Team owner wants to field car for suspended NASCAR driver Mayfield
If suspended NASCAR driver Jeremy Mayfield can avoid jail time, he could have a job back behind the wheel of a racecar later this year.
ARCA team owner Roger Carter said Tuesday that he wants to put the embattled Mayfield in one of his cars.
He hopes to field a car for Mayfield in the June race at Pocono Raceway, but Carter is not sure if Mayfield can compete that soon in the Midwest-based stock-car series.
Carter currently operates Carter 2 Motorsports and has a long history of involvement in racing, including with the Sadler Brothers Racing team that put Mayfield in a Cup car for the first time in 1993.
“I was there when he started his career,” Carter said Tuesday in a phone interview. “He’s a heck of a good guy. He’s made some mistakes, no question about it. I feel like he wants to redeem himself.
“I know that he means well.”
Mayfield, who has five wins in 433 career Cup starts, cannot compete in NASCAR because of a suspension for a failed May 2009 drug test, which Mayfield disputes and has sued the sanctioning body.
That ban doesn’t cover other sanctioning bodies. An ARCA spokesman said that because Mayfield has not applied for an ARCA license, the sanctioning body has no comment.
“I feel very confident that he’s in a position where he could do it,” Carter said. “Jeremy is one heck of a good racecar driver and I think he would do well for us.”
Carter’s challenge could be getting Mayfield approved to race. Mayfield faces nine felony charges—eight involving stolen goods and one for possession of methamphetamines—in North Carolina. Those cases likely won’t be resolved until late June at the earliest.
After a court appearance Monday on five of the felony charges, Mayfield said he has talked with Carter about competing in ARCA.
“There’s a chance,” Mayfield said. “Obviously we want to get all this behind us but if that opportunity came around, I’d definitely (consider it).”
Carter said that ARCA officials want to see how Mayfield’s legal issues turn out before making a decision. He said he doesn’t blame ARCA for hesitating to approve Mayfield, especially considering its relationship with NASCAR. ARCA runs as a support series at many NASCAR events on the same weekend.
A NASCAR spokesman declined to comment on Mayfield possibly racing in ARCA.
Carter said he won’t cause controversy if Mayfield isn’t allowed to race.
“I love (ARCA officials) to death and ARCA is my favorite series and I have the utmost respect for them,” Carter said. “They’re not quite ready for this to happen yet. … I totally understand where they’re coming from.
“I respect them and whatever decisions they make, I’m going to stand by because they’ve always been so good to me.”
Carter floated the idea of putting Mayfield in his car on Facebook and the majority of the reaction has been overwhelmingly positive, he said.
He said he’s talked with Mayfield and told him that he would have to submit to an ARCA drug test and be willing to take a drug test administered by the team.
Carter, who sports decals for presidential candidate Ron Paul on his racecar, believes he could put together sponsorship for Mayfield.
“I know it wouldn’t be a problem,” he said. “I have some folks in mind that I could do that with that wouldn’t have a big issue with it.
“It would be nothing big, no corporate deals. It’s a good marketing thing on either end. It’s got some bad but it’s also got some good and so it’s just got to be the right fit with the right people.”