(Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Over the last few weeks, NASCAR has been in the news, for all the wrong reasons.
If you haven't heard by now, driver Jeremy Mayfield failed a drug test on May 1st, with the drug Methamphetamine found in his system. After the failed test was given to NASCAR, he was suspended for violating the sport's drug policy. He claimed that an allergy medicine caused the failed test, but NASCAR refused to budge.
Mayfield fought the suspension, and even was granted an injunction to race in the Coca-Cola Zero 400 at Daytona, but did not show, due to sponsorship troubles and not being on the list for entry.
Everything seemed to be on the right path again for Mayfield, until this past Thursday, when it was reported that he failed another test. It was also brought to light that Mayfield's stepmother, Lisa, claims to have seen him take the drug up to thirty times in the last seven years. In her written affidavit, she writes:
“Between 1998 and 2005, I am personally aware that Jeremy used methamphetamines often,” “I was concerned about his heavy use and talked to his father about it. I saw Jeremy use methamphetamine by snorting it up his nose at least 30 times during the 7 years I was around him. Jeremy used methamphetamine not only in my presence, but also when we were both in the presence of others.”
She also went on to say that at times, Mayfield would cook his own drugs, until the drug pseudoephedrine was taken off of the market, and it became hard for him to acquire the materials needed to create it.
Mayfield would also dispute that charge, and he released a statement, with some not too kind words for his stepmother:
“She don’t deserve the Mayfield name,” he said. “She’s hated me since my dad got killed because I won’t give her any money. She goes on the Internet and blogs lies about me and Shana (his wife) and everything you can imagine. She’s broke, and I guess she got NASCAR to give her some money.”
This is the type of story that you would normally hear in stick and ball sports like Football and Baseball, but one would never seem to think that you would hear it in the sport of Auto Racing. However, it's becoming an all too frequent story in NASCAR.
If you go back to 2007, NASCAR Craftsman, now Camping World, Truck Series and part-time Nationwide Series regular Aaron Fike was arrested on a substance abuse charge in a parking lot near Cincinnati, Ohio. Fike was given two years probation after he agreed to create a non-profit group called Racing Against Drugs. Fike, in an interview with ESPN in April 2008 admitted to using Heroin at the race track, and even on race days.
Then you also have the story of the now banned for life Shane Hmiel, who violated the drug policy three times in his career.
Gone are the days where you didn't have to worry about such a thing as drugs in NASCAR, as the times change, so does the sport. With drugs becoming more and more heavily available, anyone can get their hands on them.
We don't know the complete truth about Jeremy Mayfield yet, but we do know now that NASCAR, a sport in which you could call the cleanest sport of all, depending on how you look at it, now has a story to tell, just like Major League Baseball and the National Football League.