Mayfield exceeding his, and everyone's, expectations FONTANA, Calif. (May 4, 1998) It's only 10 races into the NASCAR Winston Cup Series season, but Jeremy Mayfield is pinching himself. Never in his wildest dreams did he ever ...
Mayfield exceeding his, and everyone's, expectations FONTANA, Calif. (May 4, 1998) It's only 10 races into the NASCAR Winston Cup Series season, but Jeremy Mayfield is pinching himself. Never in his wildest dreams did he ever expect to be leading the points race at NASCAR's highest level.
The driver of the No. 12 Mobil 1 Ford Taurus charged into the top spot for the first time in his young NASCAR Winston Cup Series career Sunday following the California 500 Presented by NAPA at California Speedway. He finished second to Mark Martin in Sunday's 250-lap event, while former points leader and Mayfield's Penske-Kranefuss teammate Rusty Wallace had engine failure and wound up finishing 34th.
Mayfield leads two-time NASCAR Winston Cup Series champion Terry Labonte by 36 points. Another two-time titlist who also happens to be the defending champ, Jeff Gordon, is in third, 47 points behind Mayfield. And Wallace, the 1989 champion, fell to fourth, 50 points ahead of fifth-place Martin.
"Well, it feels pretty good," said Mayfield, who in spite of his great start is still searching for his first career win in NASCAR's top series. "It hasn't sunk in yet, it'll sink in later on. We just gotta take it one week at a time like we've been doing.
"My hat's off to all these guys (on the Mobil 1 crew). Man, they've worked so hard and they deserve this. They deserve a win and we just keep coming up a little bit short, but one of these days we're gonna get one."
The second-place finish at California was the best of Mayfield's NASCAR Winston Cup Series career.
The Penske-Kranefuss team had high expectations coming into the season following an off-season transaction that saw Roger Penske acquire Carl Haas' half of Kranefuss-Haas Racing. The aquisition resulted in Mayfield and Wallace becoming teammates, and both have apparently benefitted greatly.
Mayfield , whose 13th-place points finish in 1997 was a career-best, has six top-10 and five top-five finishes in 10 starts in 1998. With $888,415 in prize money, he is the fourth-leading money winner in the series this season behind Dale Earnhardt, Bobby Labonte and Martin.
Martin has won three races this season, while Labonte has been to Victory Lane twice already in 1998. Earnhardt opened the season with a big paycheck, winning the Daytona 500. Mayfield hopes to join them all in the win column soon.
Source: NASCAR Online