Monday, May 18, 2009

Mayfield Needs Grant's Attorney To Fight NASCAR

By Jerry Bonkowski

Pssst, Jeremy Mayfield, I've got some advice for you. Go grab a pen and paper. I'll wait.

Okay, now write this number down and then call it as soon as you can: 212-751-9800.

When the receptionist answers, ask for Uncle Benny, the guy in charge. Say you were recommended and referred by "a friend," and that you have a big problem with a word that has become near and dear to Benny's heart: NASCAR.

And if NASCAR finds out you're dealing with him, you'll probably be back racing in no time. Trust me on this one.

With the exception of his surprise appearance Saturday at the Sprint All-Star Race, Mayfield has been lying especially low and holding his cards extremely close to the vest.

Rumors have floated that Mayfield is looking for the right legal team to represent him in a potential lawsuit against NASCAR for his indefinite suspension after testing positive on a drug screening test.

So, J-man, call Uncle Benny right now. I'm betting he'll be VERY glad to hear from you.

So who is this mysterious Uncle Benny? Well, his legal name is Benedict P. Morelli and he's the lead principal in the New York City-based powerhouse legal firm of Morelli Ratner PC (and no, the PC does not stand for politically correct).

Sound familiar yet? No?

Okay, what if I give you another name: Mauricia Grant. Ring a bell?

Alright, let's cut to the chase – and I'm not talking about the Chase for the Sprint Cup.

Morelli represented Grant, a former NASCAR at-track official, in her $225 million sexual harassment and racial discrimination case against NASCAR last year.

When Grant's suit first became public, NASCAR chairman Brian France publicly said the sanctioning body would vigorously defend itself against her allegations, further stating that he felt they were, for the most part, baseless.

That was until Uncle Benny stepped into the picture. Within just a few months, before the case ever saw the inside of a New York federal courtroom, Morelli made France eat his words and eventually cave to agreeing on a multi-million dollar out-of-court settlement that left Grant "very happy" and with "closure so she could move on," Uncle Benny would proudly say afterward.

If you go to Uncle Benny's legal firm's Web site,, you'll see his proud face with a semi-smug smile staring back at you.

I mean, the guy looks like something out of The Sopranos, someone you don't want to mess around with. I wouldn't be surprised if he has a couple of brothers or cousins named Vito and Carmine.

NASCAR made the mistake of trying to mess around with Morelli and Grant, and if rumors are to be believed, wound up paying a price north of $20 million for that foolish mistake – while NASCAR's own lawyers slinked off into anonymity to lick their wounds and swallow their pride.

Now, Jeremy, I want you to pay particular attention to Morelli's bio, right there under his picture. His firm specializes in a number of areas, particularly victims of DRUG LITIGATION, EMPLOYMENT DISCRIMINATION, MEDICAL NEGLIGENCE, MEDICAL MALPRACTICE, LABOR LAW and GENERAL NEGLIGENCE.

I've capitalized those particular specialties because Mayfield's case could potentially fall under some or all of those same areas.

I especially like one of the firm's publicity statements: "Morelli Ratner PC never hesitates, no matter how powerful the adversary."

So, Jeremy, pick up the phone and call Uncle Benny right away. I'm sure he'll love to talk with you. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if hasn't been patiently waiting to hear from you already.

If you make that call, don't be surprised if Uncle Benny shows a great deal of interest in your case, and then says something like, "NASCAR did WHAT to you? I guess they never learn. Guess we'll have to teach 'em a lesson all over again."

Oh, and Jeremy, when Uncle Benny wins that big settlement for you, just like he did for Mauricia, I expect more than just a few words of thanks. Rather, I'll be expecting a 10 percent finder's fee.


  1. Let's hope that Jeremy is telling the truth.

    Because as much as he swears up and down that he's not a druggie and that he got nailed for an OTC - prescription drug mix, and he sounds very convincing stating his case, I got two words: Roger Clemens.

    I understand that the situations between the two men are different; after all, NASCAR has provided NOTHING to back up its claims that Jeremy failed the drug test; if Jeremy is to be believed, they haven't even told him what he tested positive for. Clemens, on the other hand, has everything ranging from syringes that he allegedly used to his own teammate and close friend's sworn testimony saying that they discussed taking PED's as evidence against him.

    I guess my point is that I hope for his sake Jeremy is telling the truth and not buying into this "the whole world is against me and I'm the only one telling the truth" bunker-mentality that Clemens has withdrawn into. Not only would he be doing himself a huge disservice, he would also be doing a huge disservice to future drivers who might legitimately have an issue about their drug test and would have to overcome that stigma that he left behind.

    Since NASCAR has certainly taken its fair share of bashing lately, it's just something to think about.

