NASCAR filed papers Monday seeking to reverse a district judge's ruling that lifted owner/driver Jeremy Mayfield's suspension for allegedly failing a drug test in May.
NASCAR asked U.S. District Court Judge Graham Mullen to suspend his decision from last Wednesday to issue a preliminary injunction until the appeal could be heard, a common request that is a prerequisite for an appeal in a case such as this one. NASCAR also filed a notice that it will file an appeal with the U.S. Court of Appeals in Richmond.
NASCAR claims Mullen failed to properly consider the sophistication and sensitivity of the Aegis Laboratories drug-testing procedures used to conduct NASCAR's tests and the fact Mayfield's expert stated the level of methamphetamine indicates Mayfield might be a chronic user.
NASCAR also questions Judge Mullen's reasoning that Mayfield could be tested daily, including with a hair test, to see if he is a safety risk. NASCAR says there was no evidence at the hearing "that a reliable and accurate same-day test for methamphetamine exists which can ensure Mayfield's drug-free participation in upcoming NASCAR events."
"Mayfield continues to pose a threat to public safety, thereby warranting NASCAR's immediate appeal of this Court's decision," NASCAR states in its filing Monday.
Mayfield, who qualified for five of the first 11 races this season after starting his own team and has five wins in 433 career Sprint Cup starts, contends the May 1 drug-test findings that prompted his suspension resulted from a combination of prescription drug Adderall and over-the-counter Claritin-D allergy medicine. He also has contended that NASCAR must follow guidelines that regulate federal agencies. NASCAR disputes those claims.
Although the injunction reinstated Mayfield as an eligible driver and owner, he did not attempt to make the Coke Zero 400 last weekend at Daytona International Speedway. He issued a statement Saturday saying he was hoping to obtain the sponsorship necessary to enter this weekend's race at Chicagoland Speedway, but he is not on the entry list.
"It is clear that Mayfield misled the Court about the need for a preliminary injunction to protect his livelihood given that-contrary to his representations to the Court-he failed to seek eligibility for the Fourth of July NASCAR race," NASCAR said in its filing Monday.
Mayfield attorney John Buric said the appeal was expected, but Mayfield will remain focused on trying to get his team assembled to get back on the track.