Jeremy Mayfield, driver of his own #41 Toyota in NASCAR's Sprint Cup Series, has been suspended immediately and indefinitely after failing a drug test, NASCAR announced Saturday at Darlington Raceway.

Tony Martin, a crew member for the #34 Front Row Motorsports Cup team of driver John Andretti, and Ben Williams, a crew member with the #16 Roush Fenway Racing team in the Nationwide Series, also drew suspensions for failed drug tests. NASCAR received the results of the tests at approximately noon on Saturday.

Roush's #16 team features multiple drivers. Matt Kenseth won Friday night's Nationwide race in the #16 car.

Mayfield, 39, is the first Cup driver to fail a drug test after the institution of NASCAR's zero-tolerance policy toward violation of the substance-abuse rules at the start of the 2009 season.

"We test anywhere from four-eight drivers per weekend," Jim Hunter [pictured], NASCAR's vice president of corporate communications, said. "I think that's a good way for us to stay on top of this - with every driver having been tested at least once. And by random, some drivers have been tested numerous times.

"But I think it's a good programme, and we're going to continue this programme."

Mayfield was tested at random, not on the basis of suspicion, said Hunter, who made it clear that Mayfield was suspended from participation in NASCAR activities as both an owner and a driver. By policy, NASCAR does not release the specific nature of the substance abuse.

On Saturday evening, Mayfield released a statement, indicating his belief that a combination of legal substances had produced the positive test result. Mayfield also indicated his team would continue to compete with an interim owner and driver.

"As both a team owner and a driver in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, I have immense respect for the enforcement policies NASCAR has in place," Mayfield said. "In my case, I believe that the combination of a prescribed medicine and an over the counter medicine reacted together and resulted in a positive drug test. My doctor and I are working with both Dr. (David) Black (who administers drug testing for the sanctioning body) and NASCAR to resolve this matter.

"Mayfield Motorsports remains committed to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, and the organisation will announce an interim owner and a temporary replacement driver early next week. Those roles will commence immediately beginning with next week's Sprint Open and continuing through Charlotte and beyond."

On Friday, Mayfield had failed to qualify for Saturday night's Southern 500 at Darlington. He had competed in five of ten Cup races this season, having failed to qualify for the other five. His best finish this year was 32nd at Talladega.

Mayfield has five victories in the series, the last of which came at Michigan in 2005.

by Reid Spencer/Sporting News