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CUP: Mayfield Says Brian France Disliked Him

Jeremy Mayfield claims that NASCAR Chairman Brian France had him black-flagged during the 2006 Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and that NASCAR officials were upset with him in 2009 for signing a sponsor they were courting, according to a court filing late Wednesday.

Mayfield made those claims in asking U.S. District Court Judge Graham Mullen to reconsider a May 2010 ruling that dismissed his lawsuit against NASCAR over a May 1, 2009 drug test that NASCAR says was positive for methamphetamines.

The filing is another step in the appeals process – asking the judge to reconsider the decision before actually filing to the U.S. Court of Appeals.

In his request, Mayfield also asks that he be allowed to amend his lawsuit against NASCAR to include those new claims, which he alleges show that NASCAR illegally interfered with his team business affairs and that France disliked him and had personal malice against him.

The allegation surrounding the 2006 race at Indy comes in part from declarations of France’s former in-laws, whom France sued last year when trying to evict them from a home he owned.

In affidavits, both of the his former in-laws say that France, after drinking scotch while in California to be with his pregnant wife during the race, called NASCAR President Mike Helton in the control tower at Indy and asked that Mayfield be black-flagged. When Mayfield got to the pits no NASCAR official ever looked at the car, Mayfield alleges.

“[He] directed that they fabricate a reason to have Mayfield pit his car, so that Mayfield finished nearly last in the race,” the Mayfield filing states.

NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston vehemently denied the allegations.

“Mayfield’s claims are blatantly false and Jeremy and his lawyers know it,” Poston said in a statement. “In fact, prior to their filing we notified Mayfield’s lawyers that the allegations were completely baseless and that we had evidence to prove the falsity of the claims.

“Mayfield and his lawyers chose to continue a campaign of lies and disregard the evidence that was discussed with them.”

Mayfield attorney Dan Marino, who has replaced well-known litigator Mark Geragos as Mayfield's main attorney in the case, declined comment.

That Indianapolis race has long been a source of controversy for Mayfield, who hit the wall and finished 41st. It dropped his Evernham Motorsports team out of the top 35, and he was released from Evernham a few days later. In documents in a Mayfield lawsuit against Evernham over the firing, Evernham accuses Mayfield of hitting the wall on purpose, an allegation Mayfield denies.

The other new allegation in the complaint is that NASCAR was upset with Mayfield Motorsports over its obtaining SmallSponsor.com as a team sponsor.

“MMI [Mayfield Motorsports] and a sponsor called SmallSponsor.com announced a partnership to market SmallSponsor.com through the number 41 Toyota, which Mayfield drove for the MMI team,” the filing states. “This was a sponsor which NASCAR officials had recruited to sponsor race tracks and races through NASCAR, but which chose, instead, to work with MMI by giving MMI a three-year, $30 million deal.”

The allegations were the latest in the controversy surrounding Mayfield, who was indefinitely suspended from NASCAR on May 9, 2009. He sued NASCAR for breach of contract, discrimination and defamation in an attempt to return to racing and for financial damages. He won an injunction to participate in NASCAR in July 2009 but never returned to competition.

The injunction was later stayed, pending appeal, and Mayfield – the only driver suspended for violations of the substance-abuse policy since NASCAR implemented random drug testing in 2009 – eventually asked for the court to drop the injunction so the case could proceed more quickly toward trial. The judge dismissed Mayfield’s claims in May.

The 41-year-old Mayfield, who has 433 career starts with five Cup victories and two Chase championship appearances, has denied using methamphetamines and contends that the drug-test findings that prompted his suspension resulted from a combination of the prescription drug Adderall, which is used to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, and over-the-counter Claritin-D allergy medicine. He also argued that NASCAR must follow guidelines that regulate federal agencies.

NASCAR denied that Aegis Sciences Corp., which conducts the sanctioning body's drug-testing program, must follow those regulations, and Mullen agreed in his ruling in May. Mullen also ruled in May that Mayfield had given up his right to sue on a variety of issues because of waivers he had signed with NASCAR in order to compete.

If the judge denies Mayfield's request to change his complaint, Mayfield could file the new allegations as part of a new lawsuit.

“No matter what mud is thrown by Mayfield, the case remains about Jeremy Mayfield and the fact that he tested positive multiple times for use of high levels of methamphetamines,” Poston said. “The U.S. District Court soundly dismissed the Mayfield case against NASCAR because he had absolutely no credible evidence to support any of his claims.”

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