Over the weekend Jeremy Mayfield sold the remaining parts of his racing company to John Carter. Now he says he will devote his time and energy to fighting NASCAR. I respectfully ask Jeremy to stop this fools errand and think about his health and his life.
I admit that this story is somewhat personal to me. The town I was born and raised in is Owensboro, Ky. To the NASCAR fan that name will be recognizable as the home of Darrell and Michael Waltrip, the Green brothers, and of course Jeremy Mayfield. I admit that I don’t know Mayfield on a personal level, but in a town like Owensboro no one is more than two degrees of separation from anyone else. Over the past couple of weeks I have had two ,what I consider, very credible sources tell me that they have had conversations with friends of Mayfield that involved his abuse of drugs. These conversations all well pre-dated the recent failed test. Others that I spoke with did not have first hand knowledge, but all seemed to accept that Mayfield had a drug problem.
Usually your hometown will be the last to turn; but the complete lack of people from Owensboro that believe Mayfield, leads me to think he has a problem. Many were taken aback by the thought of a good ole boy doing methamphetamine, but that is certainly not an uncommon addiction in places like Owensboro. Meth is most easily made in the countryside where the smell presents less of a problem. Many people I attended high school with (which is in the same general era as Mayfield’s high school days) were users of Meth. And in one particular incident, a guy I knew as an acquaintance killed his girlfriend after a meth lab explosion and is spending 40 years in prison.
I don’t want this to happen to Jeremy. Owensboro is a town that idolizes its heroes and can be very forgiving if someone rights their wrongs. Baltimore cares about its sports stars, but here you kind of expect a Carmelo Anthony or Mark Teixeira to come along every few years. In Owensboro, we never know when another might come again. You have a long shelf life there. I wasn’t born yet when Cliff Hagan retired from pro basketball in 1970, but me and every kid that plays youth basketball there can tell you about his Hall of Fame career. From the other end of the spectrum Kenny Higgs only played three so-so seasons in the NBA, but his summer basketball camp sells out. Nondescript pros like baseballer Brad Wilkerson and footballer Mark Higgs are treated like kings when they come back. I want Jeremy to be able to experience this. But Owensboro can only help those that will help themselves.
NASCAR is a dictatorship that does not abide being questioned. I could even see them forging the second test against Jeremy to shut him up and get him out of the news. The only problem is that that was the second test. It doesn’t explain the first test or why NASCAR would risk the embarrassment and legal trouble in the first place. It makes no sense, because most likely it isn’t true. Jeremy can fight this all he wants, but its tough to overturn a few things. He failed the first test, he failed another test, he reacted in a somewhat over the top way after his step mother testified against him. If you look up Meth side effects, two of the top ones are anger control issues and paranoid delusions. He displayed both of those characteristics when he lost his cool in interviews and accused Lisa Mayfield of murder.
This all seems to point to him having a problem. I really hope some people close to him can turn him in the right direction. His career as a NASCAR driver may be over, but his life isn’t….at least not yet. I brought up the forgiveness of Owensboro before. The town wanted him to be a racing hero. He never quite lived up to the expectations. Now he can be an example of redemption in life if he makes the right decisions from here on. The loss of his NASCAR racing career is the kind of thing that could push him further into drugs or he can take a step back and rebuild his life from the beginning.
All of us that grew up in Owensboro-Daviess County will be rooting for him.