NASCAR Suspends Jeremy Mayfield for Violation of Substance Abuse Policy

Mary Jo BuchananSenior Writer IMay 9, 2009

DARLINGTON, SC - MAY 08: Jeremy Mayfield, driver of the #41 Toyota, stands in the garage during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Southern 500 on May 8, 2009 at Darlington Raceway in Darlington, South Carolina.  (Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)

In an unprecedented move by NASCAR, Jeremy Mayfield was suspended for violation of the sport's substance abuse policy.

This is on the heels of the death of driver Kevin Grubb, who after strugging with the demons of addiction, was found dead in a hotel room from a self-inflicted gun shot wound.

Jim Utter of the Charlotte Observer broke the story that a Cup driver would be suspended immediately and indefinitely.  The announcement was made right before the start of the Southern 500 in Darlington.

Mayfield was found to have violated Sections 12-1, which is the typical actions detrimental to stock car racing and 7-5, which is the violation of the NASCAR substance abuse policy.

While other lower-level series drivers and team members have been suspended, this is the first Sprint Cup level driver ever to be suspended after the enactment of the sport's substance abuse policy.

NASCAR enacted the new, stronger substance abuse policy last fall.  Since then, random drug testing of drivers has occurred at every track.

The tougher policy was enacted in part because of one driver, Aaron Fike, who admitted he had used heroin even while driving in the Truck series.  Because of this, many drivers pushed NASCAR to enact a stricter policy for the safety of all drivers in the sport.

Last year, Ron Hornaday, Truck series driver for Kevin Harvick, Inc., announced that he had used testosterone for a medical issue.  Because of his condition, he was not punished for this abuse.

Several other team members were also involved in this suspension.  But Mayfield, who has been trying so hard to qualify for each and every race will no longer be able to participate in the sport that he has loved for so many years.