by Chris Leone, Special To NASCAR commentary and driver pictures, 2012 NASCAR schedule, video, Bench Racing With Steve and Charlie
I do weekly Fantasy Pick'Em columns here at OPR, as well as the occasional opinion and analysis piece. I also provide the IZOD IndyCar Series coverage. For more on that, head to my site, OpenWheelAmerica.com. My Twitter handle is @christopherlion.July 29, 2009 12:49 am UTC 13 Comments
So what does the future hold for Jeremy Mayfield and NASCAR, and what is going to make or break this court case? We know now that Mayfield won’t be returning to the track, instead focusing on the legal battle, meaning that this could drag out for a long time.
The documentary that Mayfield claims to be producing could play a huge part in the resolution. If Mayfield has documentary footage that can aid in his eventual vindication, then his attorneys need to submit that evidence – unedited – to the judge at some point.
If that documentary footage disproves NASCAR’s claim that the drug test they administered on July 6 was “held up,” then it begins to unravel NASCAR’s case of “real science and sworn affidavits,” as Ramsey Poston said.
Lisa Mayfield’s claims against her stepson also will play a huge role in the resolution to this struggle. If, as she claims, Jeremy Mayfield used meth at least 30 times in her presence, then his case is shot. He’s done. We’d have simply witnessed one of the best and most logical defenses of a guilty man in recent memory.
On the other hand, if she is guilty of all that Jeremy Mayfield has accused of her (namely, that she lied in the affidavit because NASCAR paid her to, that she has a vendetta against the driver, and that she killed Terry Mayfield, her husband and Jeremy’s father), NASCAR has done more than just shooting itself in the foot. They’d have sabotaged their entire case due to confidence that her status as a Mayfield family member and the sanctioning body’s deep pockets would pull them through.
Until and unless that or something else unravels their defense, however, expect this battle to drag on for quite a while. Neither side is, at this point in time, willing to relent.
Mayfield, however, has to start checking himself again before he speaks. Grandiose claims of a major sponsor and suggesting that NASCAR “doesn’t want it” aren’t great public relations moves. As stressful and damaging as this saga has already been for both sides, if Mayfield doesn’t keep his emotions in check, he’ll be shooting himself in the foot. Erratic behavior will only lead NASCAR to claim that he exhibits traits of a drug user.
If Mayfield’s case falls apart, the sanctioning body will probably crush him into defeat, and we’ll probably never see the two-time Chase driver again. It’d be the same as in any other case where the individual takes on the higher power and loses.
However, if NASCAR’s defense unravels, and the public begins to scrutinize their defensive tactics, expect to see a settlement offer for Mayfield just to go away. But would Mayfield accept such an offer? Sure, on one hand, it seems to be admitting defeat and vindication for the driver. At the same time, however, it could be viewed as NASCAR paying Mayfield to shut up, and he obviously isn’t the type to buy into that.
Given NASCAR’s latest claims that Mayfield lied about his chronology of the events of July 6, this battle will probably last through the end of the year. The only certainty at this point is that we won’t be seeing Jeremy Mayfield in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series anytime soon.