Settlement forces driver to apologize

Accusation taken back by Mayfield

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Jeremy Mayfield has apologized for blaming his father's death on his estranged stepmother.

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Jeremy Mayfield: Suspended driver said he blamed his stepmother of killing his father because of his emotional state.   File/Associated Press
File/Associated Press
Jeremy Mayfield: Suspended driver said he blamed his stepmother of killing his father because of his emotional state.

The public apology was part of a settlement Tuesday in a slander lawsuit Lisa Mayfield filed against the suspended NASCAR driver.

Mayfield still has a wrongful death lawsuit pending against his stepmother.

"I have previously made statements to the press in which I accused Lisa Mayfield of either murdering my father, Terry Mayfield , or being involved in a conspiracy to murder him," Mayfield said in a notarized statement.

"Those statements were made in the heat of my emotional state at the time. I now retract those statements and apologize to Lisa for having made them."

Terry Mayfield's Sept. 5, 2007, death was ruled a suicide in two separate investigations.

After Lisa Mayfield testified in a NASCAR affidavit that she had witnessed her stepson use methamphetamines, Jeremy Mayfield accused her in interviews of killing his father.

LATER START: Starting times for the Chase for the Championship will be pushed back by at least an hour in every afternoon race this year.

Day races now will start at either 2 p.m. or 3 p.m., according to a schedule released Monday by NASCAR. That means the Sprint Cup Series won't go head-to-head with the National Football League for the 1 p.m. time slot.

The season-finale at the Homestead-Miami Speedway will start at 3 p.m., assuring it will end during early prime time, the peak of the most-favorable time slot for sports.

"The 2011 broadcast schedule strikes the right balance between keeping the start times in familiar slots and highlighting the races down the stretch, building more excitement at the end of the season," said Paul Brooks , senior vice president of NASCAR. "Continuing to raise the profile of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup was also on top of our list and we believe these new start times for those 10 races will help do just that."

The Oct. 15 stop at Charlotte Motor Speedway will start at 7 p.m.

Starting times during the 26-race regular season will remain the same -- 1 p.m. for day races in the Eastern and Central time zones; 3 p.m. for west coast races; and 7:30 p.m. for night races.

The Budweiser Shootout exhibition race this Saturday night at Daytona International Speedway will start at 8 p.m. The season-opening Daytona 500 will take the green flag at 1 p.m. on Feb. 20.

CUTTING BACK: Danica Patrick is trimming her NASCAR schedule by a race.

Patrick announced Wednesday that she will drive in 12 Nationwide Series events, including the first four of the season, and compete full time in the IndyCar Series.

Patrick says she has a "much different perspective heading into this season" and that she knows "a little more of what to expect."

Patrick made 13 starts for JR Motorsports last year, her first foray into stock-car racing. Her best finish was 19th in the season finale at Homestead.

She will open her second season at Daytona next week.

SWAPPING: NASCAR approved a complicated points swap that assures Andy Lally, Paul Menard and Trevor Bayne spots in the Daytona 500.


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