Mayfield Fails Nascar Drug Test - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Mayfield Fails Nascar Drug Test

DARLINGTON, S.C. (AP) - Jeremy Mayfield was suspended

indefinitely by NASCAR on Saturday for failing a random drug test,

becoming the first driver to violate a toughened new policy that

went into effect this season.

Mayfield tested positive for a banned substance last weekend at

Richmond International Raceway. NASCAR spokesman Jim Hunter would

not reveal what banned substance Mayfield used, but Hunter said it

was not an alcohol-related offense.

"There is no place for substance abuse in our sport," Hunter

said.

NASCAR also suspended two crew members for failed tests at

Richmond.

Tony Martin, a crew member for the car John Andretti drove last

weekend at Richmond, and Ben Williams, a crew member for the

Nationwide Series car Matt Kenseth drove last weekend, were both

suspended indefinitely.

Mayfield, who is driving a car this season he owns himself,

failed to qualify for Saturday night's Sprint Cup race at

Darlington Speedway.

He did not immediately return a voice mail message left on his

cell phone Saturday by The Associated Press.

The suspension applies to Mayfield's roles as owner and driver

of the No. 41 Toyota. Although the car can race next week at Lowe's

Motor Speedway with another driver, Hunter said it cannot be

entered with Mayfield as the owner.

Just days after the Daytona 500, one of Mayfield's crew members

became the first person punished under NASCAR's new drug policy for

a failed test. Mayfield fired Paul Chodora after he was suspended

by NASCAR.

"We as an organization appreciate NASCAR's drug testing

policies and policing efforts as it makes the sport stronger

overall," Mayfield said after firing Chodora. "If Paul doesn't

comply with NASCAR's reinstatement process, then he will no longer

be an employee of Mayfield Motorsports."

Mayfield, a two-time qualifier for the Chase for the

championship, has five Cup victories in 433 career starts, but none

since 2005 at Michigan. He was fired by Evernham Motorsports in

late 2006 and bounced around until this season, when he formed

Mayfield Motorsports.

He threw the team together in less than a month but made

headlines as the underdog who raced his way into the season-opening

Daytona 500. But he made just four of the next 10 races, and is

currently 44th in the Cup standings.

NASCAR announced a new, tougher drug policy last September. The

guidelines were strengthened in part because of former Truck Series

driver Aaron Fike's admission that he had used heroin - even on

days he raced. That led Tony Stewart, Kevin Harvick and other

veteran drivers to call on NASCAR to add random drug testing to its

policy.

Under the new rules, all drivers and crew members had to be

tested before the season began. Random tests are scheduled

throughout the year, and at least four drivers are tested each

weekend. Hunter said the drivers are selected through an automated

computer program.

Trucks driver Ron Hornaday last year admitted using testosterone

for more than a year - before it was added to the sport's banned

list - to treat a medical issue. Hornaday has Grave's disease, a

condition he is now treating with Synthroid, which replaces a

hormone normally produced by the thyroid gland to regulate the

body's energy and metabolism.

NASCAR did not punish him for the testosterone admission because

the cream did not enhance his performance or impair his judgment.

NASCAR's past policy allowed for testing any time series

officials had "reasonable suspicion" to question a driver or crew

member. Fike's admission forced NASCAR to begin a weekly, random

process.

On Wednesday, former Nationwide Series driver Kevin Grubb was

found dead in a Richmond-area motel room from what police said was

an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. Grubb was

suspended indefinitely by NASCAR after a second failed drug test in

2006 and never raced again in a NASCAR sanctioned event.

Shane Hmiel, who made 119 starts in NASCAR's top three national

series, received a lifetime suspension in 2006 after a third failed

drug test. Hmiel, who made seven Cup starts in 2004 and 2005, won

the Truck Series race at Las Vegas in 2004.

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