Tuesday, Sept. 7, 2004. Dodge Motorsports Teleconference Ryan Newman Jeremy Mayfield Jamie McMurray Richmond Advance, Last Race to Qualify for the Chase JEREMY MAYFIELD (No. 19 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge) NOTE: Mayfield ranks 14th in the ...
Tuesday, Sept. 7, 2004.
Dodge Motorsports Teleconference
Richmond Advance, Last Race to Qualify for the Chase
JEREMY MAYFIELD (No. 19 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge)
NOTE: Mayfield ranks 14th in the standings, 55 points out of 10th place with three drivers to pass to get there. He finished 11th, 22nd and 16th in the past three races and dropped from 10th to 14th.
"California and Bristol were two pretty bad weeks. We just didn't perform as we needed to and fell back in the points. That's pretty much what happened to us. We're going to run harder and do something different than we did at California and Bristol for sure. We've just got to go in there and run hard and hope all the guys in front of us make big mistakes and we don't. That's all we can do. We've got to go in there and win the race. If we make it in, fine. If we don't, I guess we just didn't make it."
MENTALLY, HOW DO YOU FEEL GOING INTO RICHMOND?
"Mentally, you've got to put it behind you, and it's not behind me yet. I'm still (upset) about it. You've just got to go on and get over it and go to Richmond open minded and do all you can. We have no choice. We've got to go in there and win the race and have 13-second stops all night. We can't go in there and run like we did last week or the week before and you also can't put pressure on yourself and try to go in there and make it all up in one week. We should have done this two or three weeks ago and we would have been all right. We've got to go in there now and try to make up everything we've lost in the last couple of weeks and it's going to be hard to do. It's going to be hard to do."
HOW IMPORTANT WILL IT BE TO UNLOAD FAST AT RICHMOND?
"We tested there and had a great test. We've got to go in there and roll off the truck fast, be fast in practice and qualifying. We've got to do a lot of good stuff to overcome this. All you can do is do the best you can and at the end of the night know we did all we can do. I can't say that about Saturday night (Sunday night at California Speedway). We had several bad stops that kept putting us behind, and I can't say we did all we can do. I want to be able to leave Richmond saying we did all we could do and we had the best of everything and that we had good stops all night and nobody made mistakes. Maybe you'll know you did everything you could do that night anyway. We had a great test there, and the car ran really good. That's all you can do, try to lead every lap and do everything you can. Hopefully at the end of the night you're in the top 10 in the points."
WHY DID THE BAD PIT STOPS HAPPEN?
"I have no idea. They do a great job every week, practicing and all that stuff. Then you come in second and go out ninth, come in seventh and go out 18th. I have no idea why it happened. It's just hard to swallow. It's the time we had to step up and we didn't do it, and if you don't do it, then you don't deserve to be in the top 10 anyway. You've got to keep working hard and do the best you can and get prepared for Richmond this week. Hopefully they're on their game and I'll be on mine and the car will be on its game and we'll do the best we can. We'll give it all we've got, and hopefully at the end of the night we'll be in the top 10."
WILL YOU TALK TO PIT CREW?
"I'm not mad at them for what happened. I'm not sure what happened on the stops, but I know it's not OK. That's something I can't swallow when you get out of the car they say it'll be all right, well, it's not all right. We've got to fix something and figure out what happened to the guys, but you know we've got to go on, put it behind us and race and go to win Richmond. That's all we can do."
HOW WILL YOU REACT TO THIS NOW OR NEVER SITUATION?
"I pretty much feel like I'm in that situation all the time. I've never been in a situation where everything is great and you don't have to run every lap as hard as you can. I don't really know. All I know is that I've got to go to Richmond and do all I can as a driver and go for it. I've never been in that situation, but I've also never been in one where everything is great, either. There's always been a lot of pressure in every situation I've ever been in, so there's nothing any different going into this week. It's just not right. You can't come into this deal and expect to make it all up in one week. I'm the first one to say you can't be conservative when you're in that situation, and I feel like the last couple of weeks we haven't performed like we needed to. Now all we can do is go to Richmond and get all the points you can, but it's going to be tough."
IS QUALIFYING MORE IMPORTANT?
"I don't know if it's any more important than it is any other week. It's definitely going to be the most important thing for us this week. We've got to sit on the pole and win the race and lead all the laps. That means when we come in second we've got to go back out second. That means when we come in 10th, we've got to go 7th. We've got to execute this week like we never have before. If that means qualifying on the pole, that's what we've got to do. We've got to be on our game this week, and that starts with qualifying."
IF YOU DON'T MAKE THE FINAL 10, WHAT THEN?
