Friday, May 22, 2009
(Updated) NASCAR Media May Not Be Taking This Friday Off After All
Confirmed: No Mayfield lawsuit filed by the close of business on Friday. NASCAR fans can actually watch the racing and leave the legal drama until next week.
Updated: NASCAR has called a mandatory meeting of all licensed Sprint Cup Series drivers for Tuesday morning at the Research & Development Center in Concord, NC. The rumor is this closed-door meeting will address the current drug policy issues. TDP now has confirmation that Brian France and Mike Helton will be at the meeting in which drivers can ask any questions. NASCAR spokesman referring to the format as "town hall style."
Thursday was a big day at Lowe's Motor Speedway. Ryan Newman earned the pole for the Coca-Cola 600 and SPEED was on the air with NASCAR from noon through 9:30PM.
On this very unique week, the LMS track is dark on Friday as the racing focus shifts across the street to the dirt track. The SPEED TV crew follows the racing for live sprint car coverage that begins at 8PM.
The SPEED Stage rolls down the road to downtown Charlotte for the annual event called Speed Street. The Trackside bunch leaves the confines of the track and takes their act into the rowdy crowd for what should be a memorable 7PM live show. Jimmie Johnson and NASCAR Hall of Fame Director Winston Kelly are the featured guests.
The traveling NASCAR media began Thursday with the dedication of the deadline media room at the LMS infield media center in the name of David Poole. The picture above is posted courtesy of David Yeazell at The Bleacher Report, a great sports website. Poole was a strong presence on the NASCAR scene and the media dynamic of the sport is still trying to sort itself out after his passing.
While normally busy on Fridays at the track, that same deadline media bunch may now find their planned day-off rudely interrupted. It will not be by racing news, but by another chapter in the increasingly difficult to understand saga of Jeremy Mayfield.
Bill Diehl, who is Mayfield's attorney, has hinted that he may start legal action against NASCAR on Friday in a North Carolina court. It seems that Mr. Diehl is very skilled at using the media for maximum publicity in support of his client.
He appeared on Sirius Speedway with Dave Moody to issue veiled threats that NASCAR had defamed his client and once again suggested that Mayfield did not consume any recreational drug as publicly alleged by NASCAR Chairman Brian France.
While this may be a complete headache to many fans, it is big news in terms of the first official challenge to a complex and sophisticated drug testing plan newly installed by NASCAR for this season. What topic Diehl chooses to attack may finally signal for all the direction Mayfield will be taking in his legal challenge.
Unfortunately for Diehl, there is no NASCAR Now program on Friday and the only live NASCAR show scheduled for SPEED is Trackside. To make the ESPNEWS line-up or crack into SportsCenter at this time of the year, Mayfield's allegations against NASCAR would have to be earth-shattering.
It will be the Internet that carries the Friday Mayfield news and not TV. The same tired journalists who spent a long Thursday at the track will no doubt be front and center as this ugly confrontation continues to escalate. TDP will create a new post if and when all of this begins to happen.
Diehl might be well-advised to consider taking the holiday weekend to talk things over with Mayfield instead of using the off-day to try and generate even more media coverage of this issue. Fans are sounding-off in loud numbers that all this drama is turning them against Mayfield simply because of the half-truths and confusing allegations by him since the suspension was announced.
Marty Smith, Jenna Fryer, Bob Pockrass, Mike Mulhern and the rest of the media bunch were looking forward to a nice day off. Instead, they may well find themselves back on the phone and typing on the computer if Diehl follows through on his threat.
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