Wednesday, January 16, 2013
Mayfield makes reinstatement plea
By David Newton
LENOIR, N.C. -- Suspended Sprint Cup driver Jeremy Mayfield is ready to do "whatever it takes," including drug rehabilitation, to get reinstated into NASCAR.
Mayfield made the comment on Wednesday after a brief hearing at the Caldwell County Courthouse in which his case involving felony charges for stolen goods and possession of methamphetamine was pushed to March 4.
Mayfield, 43, is hoping to reach a plea bargain deal that does not include jail time on a total of 19 felony charges between Caldwell County and Iredell County.
If he gets his legal issues resolved Mayfield plans to seek reinstatement into NASCAR so he can resume his career if there is an owner willing to take a chance on him. The first step is entering NASCAR's Road to Recovery program.
Mayfield previously said he would participate in the program as long as he didn't have to go through rehabilitation. On Wednesday, he said he would even do that.
"I'll do whatever it takes," he said outside the courtroom. "Whatever it takes."
Mayfield said if rehabilitation is part of the reinstatement process, "when I get there it will be kind of boring."
Mayfield, who was suspended in May 2009 after testing positive for methamphetamines, still insists his results were from a false positive that came from mixing Adderall for Attention Deficit Disorder with an over-the-counter allergy medicine.
He said Wednesday there is no "Lance Armstrong" confession in his future because he never took the banned illegal substance.
Mayfield's suspension resulted in a long, drawn-out legal battle, with the courts siding with NASCAR. During the litigation, Mayfield was charged with possession of methamphetamine and 18 felonies involving stolen goods found during a November 2011 search of his North Carolina home.
Asked how he explained the felony charges on top of the failed drug test in NASCAR, Mayfield said, "What I've found out is you can get charged with anything."
"Let's wait to see if I'm convicted of that," he said of the felony charges. "That'll answer a lot of questions."
Mayfield said he is ready to go to trial if a plea bargain can't be reached. His attorney, David Freeman, was not present for Wednesday's hearing. Mayfield was represented by Tim Stewart, a member of Freeman's firm who was not familiar enough with the case to give expansive comments.
Mayfield reiterated that he would not accept jail time as part of a plea bargain.
"Yeah," he said. "I'd be crazy to do that."
Mayfield recently began paving the road for reinstatement by calling Motor Racing Network's NASCAR Live radio show on which NASCAR chairman Brian France was a guest. He asked France "if he's willing to accept the fact that I'd like to come back racing and if we could sit down and talk about it and figure out what we need to do to make that work."
France told Mayfield he would have to complete the same Road to Recovery program that driver AJ Allmendinger did last season after being suspended for violating the policy.
Allmendinger was suspended on July 24 and reinstated in late September.
"Well, Jeremy, you know the path back for you," France said on the show. "It's the path back for anybody. I've always hoped that you would choose the right path and not litigation and a bunch of other things. That's up to you.
"You have a welcome mat out for anytime you want. There's a stated process that AJ Allmendinger just went through. We welcomed him back, and it's terrific. That's up to you."
Mayfield then said he would do everything short of rehab.
"But I will do any kind of test they want me to do for sure," he said at the time.