Ten things I think I think about Jeremy Mayfield
NASCAR says Mayfield has now tested positive for meth twice
Mayfield did himself no favors by delaying the July 6 test by seven hours
With apologies to Peter King, here are the 10 things I think I think on the state of the Jeremy Mayfield case:
1. NASCAR recently took a pounding in a story on the saga that ran in the New York Times, which noted that "many specialists in the field of drug testing have derided [the sport's new drug-testing program] as less than ideal." But one thing I would like to know -- that wasn't answered in the story and hasn't been answered by anybody yet, as far as I know -- is whether it's possible for Adderall XR, the prescription drug that Mayfield insists is at the source of his problem, to confound the results of a test for methamphetamines. Every test can have false positives, and Mayfield has now come up hot for meth on two different occasions, first at Richmond on May 1, and then at his home in Kentucky on July 6.
2. Mayfield may have officially failed two tests, but he's really failed four, as labs look at A and B samples to reduce the chances of obtaining a false-positive result.
3. If Adderall is the problem, as Mayfield contends, then he should have gotten a therapeutic use exemption for it. TUEs first became big news back when Olympic champion sprinter Justin Gatlin tested positive for Adderall without a TUE. After the attendant ruckus in the news, the need for a TUE became common knowledge to every pro athlete who takes Adderall. Perhaps because NASCAR's program is new, Mayfield never considered it.
4. The more than seven-hour run-around Mayfield gave drug testers who tried to obtain a sample of his urine on July 6 did little but make him look like a very guilty man.
5. Mayfield took another test earlier on July 6. He and his attorney say that since he couldn't find the NASCAR-approved lab, he went to another facility to be tested. And what do you know? The results of that test -- the one set up by the driver and his lawyer -- completely exonerate Jeremy Mayfield! But, if Mayfield's big complaint about NASCAR's testing procedures is that they don't have the B samples tested by an independent laboratory, then I don't see how he can accept the results of his own test, which is no more independent than any of the ones done by NASCAR.
6. Mayfield says that the presence of an observer when he was providing his sample on July 6 was humiliating. I don't buy this either, and, frankly, he can cry me a river. I was in the Army for nearly 10 years, and random drug testing was a fact of life. There were always observers on hand. Observers are not an unusual part of the drug-testing process. Perhaps there wasn't one when Mayfield flunked that May 1 exam, but I would be surprised if that were the case.
7. The relationship between Mayfield and his stepmother is obviously beyond dysfunctional, and I don't give her accusations much weight for that reason. But I find his allegation that "she shot and killed my dad" to be disastrously ill-considered. His father died two years ago, but Mayfield only now is filing a wrongful death suit? If he's so sure of her guilt that he's accusing her publicly, why hasn't he done anything about it before now? The whole sideshow is bizarre and, frankly, only makes everybody look bad.
8. I'm not sure why NASCAR included the testimony of Mayfield's stepmother in its appeal to have his ban restored. While she claims to be an eyewitness to Mayfield's meth use, she seems to be a very poor one, -- for obvious reasons. The fact that Mayfield came up hot for meth a second time -- after spending most of the day avoiding testers -- should have been enough. I don't see what NASCAR gained by including her testimony.
9. NASCAR would have a more effective testing program if it turned over its operation to an outside body, as the USOC does with the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency. NASCAR is merely following the examples of Major League Baseball and the NFL in running its own testing regime.
10. There are a lot of things about Jeremy Mayfield's stories that do not seem right to me. But there is also one troubling thing about NASCAR's tale that I cannot shake: he does not look like a habitual user of crystal meth, which can have a definite effect of a person's physical appearance. (If you can stomach it, there is a photo of the condition known as "meth mouth" here.) If Mayfield was using meth as much -- and for as long -- as his stepmother alleges, wouldn't we be seeing some of the physical effects by now?
5: Number of top-10 finishes in the past six races for driver Juan Pablo Montoya
2: Montoya's finish in his first career Cup start at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, in 2007
9: Years since Montoya won the Indianapolis 500
The Photo Finish
The guys at All Left Turns found Danica Patrick's recent guest-spot on Jimmy Kimmel Live more than a little bit awkward. I don't totally disagree, but I'm not sure it's much more strained than most late-night talk-show appearances, really. In truth, very few people are truly good at these things. I mean, not everybody can be Tom Hanks or, bless her, Teri Garr. And to be completely blunt, Jimmy Kimmel is no Johnny Carson, who knew how to interrogate a comely lass.
Kimmel threw Patrick with his opening remark, about her dress/shirt and concomitant pantslessness, then insisted on following that line of conversation to its final, inelegant end. Whose fault is that? For the most part, I think Patrick handled herself like a pro, bravely soldiering on with the chit-chat despite Kimmel's apparent total lack of interest. Too bad the master of ceremonies seemed more concerned with running through his prepared list of questions. Blame the host, folks, not his victim.