Suspended NASCAR driver Jeremy Mayfield must wait until next week for a judge to rule whether his suspension for a failed drug test should be overturned.
Mayfield filed a lawsuit Friday challenging the indefinite suspension, saying NASCAR did not follow its drug-testing policies and left the driver with no way to prove his innocence.
Mecklenburg County Superior Court Judge Forrest Bridges set a hearing for Wednesday, saying an immediate ruling was not necessary because Mayfield Motorsports is not racing this weekend. A different judge will preside over that hearing, but Bridges warned both sides not to discuss Mayfield's test results in the meantime.
NASCAR suspended Mayfield on May 9 after he failed a random drug test, and Mayfield's attorneys acknowledged in court Friday that NASCAR told Mayfield he had tested positive for amphetamines. They said the driver was taking Adderall for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and Claritin-D for allergies.
According to the lawsuit, the medical review officer informed Mayfield on May 7 that his "A" sample had tested positive.
NASCAR has said that Mayfield requested the backup "B" sample be tested the next day, May 8. But in the court documents Mayfield says he never requested or gave permission for the "B" sample to be tested.
"Despite the fact that Mayfield had 72 hours to request that his Sample B be tested by a laboratory of his Mayfield's choosing, NASCAR, through its agents and without Mayfield's written or oral permission, consent or knowledge, tested Sample B on May 9, before the 72 hours had passed," the lawsuit said. "Consequently, there is no clean Sample B Bottle for Mayfield to test. NASCAR, Aegis, Dr. Black and Aukerman's conduct violates the Guidelines and Procedure. There is no unopened sample to confirm or refute Aegis' test results."
That, Mayfield's attorneys argued, left him with few options if the court doesn't intervene.
"We just didn't agree to travel the road to recovery, because we don't need to be on that highway," Mayfield attorney Bill Diehl told the court. "Jeremy Mayfield isn't a drug abuser or user."
Among those attending Friday's hearing were NASCAR president Mike Helton and Mayfield's wife, Shana.
Diehl said after the hearing that the team hopes to race at Pocono next weekend.
In the lawsuit, Mayfield specifically called out NASCAR chairman Brian France and Dr. David Black, the administrator of NASCAR's drug-testing program, for comments they have made about the case.
"France and Black made such statements out of spite, personal ill will and personal malice toward Mayfield with the express intention of damaging his personal and business reputation and making him an example of NASCAR's power to suspend a driver/team owner, based upon numerous violations of its flawed drug policy," the court documents read.
Also listed as defendants are: NASCAR; Aegis Sciences Corp., which conducts the sport's drug testing; and Douglas F. Aukerman, the program's medical review officer.
Mayfield has insisted from the beginning that the mix of a prescription drug with over-the-counter allergy medication led to his positive test May 1 in Richmond, Va. In addition, Mayfield _ when asked whether he had used any inhalants _ even mentioned that he inhaled a significant amount of fumes after being involved in a fiery wreck at Talladega in late April, according to the lawsuit.
Black has repeatedly rejected Mayfield's explanation that the positive test was the result of a combination of a prescription drug and Claritin. NASCAR emphasized in court Friday that the test also found "a dangerous, illegal, banned substance."
"We're in an ultra hazardous sport," NASCAR attorney Paul Hendrick told the court. "You cannot allow people to drive on tracks that have issues related to drug abuse or a positive test."
France has described Mayfield's test as a "serious violation" of the substance-abuse policy, and he categorized that as use of a performance-enhancer or a recreational drug. A person familiar with the test results has told The Associated Press the positive test was not for performance-enhancers, meaning the positive test resulted from an illegal recreational drug.
"We look forward to the next step in this process in which we will have the opportunity to fairly present our side of this situation, and we have every confidence in our ability to do that," NASCAR spokesman Kerry Tharp said outside court. "As the sport's sanctioning body we have the responsibility to regulate and maintain the integrity of our sport and we are committed to doing just that."
Mayfield was the first driver to be suspended under NASCAR's new drug policy. Earlier this week, NASCAR suspended its sixth crew member for a failed drug test.
NASCAR toughened its testing policy this season, in part because former Truck Series driver Aaron Fike admitted to using heroin, even on days he raced. It led the sanctioning body to implement mandatory preseason testing for all drivers and crews, as well as random testing throughout the season.
Previously, NASCAR tested only on reasonable suspicion. Now, at least four drivers, 10 crew members 2 NASCAR officials from all three national series are tested at every event.
AP Auto Racing Writer Jenna Fryer contributed to this report.