  2. I find it amazing that you would recommend that Mayfield bet what might be left of his career on rumors. The amazing thing about the Grant matter is that after all these months and with all the media having such allegedly good sources in the garage, no one has come forth to back up her assertions. If the media really wanted to get to the truth, rather than just have something to beat up on NASCAR with, some member of the media would have called on Mayfield publicly, on camera Saturday at LMS to demand that NASCAR release all the details of his tests.

  3. Richard - at this point, Jeremy knows exactly what NASCAR says he is guilty of. If it is legit, he should shut up, do the rehab, and beg Nascar to take him back.

    If it is a BS test result, he should hire the best lawyers he can afford to force NASCAR to do the right thing.

  4. Ya 'know, I may be 'playing into NASCAR's hand' here, but I can honestly say I'm pretty much done with wanting to bicker and banter about who's right and who's wrong in the Mayfield case. It seems to have turned the corner toward 'something to write about' because there's really nothing else that is perceived as exciting enough to generate interest...

    So, for me, I'm getting back to thinking about racing and the real challenges that NASCAR is facing THIS SUNDAY with the 600 in Charlotte.

    Call me crazy, but I'm more worried that the positives and excitement of a GREAT AllStar Race may be lost to the boredom of a 600 mile race that I've written about HERE.

  5. "The amazing thing about the Grant matter is that after all these months and with all the media having such allegedly good sources in the garage, no one has come forth to back up her assertions."

    Riiiiiight. Tell us, if this was YOUR job would you open your mouth to a reporter to back a departed co-worker who filed a multi-million dollar sexual harassment and racial discrimination lawsuit against your employer? Because I can tell you, with a high degree of certainty, that once your employer gets finds out about what you did, your career there is pretty much finished.

    Out of fear for their jobs, NO ONE in the garage area was going to back her up, much less talk to the media about it. I don't care how noble you are; if opening your mouth is going to affect putting food on the table to feed the mouths at home, the choice is pretty clear. And if they did so anonymously, there would no doubt be a whole chorus of people who scoff about an anonymous source. In fact, on this very blog there are posters who scoff at anonymous sources, not realizing that some of the best sources are anonymous. Damned if you do and damned if you don't. Harping on the media for not going into the garage area to back up her allegations? Please, spare us the self-righteous indignation.

    Just because NASCAR neither admitted nor denied Grant's accusations in their settlement of the lawsuit doesn't mean it didn't happen. NASCAR sure wasted no time in firing Tim Knox and Bud Moore, the two officials that she named in her lawsuit; they also wasted no time digging up dirt on Grant's past (she had a DUI and a stalking allegation by a former boyfriend) and smugly declaring that "there are always at least two sides to every story". Typical defense attorney tactic: When you can't defend the indefensible, smear the accuser. And if there were two sides to the story, we will never know, because apparently NASCAR never wanted us to hear THEIR side of the story; they settled that lawsuit so quickly it made everyone's collective heads spin.

    Were some of her accusations incredible? Yes, they were, and she would have had a hell of a time trying to prove them in a court of law. Faced with those odds, Ben Morelli STILL stood nose-to-nose right up to NASCAR, a mutli-million dollar corporation, and they blinked first. The bottom line is that the two parties settled the lawsuit and we'll never know the full story.

    I will agree with one thing you said: The media had a great opportunity to ask Jeremy Mayfield point blank about the test and/or releasing the results on Saturday. I highly doubt that Mayfield would have said or done anything that would hurt a potential lawsuit against NASCAR, but what the hell, it doesn't hurt to ask, right?

  6. If Jeremy is proven to be right - and I think it just might happen - then what does it say about a major sponsor of NASCAR racing - Claritin? They should be helping here.. I mean Jeremy is saying that he took this and a prescritpion drug and they interacted. What does the maker of Clairin have to say about it all?? Will they come to his defense? I think they should be helping to answer some of these questions right about now.

  7. "What does the maker of Clairin have to say about it all?? Will they come to his defense? I think they should be helping to answer some of these questions right about now."

    You said it yourself in your post, "Jeremy is saying that he took this [Claritin]".

    All we have to go on is Jeremy Mayfield's word that what caused the positive test was a combination of Claritin and a prescription drug. There's no record (at least a public record) of what exactly it is that was found in his system.

    Claritin has no business getting involved in this (and legally it would be unwise for them to do so) until and if the results are revealed (which may very well be never) and there is definitive proof that their product helped cause a positive test.

    NASCAR and Aegis Labs are adamant that the result of Mayfield's test could not be achieved by mixing Claritin and a prescription drug. It remains to be seen where exactly the truth lies.

  8. Oh Jerry keep these idiots agreeing with you entertained is not hard is it OH you love the NASCAR sport then putting it down for what TNT does Still agreeing with druggie Mayfield and offering him who to pick as a lawyer
    If you really love NASCAR stop writing youre a joke


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