Jeremy Mayfield submitted to a drug test Monday, but did not provide a sample for several hours, which according to NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston, is an indication that he was trying to avoid the test. But, Mayfield’s attorney John Buric said that there was confusion surrounding the location of the lab where Mayfield would give his sample, and that’s what casued the delay.
According to published reports, Mayfield was called around 1 p.m. on Monday and told he had two hours to get to a lab specified by NASCAR to be tested. Two hours is the standard time given for tests that do not occur at the track. Mayfield claimed he couldn’t locate the lab, and instead went to a lab not acceptable to Aegis Laboratories, the lab that oversees NASCAR drug testing.
Buric, however, said that the call went to voicemail, and that Mayfield learned of the test nearly an hour after the initial call. The lab specified in the call was about an hour away. With about 30 minutes to go, he was told to go to a lab that was closer, but he could not get a hold of someone from the lab to give him directions, and was unsure what he should do.
I said [to Mayfield], ‘They are going to try to turn this into a positive result and try to accuse you for delaying, failing to abide by the drug-policy procedures. Go to your own lab and provide a urine sample so we have a safe sample.’
NASCAR officials sent technicians to Mayfield’s home and around 8:30 p.m. (nearly an hour after they arrived) they were able to collect a sample. Apparently there was a disagreement on how the sample would be collected. NASCAR wanted the technicians to directly observe Mayfield giving the sample, meaning he would have to provide the sample in front of them with his shirt up and his pants down. At the track, drivers are allowed to use a bathroom stall.
Buric said that NASCAR went overboard by demanding to directly observe the sample collection:
It’s more, ‘I am God, hear me roar. I make the rules up as I go along. I get to do what I want to do. I can make you do what you’re not required to do. It was intentional harassment. What was the purpose of sending NASCAR security detail? … Why make him be observed peeing in a cup? Ask NASCAR how many other people have you made do that?
It’s apparent this was an attempt to delay and avoid doing a test within the prescribed time. Ultimately, we got a sample from him, but it was after an extraordinary amount of delay and avoidance on his part.
To me, it seems like NASCAR is definitely sticking it to Mayfield. With Mayfield winning his injunction to return to the track, it seems NASCAR is going to make it as difficult as possible for him to do so, no matter what the court says.
It’s hard to tell which party is the one making things difficult. It’s reasonable to expect to have to provide a sample within a set timeframe to ensure the sample comes from the tested person. But, it’s also not too farfetched to think that NASCAR might have made the test process more difficult to stick it to Mayfield.
While it might be getting in to conspiracy theories too much, one could argue that perhaps NASCAR made it difficult for Mayfield to get tested so that they could say he is being evasive and suspicious, which could help them in their appeal.
As time goes on, I’m sure this case will get more bizarre and uglier. Neither side wants to concede, so we’re likely in for an ugly, contentious court battle.