MAYFIELD, EVERNHAM MOTORSPORTS INK MULTI-YEAR AGREEMENT -- Ray Evernham, President and CEO of Evernham Motorsports, announced today a multi-year contract extension with Jeremy Mayfield, driver of the No. 19 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge ...
MAYFIELD, EVERNHAM MOTORSPORTS INK MULTI-YEAR AGREEMENT -- Ray Evernham, President and CEO of Evernham Motorsports, announced today a multi-year contract extension with Jeremy Mayfield, driver of the No. 19 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Charger.
EVERNHAM "I was going to make an announcement, but Jeremy was 15 minutes late and left me sitting here, so I'm not sure.
MAYFIELD "I guess I'll be looking for something else next year since I was late."
EVERNHAM "Jeremy and I have been together for four years and we've decided again on a long-commitment, and I hope Jeremy stays with us for the rest of his career. He's been a big contributor to Evernham Motorsports growth. I've got a lot of faith in him. He's a guy that can run the car in the top 10 every week, everywhere we go. He's a consistent candidate for The Chase, and he does a great job. We've become good friends. I'm glad we've got this done and were able to get it out of the way and have a good long-term partnership."
MAYFIELD "I feel the same way. Ray's been very good to me, helping me mature more as a driver. I told him awhile back I'd hate to be on the outside looking in racing against this team. I know where it's going. I know what all we've got going on and all the good things that are happening for Evernham Motorsports in the future, and I'm certainly glad to be part of that. Like he said, I hope to be here for the rest of my career, and I hope it's for a long time. If we can do that and retire here, I'll feel like I had a great career. I'd also like to say that Ray and I started out on a rocky road there for awhile and all of a sudden it turned the corner and we became real good friends. We've raced each other, too, on the side. I make him mad every once in awhile, and he makes me mad, but we still continue on with our relationship."
EVERNHAM "I don't want to go into specifics about the contract, but it's a long-term commitment and it should hopefully take Jeremy to a place in his career and he'll be old enough then to decide if he wants to continue or not.
"Be watching for some exciting announcements on Kasey in the next couple of weeks, and we are working on a third team. We're very, very close. Again, nothing is ever done until you have it in your hand, but we are very close there. We're going to have to hang the help wanted sign on the door looking for someone to come and drive it for us. We're really close. Hopefully within the next month, either before or around Daytona in July we'll either have to say yes we're going to do it and make an announcement or pull the plug on it."
MAYFIELD "I'm not sure (of reason for Dover success). We've just run good here. We've had great cars, and this track seems to fit our styles. You've still got to have good equipment. We didn't bring back the same car we've had here the past couple of races. We brought a whole brand new car, which is an Evernham Motorsports chassis car. It's just as fast. It's pretty much the way the team and myself get the right setup. I've always liked it and we've always run good here. It's one of those places you go to and you've got confidence coming into it. You run good and you just like the place. That's the way I am. It's not just one thing you can pinpoint what you're doing right or wrong. I know we've got a good setup here and we work well as a team. If I knew I'd tell you, but I'm not sure. We just like it and like coming here.
"I'm very excited to continue on with Evernham Motorsports. I'm proud to be part of that, and I'm looking forward to the future. I see so many things ahead we've got going on that's going to benefit the team. This guy here (Evernham) is the leader and he's always pushing for better things. That's what's exciting for me. You never see an end to where it's going. There's always a big picture and that's what's cool about it."
EVERNHAM "We're all going to be at Michigan. We're going to run the 91 there also. We felt it would be better, so we pushed her (Erin Crocker) off Pocono (ARCA race). She's got five more ARCA races for us this year. She's running her Outlaw Sprint Car, and it looks like she'll have five Busch Races for us. We're going to put out a schedule, but her Busch races won't start until September. We're working on some announcements. A lot of great things are happening for Evernham Motorsports right now. Erin, Kasey and Jeremy, there will be a lot of announcements coming up in the next few months. A lot of things are right on the verge of signing the contracts. It'll be exciting. Tommy Baldwin used a percentage. He said 89 percent, so I'm 89 percent sure you're going to hear in the next month or so. You're going to hear about Erin Crocker for next year. Our goal right now is to have her and Kasey share a car (Busch car) next season.
MAYFIELD "We're still starting 13th. It's not like we're not like in the back somewhere. We certainly would have liked to have a shot at the pole. It could have been in jeopardy today, but we were fast in practice. You always look back and wonder where you would have been if you'd qualified, but Dover is coming up after this one. We'll try then."
