Just a few days after Jeremy Mayfield wanted to file a missing persons report on car owner Ray Evernham, the duo visited the media to set the record straight. Friday, Mayfield alleged that perhaps one of the reasons the No. 19 Dodge was not running so well, was because Evernham's attention had been diverted from his Cup series program.
Evernham addressed Mayfield's concerns.
Evernham has been incredibly hands on in mentoring Erin Crocker's racing career as she races in the Truck and ARCA series and he has been by her side as she tries to become the first woman to really make an impact in NASCAR. Evernham stated though that he is giving no team favoritism and that growing his business is at the forefront of his mind and the main reason he has been absent from the race track.
"I don't plan on being at the track every day," Evernham commented. "I am planning on growing the business.I have not taken my focus away from performance, I don't know how to build the business and be here every weekend.
"If I need to be here to make a difference on how those cars run, then I think we have a problem. I have a lot of faith in my team directors."
While Evernham's No. 19 and No. 10 teams have experienced difficulties the No. 9 Dodge of Kasey Kahne is the hottest team on the circuit. Kahne leads the series in wins with four and has 10 top ten finishes.
Mayfield's No. 19 Dodge has no top ten's and 10 finishes of 25th or worse. The No. 10 Dodge of Scott Riggs missed the Daytona 500 and has eight results of 20th or worse.
Whatever Kahne's team is doing, the information does not seem to be trickling down to the other Evernham teams.
"It's like having three children, when you have one that's doing really good and 2 or 3 that aren't you feel bad," said Evernham of the troubles.
Mayfield seemed apologetic for comments made to the media earlier in the week and took back much of his comments. Evernham tried to balm Mayfield by reassuring that he would be the driver of the No. 19 Dodge through the end of the season.
"We're going to fix this," Evernham said. "We are finishing this year and we will continue to talk. We are both working hard top turn things around.if you are asking if there is going to be an early split this year, no there is not."
Mayfield also stated that his contract is solid and there have been no talks of parting ways, "I am frustrated but we are great friends and we will continue to be great friends no matter what happens in the future.I was presented with a question of how many years were left on my contract and if I was looking.I was asked that question.I got one year left and a two year option after that."
"We are trying everything we can.I don't know what the problem is...I can't put my finger on it that it is this guy or that guy.all I can say is it is chemistry we just haven't gelled yet."
Evernham went on to say that part of the reason he has been MIA is that 12- 13 new sponsors have diverted his attention and taking priority with his schedule.
"Those were the first two that I missed since 1993, and there will be a few more that I miss this year," Evernham stated. "We have 12-13 new sponsors this year, and that has added 40 new days of appearances for me.as the business grows you get spread pretty thin.
"I have to concentrate on business and what we are going to do to make sure we are here five years from now."
While the air seemed cleared after Mayfield and Evernham left the media center, the question still loomed as to what exactly is awry with the No. 19 Dodge and the No. 10 Dodge and what can be done to fix those issues. It's natural to backtrack after you've lambasted your boss, but a sea of digital tape recorders can't be wrong.
It was a mea culpa on Mayfield's part but the majority of media core members will still be surprised if Mayfield is in the seat of the No. 19 Dodge next season.