JEREMY MAYFIELD (No. 19 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Intrepid R/T) NOTE: Mayfield started 17th and finished fifth earlier this season at Richmond. The 33-year-old driver from Owensboro, Ky., finished 20th last Sunday at Darlington and ranks 28th in...
JEREMY MAYFIELD (No. 19 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Intrepid R/T)
NOTE: Mayfield started 17th and finished fifth earlier this season at Richmond. The 33-year-old driver from Owensboro, Ky., finished 20th last Sunday at Darlington and ranks 28th in the NASCAR Winston Cup Standings with 11 races remaining in 2002.
"We had a real good run at Richmond in May. It was one of the best runs we've had all year. I felt like we had a shot to win the race if we could have ever capitalized on track position because we had a good car at the end. We're going to take the same car and the same setup back, and I'm pretty pumped up about it.
"It's our last night race of the year and everybody gets pumped up for the night races. It's a little bit different than the excitement at Bristol. It's hard to beat Bristol. You go there and you get a weird feeling. You're in a zone there and you don't really know where you're at. Richmond is still very exciting for us, and I know most of the drivers really like the night races. The biggest thing about racing at night is that's the way we all grew up in racing. That was just part of the deal, and when we go back and race at night it reminds us all of our younger days behind the wheel.
"We had a good handling race car in May at Richmond. The guys did a good job on it and it stayed under me the whole time. It wasn't a deal where you were fighting it the whole day and chasing it. Everybody in the garage has to do that every week. It was just a good, solid race car and we feel like we can repeat that when we go back.
"You've got to have handling and horsepower at Richmond. It's a big short track and you've got to have it all.You've got to handle through the corners and you've got to have a good motor to get down the straightaways. Track position is important everywhere you go, and you've got to qualify good, start up front and keep it up there all day. I think we can qualify better than we did last time. We know we've got a good car now for Richmond and we've been qualifying good the last few weeks. I think we'll have a good shot at it.
"We're going to try to get ready for next year. We're going to do all we can and try to win races this season and try to build for next year at the same time. We've got these cars built and we know what we need now and we can go racing. I think we want to go as high as we can in the points this year, and to do that you've got to win races and keep running good week in and week out.
"There's a little disappointment in all of us, but we're still pumped up about what we've got going on and the direction we're going in. I feel like we've got a lot of good stuff coming up, and I feel good about next year for sure and really the rest of this year. We've had an up and down year, but the times we've been good hasn't really shown yet. I thought we were going to take off after we finished second at Las Vegas. We've shown bits and pieces of that potential all year long. Everywhere we go, even though we have a bad run, usually it wasn't really a bad run. It was because something happened during the race that made us look like we had a bad run. We're going to be all right. We're pumped up about it. We're going to get there.
"The way the team is lined up is working for us right now. It's the best we've been. Dave Skog calls the shots for us. I guess he's our team manager. Mike Kelly is the car chief and he's the one who sees the job gets done on the car. I'm working with the team better than I ever have. It's real good right now. We copied this off Formula One and Indy car, so it's worked elsewhere.
"I'm as confident right now as I've ever been. I know I can win anywhere, and I know I can win at Richmond. There's no doubt in my mind and there's no doubt in anyone's mind on this team. If we don't win, we're going to hold up our heads and go to the next race. We've got good stuff. It's just a matter of putting it all together. People haven't seen that yet. They haven't seen that potential. We're coming.
"We're just now starting to run different stuff. We've been working all year long on what I like and what the team likes. Now we're starting to come together and it's going to show.
"The Dodge is good right now, but you can't just sit there. You've got to get better with everything. Dodge has done a terrific job on keeping up with the changes. I'm more comfortable in a Dodge than I've ever been in a race car, and it's going to feel even better when we park it in victory lane."