Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Last Mayfield employee resigns
The last remaining employee at Jeremy Mayfield's race team said Wednesday he resigned because he doesn't believe Mayfield Motorsports will return to the track.
Bobby Wooten, general manager of the first-year team, said his resignation had nothing to do with Mayfield's ongoing battle with NASCAR over a failed drug test. Mayfield was suspended May 9 for testing positive for what NASCAR said was methamphetamines.
A federal judge lifted the suspension earlier this month, but Mayfield did not return to the track in the two races since his reinstatement.
Mayfield has denied ever using the illegal drug and blamed his positive test on the combined use of Adderall for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and Claritin-D for allergies.
"I think Jeremy is telling the truth. I back him 110 percent," Wooten told The Associated Press. "I don't believe Jeremy is a drug addict. I do believe he could have taken one too many over-the-counter drugs, and now this situation has popped up."
Wooten, who spent nine years as a police officer in North Carolina, said he knows from his time on the job that drug users are capable of hiding the abuse and fooling those around them. But he said since his February hiring, he never suspected Mayfield of being under the influence of an illegal drug.
He testified to that in a sworn affidavit that U.S. District Court Judge Graham Mullen took in to consideration when he lifted Mayfield's suspension.
"I have never seen Jeremy under that pretense," Wooten said. "And he was around us four and five days a week, 12 hours a day. Typically, if you are an abuser of this particular drug, you can't go without it for that long of a time. I did not ever see that in Jeremy."
Wooten said he stuck by Mayfield because he believed the failed drug test would be resolved and they would eventually get the team back on track. He said in conversations with Mayfield, it did not seem as if the owner had any interest in getting Mayfield Motorsports back up and running.
"Basically, Jeremy just wanted to go in a different direction than I wanted to do," he said of his Monday resignation. "There are cars ready to go to the race track; all we needed was five or six days to get everything back up and running. But I believe what Jeremy is attempting to do is to just totally get rid of Mayfield Motorsports, that's his intention."
Ownership of the No. 41 was transferred to Shana Mayfield after her husband's suspension, and she told The AP last week the couple is considering selling the team.
"He's got six completed race cars, equipment, a tractor trailer -- assets to sell," Wooten said.