DAYTONA BEACH — On Wednesday, driver/owner Jeremy Mayfield was granted an injunction that allows him to race while his lawsuit against NASCAR over a contested drug suspension works its way through the legal system.
But he missed Thursday morning's deadline for entering the Coke Zero 400, and he didn't have any prospects for filling a seat for another team.
And the court of driver opinion was harsh.
Kasey Kahne, a former teammate, said, "I really don't know how Jeremy got out of this," referring to a positive test on May 1.
"Everybody out here wants to race hard and race clean. If people are up to other things, they should go do those things by themselves and not be on a racetrack going 200 mph with other racers."
NASCAR, which said the drug in question was methamphetamines, suspended Mayfield indefinitely. Mayfield says he took a decongestant and medications for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
Ryan Newman said he would consider his safety and Mayfield's competence if they raced near each other.
"As a federal judge, when you release somebody to go back and do that without necessarily, in my eyes, clarifying everything, that's not cool," he said. "People make mistakes. I just hope the judge didn't make one."
Carl Edwards' reluctance to comment — "I think speculation is damaging for everyone," he said — was the closest to support for Mayfield, who said he recently laid off 10 employees and is using personal assets to keep his team running.
Four car owners — Tommy Baldwin, Larry Gunselman, Joe Nemechek and Phil Parsons — told the Associated Press they would not put Mayfield in a car this weekend if he came looking to drive.
"Whether he's right or wrong … right now, he's marked," Baldwin said. "And that's going to hurt him probably for the rest of his career."
Very serious: Drivers said the urine-testing procedures have involved more paperwork and seemed more thorough since Mayfield was suspended on May 9. NASCAR cited a procedural improvement instituted by its testing firm.
SPARK PLUGS: David Ragan led the first practice session with a top lap of 190.714 mph. … Zephyrhills' David Reutimann led the final session at 192.135. … Sam Hornish and Greg Biffle were involved in a crash during practice for Saturday' night's race. Neither driver was injured. Both cars hit the wall and sustained right-side damage.