Is NASCAR’s lynching of Mayfield a rerun of Tim Richmond’s lynching?

Tim Richmond, one of the sport’s up-and-coming superstars in the mid-1980s, was destined for stardom after winning six times in a Rick Hendrick ride in the 1986 season. But after a mysterious illness forced him to miss much of 1987, Richmond’s ability to race was seriously called into question.

While Richmond still hoped to continue his career, what happened next is more than enough to sicken your stomach. NASCAR bent over backwards to lie, cheat, and force that man out of the sport any way they could due to an illness they didn’t understand – one that later turned out to be AIDS. After claiming the driver failed a drug test prior to the 1988 Busch Clash, Richmond was banned indefinitely from the sport without specifics on what happened.

Well, two years after his 1990 death, we found out the ugly details behind what should have been a civil lawsuit. Dr. Forest Tennant, the man who administered the tests, was fired by NASCAR over allegedly tainting the results in 1988. Turns out, you see, that the substance Mr. Richmond tested positive for was nothing more than an over-the-counter cold remedy; but in their fear of the disease and Richmond returning to the track, the sport worked to do everything in its power to assure the “health risk" was first quarantined … then properly removed. Whether it was legal or not didn’t really matter, because the bottom line was the sport wasn’t really worried about getting caught. After all, they never had before … so why now?

All of this madness brings us back to the present day. What Mayfield is accusing the sport of is some pretty hefty stuff, I agree. If you buy his side of the argument, you have to believe in conspiracy theories and a pretty crazy stepmother that ignore family ties in favor of blatant lies that would stab her stepson square in the back. But the bottom line in this case is that NASCAR has been down this road once before. And once a precedent has been set … you can’t just dismiss a similar story when one pops up 20 years later. So many have said how outrageous Mayfield’s side of the story has become. Yet how many times have we seen power go to someone’s head to the point they start to break the law without even worrying about the consequences? Because after years of getting away with murder, they’re taught to believe there’s no situation in which they’ll ever get caught… The Frontstretch

The back and forth between NASCAR and driver Jeremy Mayfield over drug allegations has gotten so bad that in Mayfield's latest statement he describes the humiliation of having to go to the bathroom while someone watched. So what could bring it all to an end? It turns out it could come down to a piece of hair.

"It's like the bully in school," Jeremy Mayfield told NewsChannel 36 last week. "Every three to five days I go get tested."

Who ends up in victory lane may come down to the difference between urinating in a cup and pulling a hair.

"The drug that is incorporated into your hair — it stays there. You get a record, basically, of drug use with the hair," said Dr. Ruth Winecker, the chief toxicologist for the North Carolina Medical Examiner's Office.

She says there's no messing with hair. But no one has tested Mayfield's hair, just his urine samples.

"There are techniques people can use to try to cheat the system," Winecker said.

That's exactly what both sides have accused each other of doing. NASCAR says Mayfield diluted his urine even before testing positive for meth, and Mayfield says NASCAR did something to his urine.

"It's for sure a spiked sample," Mayfield said.

Because 40 minutes after the alleged positive NASCAR test, a separate sample shows Mayfield came up clean.

"There are ways that an individual can also decrease the concentration of the drug in their urine by drinking excess water," Winecker said.

But she says that's not likely in just 40 minutes.

So we asked Mayfield's attorney if they'll be testing his hair as the judge in the case suggested several weeks ago. Attorney John Buric told us they are looking at the possibility, but right now they have been told Mayfield's hair is too short.

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