Jeremy Mayfield's Fall from Grace: The Fastlane to the Courthouse

Connor KishContributor IIINovember 29, 2011

Mayfield during the 2009 Daytona 500 practice session
Mayfield during the 2009 Daytona 500 practice sessionChris Graythen/Getty Images

What could go wrong for one of NASCAR’s household names?

Jeremy Mayfield was in the midst of a start-up racing team venture in NASCAR’s premier series with his wife, Shana. The two formed Mayfield Motorsports Inc., (MMI) in January 2009, just one month before the Daytona 500.

Mayfield purchased a fleet of Toyota cars and the couple was on top of the world. Following a few rough years of driving for semi-back marker teams, the Mayfield’s decided to do it their way.

Building a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team is no drop in the bucket and no easy task, but the Mayfield’s were up for the challenge.

Their venture to build a company and qualify for the Daytona 500 was featured on ESPN and chronicled the daily lives of Jeremy and his mechanical crew who worked through nights building racecars.

It took a behind the scenes look at Shana Mayfield and her desperate search for sponsorship and financial backing to secure funding from the energy drink company, AllSport.

With the funding secure, the Mayfields purchased the remaining necessities and hit the road to Daytona. The start was ugly for the MMI team as Mayfield’s #41 Toyota Camry was dead last in all practice sessions. Hope was bleak for him qualifying into the race via the the Gatorade Duels placement races.

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Unfortunately for the team, Mayfield’s qualifying lap on Pole Day was nowhere near the top. But with hope at their back, the MMI team lined the grid for the Gatorade Duel qualifying race.

Jeremy and Shana Mayfield kiss following his win at Michigan in 2005
Jeremy and Shana Mayfield kiss following his win at Michigan in 2005Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Shana Mayfield stood directly behind the team pit box clenching her hands. The race progressed and Mayfield was in contention to make his way into the race.

They did it. MMI was in the 500. All said and done, a tearful Jeremy Mayfield gave an interview to SPEEDTV thanking his team, sponsors and his wife for their constant support. It was a win-win for the Mayfield’s—last place in the 500 is over $200,000.

Following the highs of Daytona came a struggle for the Mayfield’s and their race team. They began missing races consistently with no steady stream of income. They qualified for the race in Richmond, VA, which was encouraging, but not for long.

Mayfield was found in violation of NASCAR’s substance abuse policy when he tested positive for methamphetamine. He was indefinitely suspended from NASCAR. 

A number of lawsuits began with  Mayfield trying to clear his name.

His race team was dead in the water and his sponsors pulled out. The couple faced property liens, county sanctions and back taxes. The renovation on their Catawba North Carolina mansion was halted.

Life came to a stand still for the Mayfield’s, but still, some NASCAR fans came to think it was all a misunderstanding since Mayfield had claimed to have passed other drug tests. 

For the past year and a half, nothing has been heard from the Mayfield camp. Their lawsuit against NASCAR and the laboratory that provided the positive test is slowly progressing.

Mayfield's #41 AllSport Toyota Camry, before the suspension
Mayfield's #41 AllSport Toyota Camry, before the suspensionJohn Harrelson/Getty Images

But overhead shots had shown their 400+ acre property in disarray with weeds grown about the yard of their expensive home.

Then, in the early morning hours of November 2, 2011, a story broke. Multiple outlets reported that Jeremy Mayfield had been arrested at his Catawba property for possession of stolen property and possession of methamphetamine.

Catawba police seized over sixty rifles from the property and Mayfield would face a federal criminal charge.

Soon thereafter, things only got worse for the Mayfield’s as once again, a story broke detailing Jeremy’s theft of furniture and trucks from a North Carolina company.

Interested in following the Mayfield story, I sent a message on Twitter to Shana Mayfield, or @shanamayfield, asking for a comment regarding the incident. She said, “yes! but no way to do it in 140 characters!”

The fall from grace of Jeremy and Shana Mayfield is truly a sad one. Just a few years ago Jeremy was pulling the bump n’ run on Dale Earnhardt, Sr. coming off of turn three at Pocono. He was racing for the win at Richmond and qualifying for the Chase Sprint Cup Championship.

The Mayfield’s had a reality show on FX following their lives. Since then, they have exchanged their family, friends and fans for a life of legal battles in an attempt to clear their already ruined name.

If the Mayfield’s are truly interested in clearing their name they should probably stop suing everything that moves and instead attempt to get help for the issues in their lives.