In lengthy interview, Jeremy Mayfield maintains innocence, refuses to undergo NASCAR treatment program (video)

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More than five years after being suspended indefinitely for failing a NASCAR-mandated drug test, Jeremy Mayfield on Wednesday again insisted he did nothing wrong to warrant his banishment from the sport.

And while he has settled other legal problems, Mayfield remains adamant he will not go through NASCAR’s Road to Recovery treatment program which could lead to his eventual reinstatement in the sport.

In a one-hour interview with SportingNews.com’s Bob Pockrass, most likely the longest interview Mayfield has given to date, he shed little new light or broke little new ground in his ongoing fight to clear his name and return to racing.

Mayfield was suspended by NASCAR for failing a drug test that indicated the usage of methamphetamine.

“I don’t use drugs, for sure,” Mayfield told Pockrass. “I don’t drink. I might have a couple of beers a year, maybe. … I don’t steal. I haven’t broke into any buildings and stole race parts and stuff.”

Mayfield again on Wednesday insisted the test, administrated by NASCAR consultant and drug testing/recovery program administrator Dr. David Black,  produced a false positive.

He continues to claim that a mixture of the doctor-prescribed hyperactivity disorder drug Adderall and the over the counter allergy medicine Claritin-D altered the test results.

Mayfield mounted a legal battle against NASCAR that extended for more than three years before he lost the case in court. The only way he can get back into the sport is to go through the Road to Recovery program, which is what NASCAR has required since he was first suspended.

But because Mayfield remains adamant that he will not go through the program, it essentially means his NASCAR career is over for good.

“The easy road would have been, ‘OK, yeah, I will do your road to recovery Dr. Black and I will go to your rehab,'” Mayfield told Pockrass. “But I just didn’t believe that that’s right. And I still don’t believe it’s right. … I don’t feel like I did anything wrong. And still don’t today.”

Mayfield is the only driver who has been suspended by NASCAR that has refused to go through the Road to Recovery treatment program.

By contrast, AJ Allmendinger was suspended in 2012 for using Adderall. He promptly went through the Road to Recovery program and was reinstated by NASCAR less than two months later.

In addition to the suspension, Mayfield has also incurred other legal troubles since then, including being charged with having stolen property on his former estate.

Mayfield eventually entered an Alford plea – in which a defendant agrees there is enough evidence to prove guilt against him or her, but does not admit to the act – to a pair of misdemeanor charges for possession of stolen property and possession of drug paraphernalia.

As a result, Mayfield avoided jail, the case was resolved and he has been able to move forward with the next phase of his life.

And that includes getting back to racing – but only at non-NASCAR sanctioned tracks and races.

He recently started a web site that further tells his side of what he and his family have gone through over the last five years, as well as restarting his racing career, including driving modifieds in an event this weekend at Ace Speedway in Altamahaw, N.C. (northeast of Greensboro).

Mayfield made 433 starts in his Sprint Cup career, earning five wins, 48 top-five and 96 top-10 finishes.

While it would seem Mayfield’s problems would all go away and he could resume his racing career if he only went through the Road to Recovery, that won’t be happening any time soon – if ever, he insisted again.

“You’ve got to stand up for what you believe in,” Mayfield said. “If you didn’t, you’re not American anymore.”

For more of Mayfield’s interview with Pockrass, click here.

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Buemi set for first F1 test in two years next week with Red Bull

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - JULY 3:  In this handout image supplied by Formula E The Podium.
Sebastien Buemi (SUI), Renault e.Dams Z.E.15. during the London Formula E race on JULY 3, 2016 in Battersea Park, London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Adam Warner/LAT/Formula E via Getty Images)
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Formula E champion Sebastien Buemi will enjoy his first Formula 1 test in over two years next week when he represents Red Bull in the latest Pirelli tire evaluation runs ahead of the 2017 season.

Buemi raced for Red Bull’s junior team, Toro Rosso, between 2009 and 2011 before being dropped to make way for Daniel Ricciardo and Jean-Eric Vergne.

Red Bull kept ties with Buemi, hiring him as the team’s test and reserve driver, a role he continues to enjoy in tandem with commitments in the FIA World Endurance Championship and Formula E.

His last F1 test came with Red Bull following the Spanish Grand Prix in 2014, and also completed a filming day for the team in Barcelona last year.

The Swiss driver won the second Formula E title in London at the beginning of the month with Renault e.dams, and is now set to get back behind the wheel of an F1 car as part of the ongoing evaluation of Pirelli’s new tires for 2017.

Buemi will get behind the wheel of a ‘mule’ car – a modified RB11 used in the 2015 season – and try out the wider tires on Wednesday and Thursday at Mugello, as confirmed by Red Bull’s chief engineer Paul Monaghan on Friday.

