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Monday, May 18, 2009
Doctors deny Mayfield's claims

By David Newton
ESPN.com

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The doctor who administers NASCAR's drug testing program said on Monday that he personally told Sprint Cup driver Jeremy Mayfield what drug resulted in his indefinite suspension at least once.

Mayfield
Mayfield

Dr. David Black, the chairman of Aegis Sciences Corp., in Nashville, Tenn., denied Mayfield's claim that he hadn't been told the specific results. Black said he was not sure if Mayfield has received a copy of the test results because a copy would be issued by NASCAR, not Aegis.

NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston said he was not aware of any request by Mayfield to obtain the results.

"We'd be happy to provide one if he wants it," Poston said. "We've done this in the past upon request for those who tested positive."

Black also reiterated that the positive test could not have been the combination of a prescription and over-the-counter drug as Mayfield claimed.

He is not surprised that Mayfield, who on Saturday at Lowe's Motor Speedway in nearby Concord said he did not violate the substance abuse policy and indicated he would pursue legal action, is in denial.

"Over my many years of administering programs I've seen people react to positive test findings in multiple different ways," Black said. "I have seen a lot of different responses. I'm never terribly surprised."

NASCAR chairman Brian France on Friday said Mayfield tested positive for a "serious infraction," defining serious as performance-enhancing or recreational drugs. Sources have ruled out it was performance enhancing.

Dr. Jon Speckman of Alcohol & Drug Abuse Testing Centers Inc., in Charlotte agreed that a combination of prescription and over-the-counter drugs could not have resulted in the positive test. He also said it is highly unlikely that Mayfield wasn't told specifically what drug came back positive.

"I am smart enough in my older age that I will tell you never say never for anything, but I would tell you it is extremely unlikely that both laboratories and medical review officers who are specifically trained in sorting out substances would make a mistake," he said.

"And it would be very, very unusual for an individual not to know what the positive is and for all the material as potentially causing that positive to have been reviewed with him by the doctor."

There has been speculation that the prescription drug Mayfield took was to deal with attention deficit disorder. He spoke with a group of children at a Charlotte school about his condition a couple of years ago.

Speckman said such medication never should create a false positive even if combined with another drug, Claritin-D to deal with allergies in this case, according to Mayfield.

"It shows for up for what it is," Speckman said. "It's very unlikely the stimulant would show up positive for anything else. There's no question the MRO would know exactly what would show up."

Speckman and Black shot down Mayfield's claims that subsequent hair follicle tests can clear him. Speckman said hair follicle tests are used to show what was in the system seven to eight days ago, noting that Mayfield could have taken such a test before the follicle was far enough out of the scalp to register anything.

Black added there are products that can wash the drugs out of the hair and that follicle test typically are used to determine chronic use.

"One-time uses does not necessarily show up," he said. "Intermittent use over time may not show up. Once an individual is on notice they test positive, a test of those circumstances are not terribly persuasive."

Speckman said it is very unlikely any kind of mistake was made in this case because of the full chain of custody in which a specimen is collected.

"I'm not saying in the least I know it's one way or the other, but I can certainly tell you anybody who is doing testing responsibly doesn't just say, 'Yeah, we're going to say somebody is positive,' if they don't have a very good reason to believe they are," he said.

He also doesn't fault NASCAR for not publicly revealing what Mayfield tested positive for, saying that is common in most employment tests he run.

"NASCAR is probably very, very smart in that they just say we're going to tell you that you're positive and we're going to tell you what it is, and if you choose to release it, release it -- which is probably not going to happen," he said.

"Anybody who gets indefinitely suspended goes through and does [what Mayfield is doing]. Obviously, it has a huge impact on them career-wise and reputation-wise."

David Newton covers NASCAR for ESPN.com. He can be reached at dnewtonespn@aol.com. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.