EVERNHAM "I really can't speak to where it's pressure or not, but a lot of girls that have come through NASCAR and done a really good job -- Shawna Robinson, Patty Moise. The biggest issue is I don't think any of the female drivers have been given a chance and put in the right equipment. Bobby Rahal and David Lettermen are doing that for Danica and she's doing a great job. What we hope to do with Erin and hopefully some girls that will follow her is to put them in the right situations. I don't feel there's pressure on NASCAR. Certainly the TV ratings on Indy were up and that was possibly because of Danica, but NASCAR has been aware of the whole diversity issue, not just from the girls that will follow her is to put them in the right situations. I don't feel there's pressure on NASCAR. Certainly the TV ratings on Indy were up and that was possibly because of Danica, but NASCAR has been aware of the whole diversity issue, not just from the female side, but from the minority side, too. It's something that's the right thing to do, and as I said here, I believe that Erin Crocker has the talent to be a superstar in NASCAR. If we do the right things and find the right sponsorships, you will see her make a big name for herself and have a big impact on this sport."
"When you said 137 cautions, I said, 'well he (Mayfield) caused three of them.' Then I started thinking, 'Kasey has probably caused 10 of them.' We've tore up some cars. What happened last week, I don't what Mark Martin said and I feel the same way. It's the most ridiculous thing I ever saw. We've got to do a better job. We tear up a lot of cars at Bristol and Talladega. We don't need to be tearing up a lot of cars at Charlotte and places like that. It's too expensive and it takes too long to fix those things up. Right now there are a lot of wrecked cars sitting around our shop. The sheet metal guys have been business than anybody."
MAYFIELD "I don't know if it's more aggressive driving or whatever, but the cars are more on edge than they've ever been. It doesn't take much to get out of shape. Guys are racing hard, and it seems to me that there's no cushion there. It used to be if you got loose you could drive through it. Nowadays it seems like you just lose it and you can't gather it back in. That's why you're seeing more and more. Like Kurt Busch was behind me last week and we were going down turn one. You look up and he just loses it. We did the same thing in the Busch race the night before. We've been running through the corner perfect all night long and all of a sudden it just comes out from under you and you can't save it. I don't know why or couldn't tell you the reason why that's happening. The cushion we used to have just isn't there anymore. That's part of what Mark made a comment on (bump drafting). That's crazy. I've never bump drafted at Charlotte. Every once in awhile you might get a good run on a guy and bump him, but I don't think it's bump drafting. It's something else you don't want to be a part of, and it's definitely uncalled for. Some of it was the racetrack's fault. It's different than it's ever been. It didn't have grip. It was changing all night. Every time you went around there it was changing. I think the racetrack needs to take some responsibility for it. It's the first time we'd ever been there and had that many cautions."
EVERNHAM "If it were about business and about getting press, it would be tempting (to push Erin Crocker), but it's about helping somebody I believe in. I believe I have somewhat of a process, and I've seen too many people get thrown into a high-pressure situation too soon and it ruins their career. I care about the people that work for me and the people that drive for me. It's not about making money. I want to help her. I want her to succeed and in order to do that the worst thing in the world we could do is create a bunch of press and a bunch of stuff and then not have her have the experience. She has the talent, but this is a tough, tough business and it takes time to learn it. We want to make sure she gets a proper shot at doing it.
"Have you met Erin? She's a fiery little redhead. She's not patient. She blasts me. We always kid around that she's the daughter I never had because everybody tells her that she's a lot like me. She'll rip you in a heartbeat. The other day somebody asked her what it's like to drive for Ray Evernham and she said, 'I don't know. I've only driven for him once.' We've had her in the Busch car testing and in the ARCA car testing. She's going Monday and Tuesday to Michigan to test with Bill, and she understands that if we're going to perform on the track she's got some more learning to do.
"The bottom line is you've still got to produce. You can only ride so long on being a female or a minority. A gimmick only lasts so long. In the end you've got to produce and Danica Patrick is producing. When we get her where she needs to be, she'll produce, too."
MAYFIELD "I've got to say one thing. Ray and I went to drive sprint cars in New Jersey a couple of years ago. We know how hard those things are to drive. Then here comes Erin and has won a World of Outlaws race. That right there got my attention. I know it got Ray's for sure. We barely got around there by ourselves with nobody but ourselves running. She's definitely got the talent to win races at this level for sure."