team that failed drug tests given by his organization, not NASCAR, prior to the season.

Mayfield's team was formed only a month ago and crew members were not all hired at the time of NASCAR's preseason testing in January. Chodora was given a license by the governing body to participate in Sunday's Daytona 500, then was tested and suspended after only a day and a half of work.

Chodora has served previously as a front tire changer with Johnny Sauter's team.

David Newton covers NASCAR for ESPN.com. He can be reached at dnewtonespn@aol.com.

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ESPN Carolina Panthers reporter