Attorney: Mayfield can't find sponsor

Updated: July 11, 2009, 2:42 AM ET
By David Newton and Terry Blount | ESPN.com

JOLIET, Ill. -- Jeremy Mayfield was unable to secure sponsorship for Saturday's Lifelock 400 Sprint Cup race at Chicagoland Speedway and will not compete.

"Nobody is touching him," Mayfield's attorney, John Buric, said on Thursday. "He can't get anyone to offer him a ride, anybody to sponsor his ride.

"The more NASCAR makes an issue of this, the more difficult they make it for us and the more our damages escalate."

Mayfield also was unable to get the necessary finding to race in Daytona last weekend, and no other team will hire him to drive in the event.

Mayfield last Wednesday was issued a temporary injunction that lifted his suspension for failing NASCAR's substance-abuse policy. He was unable to obtain the necessary sponsorship for his No. 41 Toyota team to participate in last weekend's race at Daytona International Speedway as well.

NASCAR on Monday filed an appeal first with Judge Graham Mullen, who granted the injunction, and then with the 4th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals seeking to overturn the injunction. The governing body argued that Mayfield tested positive for methamphetamine and would present a danger to other drivers and fans if allowed to race.

Because Mayfield will not drive at Chicago, his attorneys were given until Wednesday to respond to the appeal.

On Friday, NASCAR said it's still analyzing Mayfield's latest drug test.

NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston says "the process" continues and declined further comment.

Buric says he did not expect to get the results Friday, adding he's "never too surprised when things take time."

On Thursday, Buric said he did not anticipate it being this difficult for Mayfield to resume racing after having his suspension lifted, adding he does not know if or when Mayfield will be able to secure sponsorship to race anytime soon.

"He just summarized that his efforts remain futile," Buric said.

"We did not expect that NASCAR would try so overtly to continue the negative press against Jeremy and to turn the sponsor world and owner world against him to the point nobody would come near him," Buric said. "I'm not saying they actually made phone calls to people. I'm not suggesting they are going to specific people and saying don't do this. I think the effect of their language is causing this."

Replied NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston: "NASCAR did this? Whatever happened to personal responsibility? Jeremy Mayfield is the one who tested positive for methamphetamines, he's the one who violated the substance abuse policy and he's the one that put the other competitors and fans at risk.

"NASCAR has an obligation to protect the sport. The judge's order is quite clear: 'Mr. Mayfield will have to comply with whatever drug-testing requirements are imposed right away on him, and continue to do so."

We did not expect that NASCAR would try so overtly to continue the negative press against Jeremy and to turn the sponsor world and owner world against him to the point nobody would come near him.

-- John Buric, attorney for Jeremy Mayfield

Buric revealed that Mayfield was tested twice Monday -- once at an independent laboratory and once at his North Carolina home by NASCAR -- and Buric remained upset that NASCAR "humiliated" his client by requesting a tester directly observe Mayfield submitting a urine sample at Mayfield's home. Buric said policy does not require a direct observance of a test unless the collector deems it is necessary, and there was nothing to warrant such a request.

"It was a joke," Buric said. "What they did to him was completely outrageous."

Buric also accused NASCAR of setting up the test in a manner that he said would allow the lab to pin a positive test on Mayfield without actually having him take the test, and allow NASCAR to suspend him again.

The attorney said notification of the test was left on Mayfield's voice mail, which he said could have been missed easily. He said once Mayfield got the message he was sent to a laboratory too far from his home to reasonably make it to the test in the time required.

After Mayfield became lost on his way to the lab, Buric sent him to another facility closer to his home to avoid the appearance he was avoiding the test. NASCAR refused to take the sample and the test eventually was taken at Mayfield's home.

Had Mayfield not agreed to be directly observed, the test could have been considered a positive one automatically.

"NASCAR could have called [its attorney] and said let's make arrangements to get this done so we don't have a circus around it," Buric said. "Instead of doing that they are, I think, trying to justify another suspension. That, I think, is their objective.

"That's NASCAR. 'I do whatever I want, whenever I want and, guess what, you can't do anything about it.' That's what they continue to do and I suspect they will continue to do that moving forward."

NASCAR officials, and the company which handles its testing, disagreed.

"The standard procedure for this type of testing is notification to an individual and no more than a 2-hour time lapse before the sample is collected," Dr. David Black, CEO of Aegis Sciences Corp., which runs NASCAR's program, told the Associated Press.

"When an individual has more than two hours, they have an opportunity to engage in behavior that can mask a sample," Black said, according to the AP. "When you are dealing with a seven-hour lag, there is a great opportunity for mischief."

"The litany of excuses and delay tactics he used to keep away from our testers was ridiculous," Poston said.

Buric said there is nothing he will pursue legally due to Monday's test, but added he expects the injunction to stand.

David Newton and Terry Blount cover NASCAR for ESPN.com. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

David Newton | email

ESPN Carolina Panthers reporter

Terry Blount

ESPN Seattle Seahawks reporter

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