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.

Follow me @JerryBonkowski

Haas F1 driver Romain Grosjean to launch cookbook

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Haas Formula 1 driver Romain Grosjean may be one of the sport’s most promising talents on-track, but he also has a burning passion off it: cooking.

Grosjean may have been spent a good part of this year cooking his brakes, but you’ll now be able to cook bakes instead…

F1’s resident foodie is set to release a cookbook alongside wife Marion Jolles in the coming weeks, as announced on his Facebook page.

Grosjean currently sits 13th in the F1 drivers’ championship with 18 points to his name, helping Haas to match the points total from its debut season after just 10 races in 2017.

Mercedes F1 engine chief warns against underestimating Honda

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Mercedes Formula 1 engine chief Andy Cowell has warned against underestimating the threat of Honda despite its ongoing power unit struggles, tipping the Japanese manufacturer to bounce back in the near future.

Honda returned to F1 as a manufacturer in 2015, supplying V6 turbo power units to the McLaren team, but has struggled for either performance or reliability through that period.

The struggles have led McLaren – currently sat bottom of the constructors’ championship – to consider cutting ties for 2018 given how far adrift compared to the other three engine suppliers Honda has been.

Mercedes has been the benchmark for engine performance since the change in regulation for 2014, but Cowell feels that Honda could make up ground quickly, with the removal of the token system for 2017 helping performance to converge through the field.

“I think collectively we’ve helped with convergence in Formula 1 in the opening season, performance development through the year,” Cowell said.

“But then the opportunity to do a big change with Honda coming in, we all agreed that Honda could have that same opportunity to change everything in the first year and then the request came from manufacturers in addition to Honda saying ‘please can we take this crazy token table away because it’s bad for the sport?’

“It’s bad if somebody can’t train to get better and so we agreed, yeah, take the table away because it’s better for the sport because it means that you can innovate, you can introduce whatever you like.

“I think none of us should underestimate the technical prowess of Honda and of McLaren and I think my money is on that combination coming good and coming good pretty quickly. No pressure…”

Williams happy to ‘hold off’ on 2018 F1 driver decision

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Williams is happy to “hold off” on making a decision on its Formula 1 driver line-up for 2018 as it focuses on improving its on-track displays after a tough start to the season.

Williams currently fields Felipe Massa and Lance Stroll, a mix of experience and youth, but has failed to keep up with midfield front-runner Force India through the first half of the year.

Force India sits fourth in the constructors’ championship with more than double the points of Williams, who leads a tight-knit group down to Renault in eighth place, 15 points adrift.

While Stroll looks set to continue with Williams and Massa has hinted he may look to continue through to 2018 despite initially planning to retire at the end of last season, deputy team boss Claire Williams has confirmed that no decision about next year’s line-up will come any time soon.

“There’s a lot of talk already isn’t there, about drivers across the paddock. For us, we’ve decided we’re going to hold off a bit on our driver decision,” Williams said.

“We’ve got a fight on our hands on the race track at the moment and to be distracted by those kinds of conversations isn’t something that we want to be happening at the moment.

“[Force India’s] got a nice points haul on us at the moment we need to focus on, rather than anything else.”

Nico Rosberg visits Stanford University, considering study options

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2016 Formula 1 world champion Nico Rosberg is considering study options at Stanford University after visiting the college earlier this week as part of his tour around California.

Rosberg sensationally announced his retirement from F1 just five days after winning his maiden world title last November, wanting to spend more time with his young family.

The German has been enjoying his retirement, recently embarking on a tour of Silicon Valley and California that saw him hold meetings with electric car giant Tesla, among other companies.

In a video posted to his Twitter account on Sunday, Rosberg spoke warmly about a visit to Stanford, revealing that he is considering some study options in the near future at the historic institution.

Rosberg was previously offered a scholarship to study engineering at Imperial College London when he was younger, only to turn it down in order to embark on a racing career. He also reportedly holds the highest ever score on Williams’ engineering aptitude test.

Should Nico sign up to a course at Stanford, we imagine he’d take things one class at a time…