Red Bull, Ferrari and Mercedes have already conducted testing to evaluate the new compounds for 2017, but the wider treads will first hit the track on Monday.

Sebastian Vettel will complete the first day of testing with Ferrari at Fiorano, followed by Esteban Gutierrez on Tuesday before Buemi’s stint at Mugello.

Lowe: Hamilton’s reaction to yellow flag saga in Hungary ‘regrettable’

HOCKENHEIM, GERMANY - JULY 28:  Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes GP talks to the media during previews to the Formula One Grand Prix of Germany at Hockenheimring on July 28, 2016 in Hockenheim, Germany.  (Photo by Charles Coates/Getty Images)
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Mercedes Formula 1 technical chief Paddy Lowe believes that Lewis Hamilton’s reaction to the yellow flag saga in qualifying for the Hungarian Grand Prix was “regrettable”.

Hamilton was denied pole in Hungary after Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg beat his time with the final lap of Q3, despite completing part of it under yellow flags.

Hamilton told NBCSN on Thursday in Germany that the saga had set a precedent for drivers to follow in the future, and believes it could cause safety issues in the future.

Reports over the Hungarian Grand Prix weekend claimed that Hamilton went to FIA race director Charlie Whiting and asked him to investigate Rosberg’s lap.

On Friday, Lowe said he believes Hamilton did go and see Whiting after qualifying to seek clarity regarding yellow flag rules, not to try and get his teammate stripped of pole.

“It’s my understanding that Lewis did go and see Charlie but it wasn’t in any way to seek a review of Nico’s lap,” Lowe said.

“It was for his own understanding of what should be done in the future, how that should work for him in the future.

“I think that was regrettable. Personally, he should have kept to advice from the team and we can obtain that from Charlie as necessary.

“But I don’t think there was any harm done. It was just a misjudgement from that point of view.”

Whiting confirmed on Friday that if double waved yellow flags are shown during qualifying from now on, the session will be red flagged immediately to prevent a repeat of the saga from Hungary.

Power leads before it pours in Mid-Ohio second practice

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LEXINGTON, Ohio – Will Power topped the timesheets before the rains hit the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in the second 75-minute Verizon IndyCar Series practice of the day – albeit only 45 of which was run before the Mid-Ohio circuit turned into a water park.

Times descended a bit from the morning’s 1:04.4 best lap achieved by Scott Dixon in the No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet. Power clocked in a 1:04.1962 in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet this session at the 2.258-mile road course.

Power was one of 16 drivers in the 1:04 bracket, an improvement upon the morning session when only the top 11 were in the 1:04 range.

There were no incidents of note other than a couple off course excursions before the rains hit.

Times are below.

MidOFP2

NextEV wraps up private testing ahead of third Formula E season

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The NextEV Formula E Team has completed its private testing program ahead of the collective sessions at Donington Park next month in the run-up to season three of the all-electric series.

NextEV endured a difficult second season that saw it lack the pace to allow Nelson Piquet Jr. to defend the inaugural Formula E title he won with the team in season one.

Despite making significant progress across the course of the season under the guidance of CEO Martin Leach, NextEV was unable to avoid finishing at the foot of the teams’ championship.

Plans for season three have been moving swiftly for many months, with Leach telling NBC Sports earlier this month that things were going the right way during testing.

“Everything is on plan,” Leach said.

“When you’re going through a whole new development as we are, you’re constantly trying to identify issues and resolve issues.

“Everything is on-track so far.”

On Friday, NextEV issued a statement announcing it had completed its private testing program ahead of the new season, with 11 days’ worth of running under its belt at Calafat in Spain.

“We have been working incredibly hard for some time now on our new car for the 2016/17 season and have our sights firmly set on arriving in Hong Kong very well prepared and with a well-tested car,” Leach said.

“There are some interesting developments for next season, one of which is the increased regeneration levels, and so these technical upgrades have been a part of the work.

“We have been encouraged by our reliability and our programme progress is exactly in line with our planning.

“We look forward to getting on track at Donington for some comparison work against the other teams and to further cementing our strong pre-season testing work and performance.”

NextEV is yet to confirm its line-up for season three, but Leach told NBC Sports that the team has agreements in principle with season two drivers Piquet and Oliver Turvey, both of whom have expressed a desire to remain with the team.

“We have an agreement in principle. The physical contracts are not signed yet, but I don’t anticipate that being a problem,” Leach said.

“So we’re just going through some of the minutiae at the moment. My plan is to stay with Nelson and Oliver if I can.”

The third Formula E season kicks off in Hong Kong on October 9, with collective testing starting at Donington Park at the end of August.