Jason Myers talks about his battle with depression UPDATE The lawsuit reveals just how much a NASCAR crew chief in the Nationwide series earns:
# Myers had a two-year contract with Roush. The contract went from Jan. 2, 2008 to Dec. 31, 2010.
# Myers earned a base salary of $110,472.96 as car chief for the 99 car of Carl Edwards. Myers was due to receive an annual salary increase of a minimum 4 percent (just over $4,400). He also, at the time of signing the contract, was a rear tire changer on the 99 team (a position he stepped out of early in the 2008 season because of an injury). He was to be paid $625 a week as long as he was a rear tire changer. Multiply that by 38 total races and that's more than $23,000 to change tires. Carry that out to a 52-week pay period and that would be $32,500.
# He also was eligible to receive money from Roush's "prize money'' bonus pool, the aggregate amount of which comes from prize money earnings received from NASCAR based upon on-track performance. The contract states that the team determines how much goes into that bonus pool and how it is to be divided. Also, when Myers was on the pit crew, he was eligible for bonuses for that group also. Again, the team determined how much went into the pool and how it was to be paid.
# Myers also was to receive a company car, according to the contract, along with insurance coverage and payment for gasoline usage or he could receive an allowance of $725 a month to cover any and all costs of obtaining and operating a car.
# There's a clause that should Myers leave the team during the term of his employment and through the end of the first full fiscal year of Roush following termination that he cannot attempt to induce any employee of Roush to quit or alter employment with Roush; cannot interfere with or disrupt Roush's relationship with any of its employees; cannot solicit, entice, take away or employ any person employed by Roush; or cannot attempt to induce any employee of Roush to disclose confidential information. 08/11/09 Jason Myers could put up a front as the car chief for Carl Edwards. He could pretend that there wasn’t anything wrong with him as he went about his work and did his job for a Roush Fenway Racing team that was challenging for the NASCAR Sprint Cup title.
But when he would get to his room during the race weekend or was just sitting at home on his day off, Myers says things weren’t so good. It wouldn’t matter if the No. 99 car had a good day or bad day in practice or the race.
“You just sort of feel like, hopeless,” Myers says. “Hopeless was the best word I can think of. You just feel like your life is kind of crappy. … It just gets a little worse the more time that goes on. You don’t ever express anything. Everything just stays inside. You just keep it inside.” zzzz
Myers was suffering from depression, although he says he didn’t realize it at first when the feelings began midway through the 2007 season. He says the depression eventually led to three suicide attempts, the most serious one coming less than a week before the 2009 Daytona 500 and hospitalizing him for three days.
Within a week, Myers says he had been fired, which he claims in a lawsuit was in violation of the Family Medical Leave Act. Roush Fenway Racing President Geoff Smith, while declining to talk about the specific reasons why Myers was released, calls the lawsuit frivolous and says that in these tough economic times, people will sue after being released. Smith says that he’s “surprised Jason wishes to publicly expose all the facts surrounding his private life, his working life and how they are interrelated instead of simply moving on” and that the team is “going to let all the facts play out in court.”
Whether the team had other reasons to release him or whether Myers has a legitimate legal claim might not be revealed for more than a year. Roush Fenway Racing, which moved this week to have the case transferred out of a North Carolina state court to federal court, still must respond to the lawsuit. and then both sides likely would enter an investigative phase into Myers’ claims, go through mediation, and, if there is no settlement, have the issue decided by a judge or jury. More at scenedaily.com