Tuesday, April 19, 2011
Jeremy Mayfield Finds Equal Ground
It is a saga that is one part Talladega Nights and one part Southern Fried Stings. It has NASCAR lawyers, drunk stepmothers and wild allegations. Buzzwords like meth and urine sample clash with aero-push and tight in the middle.
Jeremy Mayfield was supposed to be in the rear-view mirror of NASCAR and fading into the distance right about now. Frozen out of the sport and mired in continuing legal action, Mayfield was yesterday's news.
In February, Mayfield's name suddenly appeared as a featured in-studio guest on SPEED's Race Hub program. This one-hour show airs at 7PM Monday through Thursday and is hosted by SPEED and FOX veteran Steve Byrnes.
Many media outlets, including this one, worked hard to promote the appearance after being told Mayfield would be allowed to speak his mind. It would be a good way to get things settled before Daytona and the beginning of the Sprint Cup Series season. Instead, the result was quite the opposite.
Click here to read a post from Dave Grayson at Racing West.com about the topic.
Here is an excerpt:
WAZZUP with last Tuesday's live television interview with Jeremy Mayfield on the SPEEDs Race Hub program? The promos suggested that the embattled driver was finally going to get to tell his side of the story. What we saw instead was a vague interview that offered nothing new. I truly felt sorry for host Steve Byrnes who had to carefully navigate his way through an interview that was a waste of perfectly good television time.
One had the feeling that Mayfield had been carefully coached by attorneys to be extremely careful regarding comments on his legal issues with NASCAR. "I've got a lot things to say that I can't obviously because of the litigation," he said during the interview. "I don't want to get into any more trouble whatsoever by what I'm saying. It's just hard because, when you're in this situation, there's a lot of anger now and things could come out that wouldn't be good for either one of us. It's tough when you walk around everyday and you get the chance to finally tell your side of the story, there's so much more to it that would really enlighten a lot of things that you just can't tell."
Well, that was Mayfield on TV back in February. Now, he is singing a much different tune. The theme of his current complaint is that SPEED "got the call" after his Race Hub interview was recorded. That call was supposedly from NASCAR.
Mayfield recently referred to the Race Hub situation in a rambling interview at the CaptainThunder.com website. Click here for the entire interview including the audio portion.
Here is an excerpt:
I had a great interview with the SPEED Channel about a month ago with Steve Byrnes, the best one ever. It was going to be great! I couldn't wait for them to air it. It was honest. From his (Byrnes) point of view, he was asking me honest questions that I could answer, he wasn't trying to set me up. Everything was great and then NASCAR gets wind of it.
Paul Brooks (President of the NASCAR Media Group) calls Hunter Nickell (President of SPEED) and says, "If you air this show with Mayfield on it, it's going to jeopardize our relationship." So, they took out everything I said, anything that amounted to anything at all...took it all out and basically made me look like an idiot on TV, like I wasn't saying anything. That's what I'm dealing with.
So, rather than solve a problem as it was originally intended, the Race Hub interview controversy has created another one. This time around, however, something is different. Mayfield has discovered Twitter.
Few communication technologies have impacted NASCAR as much as Twitter. It has established a NASCAR information superhighway that can yield amazing results. Suddenly, Mayfield has a very effective forum to air his complaints about Race Hub and NASCAR.
Although with still a relatively small amount of followers, Mayfield has found a theme that seems to resonate with some fans. He continually points his finger at NASCAR Chairman Brian France as the wizard behind the curtain controlling the action. That ranges from Mayfield's original drug test to the supposedly doctored Race Hub interview.
Now without real access to TV, radio or the mainstream media it should be interesting to watch and see how Twitter works for the Mayfields as they continue to ultimately battle for what they see as justice.
We will keep you posted as the season rolls along. Twitter is free and available to anyone by going to twitter.com or downloading a free mobile app. We welcome your comments on this topic. To add your opinion, just click on the comments button below. Thanks for stopping by The Daly Planet.