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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Lewis Hamilton takes F1 pole in dramatic Russian GP qualifying

Russian pole Lewis Hamilton
Dan Istitene - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images
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SOCHI, Russia — Lewis Hamilton took a step closer to equaling the Formula One win record Saturday by clinching pole position at the Russian Grand Prix, after narrowly avoiding early elimination when Sebastian Vettel crashed.

Hamilton charged to a track-record time of 1 minute, 31.304 seconds, beating the Red Bull of Max Verstappen by 0.563 for his fifth straight pole position. Hamilton can achieve his 91st career win in the race on Sunday, matching the record held by Michael Schumacher.

Hamilton’s Mercedes teammate, Valtteri Bottas, was beaten into third by Verstappen’s fast run at the end of the session and was .652 off Hamilton’s time.

The long run from the grid to the first significant turn means Bottas could yet threaten to overtake Hamilton at the start Sunday using the slipstream from his teammate’s car.

“It’s nice being on pole but here is probably the worst place to be on pole,” Hamilton said.

“This year you’re seeing that our cars are more draggy and there’s more tow this year than we’ve seen in other years. So I generally expect one of (Verstappen and Bottas) to come flying by at some point. I think I’m just going to focus on my race and run the fastest race I can.”

Bottas earned his first win at the 2017 race in Russia after starting third and overtaking the two Ferraris ahead of him at the start.

Verstappen and Bottas both start the race on medium tires, which could give them an edge in terms of pit strategy over Hamilton, who is on soft tires, which wear much faster.

“I’m just going to have to nurse those tires for as far as I can. These guys, if they get by, they’re going to be pulling away,” Hamilton said.

Verstappen said he was delighted to start second.

“I wasn’t expecting that and of course it’s great for us. If we can get a good start tomorrow you never know what can happen,” he said.

Vettel lost control of his car over the kerb on the inside of the 90-degree, right-hand turn four and spun into the wall, before the Ferrari bounced back onto the track. Teammate Charles Leclerc was following closely behind and narrowly missed the wrecked car, driving over its discarded front wing.

“Oh my God, that was very, very close,” Leclerc told his team over the radio. Leclerc qualified 11th and Vettel 15th as Ferrari failed to reach the top-10 shootout with either car for the third time in four races.

Vettel’s crash meant the red flag was waved while Hamilton was trying to set his first valid lap time to make the third session – after his first attempt was earlier ruled out for going off the track.

After the track was cleared and the session restarted, Hamilton had to rush his out-lap to make it over the line in time for another flying lap with just a second to spare.

“It was horrible,” Hamilton said. “Heart in the mouth.”

Hamilton was also asked to report to race stewards over another incident in which he went off the track in the first part of qualifying. No further action was taken. It was found Hamilton didn’t gain an advantage because the lap time wasn’t counted.

Hamilton is the runaway championship leader with a 55-point advantage over second-place Bottas and 80 over Verstappen. If he can earn four more pole positions in the last seven races, he would be the first driver to 100 in F1 history.

Earlier in the third and final practice Saturday morning, Hamilton set the pace with a time of 1 minute, 33.279 seconds that was 0.776 better than his Mercedes teammate Bottas, who had been quickest in the first two sessions.