Racing still on Mayfield’s radar
Jeremy Mayfield is in the midst of perhaps the roughest patch of road he’s ever been on during or since storied racing career. However, the disgraced former NASCAR driver just may be on the homestretch of a comeback.
Mayfield told the News-Topic Tuesday in an exclusive interview he is talking with sponsors that want to see his driving talent in the headlines, instead of his legal woes. Mayfield, who is to appear in Caldwell County Superior Court today to answer to four felony larceny charges, says he just wants to put his troubles in the rearview mirror.
“My driving ability had nothing to do with all this,” Mayfield said by phone. “I’ve been working hard on getting back. I’ve been talking to sponsors and getting a lot of interest.
“They’ve seen this stuff before, and are not afraid to reach out to help a guy out if they’ve had problems. They realize nobody’s perfect.”
Mayfield, 42, was charged by Hudson Police in February 2011 with four counts of felony larceny after a year-long investigation. Police say Mayfield was seen in the early morning hours of Feb. 26, 2011 asleep in the cab of a tractor trailer at 2698 Hickory Blvd., the former home of Anderson Truck Lines. Police allege Mayfield stole thousands of dollars worth of furniture, and four trailers.
One week before he was indicted in Caldwell County, Mayfield was charged in Catawba County for three counts of possession of stolen goods and one count obstruction of justice. Just two weeks ago, Mooresville Police charged Mayfield with five counts of felony breaking and entering of tractor trailers and one count of subsequent felony larceny from alleged crimes that occurred in the latter part of 2010, according to the police department. He was also charged with two counts of felony breaking and entering and felony larceny from a building.
The multi-million dollar home he shared with his wife Shana was sold last year at auction for $1.725 million to pay off a bank debt.
Just 10 years ago, Mayfield was a promising NASCAR sprint cup driver. In 2002, Mayfield signed with Evernham Motorsports, replacing Casey Atwood. In his first year, Mayfield had four top-tens and finished 26th in points. In 2003, Mayfield won the pole at the Aaron’s 499 and posted 12 top-tens, finishing nineteenth in points. Finally in 2004, Mayfield returned to victory lane at the Chevy Rock and Roll 400 earning his team the 9th spot in the inaugural Chase for the Cup, and finished tenth in points.
In January 2009, Mayfield announced that he would attempt the full season in a Toyota for his own team, Mayfield Racing Enterprises. He even earned a coveted spot in the Daytona 500 that same year.. But the racing world would learn Mayfield was suspended from NASCAR because of a failed drug test. Mayfield claims the test result was a false positive for the prescription medication Adderall and the over-the-counter allergy medication Claritin D.
“I test positive two times out of all the drug tests I have taken over the years, and they take away my racing career from me, because one person doesn’t like me,” Mayfield said. “A driver can pretty much drink every day of the week, get drunk and black out. But you can’t take Adderall and Claritin D?”
He temporarily won a temporary injunction against NASCAR, but never raced before his suspension was reinstated by a U.S. Appeals Court. By July 2009, Mayfield had sold his race team and operations due to lack of sponsorship, and the last remaining member of his crew resigned after all other members of the race team were laid off.
In order to return to racing, Mayfield would have to go through NASCAR’s recovery program, beginning with a meeting with a substance abuse professional to determine how long a program and what type of program Mayfield would need. Driver J.J. Allmendinger was reinstated by NASCAR last year after completing its Road to Recovery program following a failed drug test in July of last year.
Mayfield says despite his uphill battle, he and Shana remain upbeat.
“Obviously, I need to move forward and get on with my life,” he said. “But we’re very happy, everything’s great.”