"It would be a reality check and let you know you could have done this and this and this. There are probably a lot of things I could have done different to help the race team and things the race team could have done to help itself. That's what you'll look back on. If we hadn't done this, we'd been a little better here and made it in. That'll get us ready for next year, but if we don't get in, I'm expecting to win races quick and fast. We've got to. We're a better race team than we've been the past two weeks. If we don't get in, we have no choice but winning every race from here on out. That's the way I look at it."
WHAT'S THE STRESS LEVEL OF SEASON COMING DOWN TO ONE RACE?
"It's a shame to have the season come down to one race for us. I feel like we should have been close enough to be in it a few weeks back and now we're not. We've got further away. It's really not one week. It's not one race that's going to turn around our season. We've just got to do the best we can this one week just like we do every week after that. We're still here to win races and whatever, but it's not over yet, either. If we're not in the top 10, we'll try to win every race from here on out. If we are, we'll still do the same and get ready for next year."
WILL YOU WANT TO KNOW WHERE THE COMPETITION FOR THE TOP 10 IS ON THE TRACK SATURDAY NIGHT?
"You'll pretty much know as the race goes on you'll know who's ahead of you and all that stuff. A lot of the guys we've been racing with have really picked the pace up. The 6 car is by far been the best the past couple of weeks. They've done a great job, and the 88 has been good. The 42 has come on. The 9 has been good. We all know pretty much who we're racing. This week we've got to race everybody and win the race. There ain't no way around it."
HOW AGGRESSIVE WILL YOU BE AT RICHMOND?
"We've just got to go in there and race and do whatever it takes to win the race and get all the points we can get. Whatever the consequences are we'll have to deal with them later and race aggressively and do whatever you've got to do to win. That's the way I look at it. That's the way I'm going into it this week. I don't care about anybody around me. We've got to win the race."
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO HAVE THIS OPPORTUNITY?
"It's not every day you get a chance to get in the top 10 in this kind of sport. It's a tough season. It's tough all the way around. We've got a lot of good competitors. We've got the opportunity and just let it fly right by you. That's what (upsets) you. It's not over yet, but we've got to perform this week. If it gets by, we've got to get prepared for next year. Maybe it'll make us a better race team, but like you said, you don't get this opportunity very often."
IS THERE ONE RACE BESIDES BRISTOL AND CALIFORNIA YOU CAN POINT TO?
"Oh yeah, we've been doing that. There's several races you look back if we had done this or that better or if I hadn't spun out at Sears Point or if we'd have better pit stops at Darlington and Charlotte or if we'd not run out of gas at Texas. There's going to be a lot of things we look back and know where we lost this year. We definitely should be solid in the top 10 right now if we hadn't made those mistakes. We've had our eyes on that. It's something we'll look back on at the end of the year and not let happen next year and go from there."
WILL IT BE TOUGH IF NO EVERNHAM CARS ARE IN THE TOP 10?
"If they (9 team) fall out it'll be because they made mistakes and beat themselves also. Our goal was to get both cars in and if not both, then get one. That's what we're trying to do and we're doing the best we can to do that. It certainly wouldn't be a good situation, but we'll learn from it. It'll make us better and we'll move on. No matter what happens we're better than last year and ahead of our schedule anyway. We still want to get in, if not both, then one car anyway. If not, we'll go back to the drawing board and I'll guarantee you we'll be tough in that deal next year. We'll fix the problems we've had this year and not let it happen to us again."
DO YOU THINK DRIVERS ALREADY ELIMINATED FROM THE CHASE WILL CUT YOU ANY SLACK AT RICHMOND?
"I doubt it. They usually don't anyway. I certainly wouldn't and wouldn't expect them to. I doubt it. It's tough racing and very competitive and we're all here to win. Normally these guys don't cut anyone any breaks."
DO YOU STILL LIKE THE NEW POINTS FORMAT?
"Oh yeah, I think it's good. It's going to be great. There's a lot of talk about it and fans are pumped up about it. The media is excited about it. I think it's going to be good. Saturday night should be interesting. It should be very interesting. Who knows what's going to happen after that? That's what it's all about, putting on a good show and entertainment, and I think that's what you're going to see."
HOW WOULD YOU DRIVE IF YOU ONLY NEEDED TO FINISH SECOND OR THIRD TO MAKE THE TOP 10?
"Coming down to the end of the night if you're running second or third or whatever, and if you finish like that and the team lets you know you're in, you don't do anything crazy. As far as I'm concerned right now, we've got to go in and sit on the pole and win the race and lead all the laps and everything else. That's my goal anyway right now. Until I'm told otherwise, I'm not going to expect anything else. I think it's going to be a great track for it, a short track, Saturday night, I'm sure there will be a full moon out and tempers flaring at the end of it, too. I'm sure it's going to be a spectacular event."