Mayfield aims for Chicago return
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Jeremy Mayfield said Saturday he is doing "everything in our power" to bring his No. 41 Sprint Cup team to Chicagoland Speedway next week.
Mayfield planned to be at Daytona International Speedway for Saturday night's race even though he was unable to get his own car ready or drive for another team in the 24 hours after he received on Wednesday a temporary injunction to lift his indefinite suspension for violating NASCAR's substance abuse policy.
"We've decided that our time is best spent back here in North Carolina working around the clock to try and secure the funding needed to get the 41 car to Chicago and beyond," Mayfield said in a statement.
Mayfield, who tested positive for methamphetamines in a random drug test taken on May 1, emailed a statement addressed "To All My Fans, Friends and Fellow Competitors."
He said the media circus created in Daytona around his potential arrival at the track "is the last thing Shana [his wife] or I want for anybody."
NASCAR officials have questioned whether Mayfield was sincere about needing what they described as an "emergency" injunction to get back on the track for financial reasons.
Mayfield said the lack of funding and time -- the judgment by federal judge Graham Mullen was passed around 3 p.m. on Wednesday and the deadline for having a car at Daytona was 3 p.m. on Thursday -- kept him away.
He previously claimed in an affidavit that the suspension has cost him sponsorship and forced him to lay off 10 employees. He also said he and Shana have had to sell personal assets to survive.
"This weekend shouldn't be about a questionable drug test or a flawed drug testing system," Mayfield said. "It should be about celebrating our country, the greatest country in the world."
Even if Mayfield gets a car ready for Chicago he could be kept off the track if NASCAR files and wins an appeal. Chairman Brian France said on Friday at Daytona that the governing body is looking at all avenues.
The first would be to appeal to Mullen, who likely would not overturn his own decision. The next step would be the circuit court of appeals.
"Wednesday's ruling by Judge Mullen was a giant step toward clearing my name and getting the 41 car back on the track," Mayfield said. "Our hope was to bring our team to Daytona this week to qualify and race in the Coke Zero 400. For those who know me well, there is nothing in the world that I would rather do that race for you all on the 4th of July."
Mayfield's attorneys contend that the positive test was the result of combining Claritin-D for allergies with Adderall prescribed for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.
Dr. David Black of Aegis Laboratory that runs NASCAR's test program said that is not possible. NASCAR has since sent Mayfield's "A" and "B" samples to another laboratory that supported Aegis' results.
Mayfield's attorneys argue that the samples have been compromised because the seal was broken for initial tests.
"First and foremost, Shana and I want to thank all of you who have supported us," Mayfield began in his statement. "To say that the last two months have been two of the worst months of my entire life is an understatement. The only event I can think of that brought me even greater pain was the loss of my father in 2007."
David Newton covers NASCAR for ESPN.com. He can be reached at email@example.com.
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