Appeals court bans Mayfield again

Updated: July 24, 2009, 5:01 PM ET
Associated Press

INDIANAPOLIS -- Jeremy Mayfield is back under suspension for a failed random drug test after an appeals court ruled in NASCAR's favor Friday, issuing a stay on the injunction that gave the driver the right to return to the race track.

The one-page decision by the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals stands until NASCAR's full appeal can be heard.

Mayfield
Mayfield

NASCAR appealed to the Richmond, Va., court after a federal judge on July 1 lifted Mayfield's suspension based on the argument that the drug testing system was flawed.

U.S. District Court Judge Graham Mullen still has NASCAR's request before him to overturn his earlier decision based on its claim that Mayfield tested positive for methamphetamine a second time on July 6.

Mayfield was suspended May 9 for failing a random test done eight days earlier, and NASCAR has said he tested positive for methamphetamine. Mayfield has denied ever using the illegal drug.

He is not entered in Sunday's race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and has indicated he has no intention of returning to racing as he fights NASCAR. The last remaining employee at Mayfield Motorsports resigned last week, and Mayfield has not entered any events since Mullen's ruling.

"We are pleased with the 4th Circuit Court's ruling to reinstate NASCAR's suspension of Jeremy Mayfield," NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston said in a statement. "This is an important decision for NASCAR to make fair and equitable regulations for the safety of competitors and spectators at the track. We will continue to respectfully make our case for as long as the litigation continues."

John Buric, an attorney for Mayfield, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

NASCAR and Mayfield have been locked in a nasty battle since the initial suspension, and there have been multiple court filings by both sides as they've argued their position to Mullen. He agreed with Mayfield that the testing system was not fair because the driver was not allowed to take his backup "B" sample to an independent laboratory as a means of contesting his positive result.

Five days after the injunction was issued, NASCAR asked Mayfield to submit to another test, but it took him seven-plus hours to provide a sample. NASCAR presented evidence to Mullen last week showing Mayfield failed that July 6 test and accused him of intentionally delaying the testing process.

In addition, Mayfield's estranged former stepmother offered sworn testimony that she had witnessed the driver use methamphetamines at least 30 times and that he'd cooked the drug himself until it became too difficult to obtain the ingredients.

Mayfield angrily denied her accusations, and accused NASCAR of paying Lisa Mayfield to lie about him because she was angry he had not given her financial help since his father's 2007 death.

On Tuesday, Mayfield submitted evidence to the court that he'd passed a drug test at an independent lab less than an hour after NASCAR's July 6 test, and said those results are "consistent with my lifestyle as I have not and do not use or abuse methamphetamines.

"It is impossible for methamphetamine to be in my body as I have never consumed that substance," he wrote.

Dr. Harold Schueler of the Broward County (Fla.) Medical Examiner's Office, filed an affidavit on behalf of Mayfield that claimed the levels of methamphetamine in NASCAR's test are "astronomical" and "could be remotely accurate, unless Mr. Mayfield was deceased or a chronic abuser."


Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

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