WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. (Aug. 12, 2007) -- The No. 36 OTC Toyota Camry team was very optimistic about its chances for a strong run going into the weekend at Watkins Glen International. From the time the team unloaded its Camry the car was fast. Each...
WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. (Aug. 12, 2007) -- The No. 36 OTC Toyota Camry team was very optimistic about its chances for a strong run going into the weekend at Watkins Glen International. From the time the team unloaded its Camry the car was fast. Each time the team went out on the track it made gains and worked to fine tune the car. After the 90-minute practice session, Jeremy Mayfield and his 36 Toyota Camry team were sixth on the speed chart and were looking forward to their qualifying effort. Mayfield was happy with his Toyota's performance and felt like the car would qualify in the top-10 for Sunday's race.
Sitting outside the top 35 in the Nextel Cup Series owners' point standings, Mayfield and the 360 OTC Racing team had to make the field for Sunday's event based on speed. Mayfield was the 12th of 49 competitors scheduled to take to the road course for his qualifying run. Unfortunately, Mother Nature intervened and rain showers blanketed the Watkins Glen-area for much of the afternoon. NASCAR officials were forced to cancel qualifying and line up the field based on the current owner points. Based on the rule book, the 360 OTC Camry was set to start the race in the 42nd spot.
The team turned its focus to Saturday's two hour long practice sessions to dial its No. 36 car in for the 90-lap race. Mayfield complained he could not get his Camry to turn at slow speeds. The team went to work trying to fix the problem. The team changed both rear springs as well as making a trackbar adjustment. Mayfield said the changes helped the car but it was still tight through the corners. The team again made some major adjustments to the car and with just minutes remaining in the final session Mayfield came over the radio saying the car was as good as it had been all weekend and he was looking forward to the race.
When the green flag flew over the 43-car field, Mayfield was on a mission to get to the front of the field. Crew chief Joe Lax knew he was going to have to use a little strategy to get track position towards the end of the race. On lap eight, Jeremy Mayfield brought his 360 OTC Camry to pit road for a gas and go under the green flag. The crew felt like this would put them into position for a strong finish in the closing laps of the race.
On lap 11, Mayfield radioed to his crew that the tires were starting to come in and it showed on the time sheet. Mayfield was picking up positions on every lap. By lap 25, Mayfield found himself in the fourth spot looking to take the race lead. He radioed to his crew the car was very loose and needed an adjustment on the next stop.
Mayfield again brought his car to the attention of his crew on lap 34. The crew changed four tires and filled the car up with fuel. They also made an air pressure adjustment in hopes of tightening the car up for the next run.
Mayfield again radioed to the crew explaining that the tires took five or six laps to really come in. The tires obviously did not affect Mayfield's ability to pass cars on the track, because by lap 58 Mayfield had overtaken the top position. The driver of the No. 36 Toyota Camry led the race for two laps before making his final pit stop of the day.
For the remaining 30 laps, Mayfield battled the competition as well as caution flags to bring his car home in the 27th position
The NASCAR Nextel Cup Series heads back to Michigan International Speedway next weekend for the running of the 3M Performance 400. Qualifying for the event will be held Friday afternoon and Sunday's race is scheduled for a 2 p.m. ET start. The race will be broadcast on ESPN television, MRN Radio and Sirius Satellite Radio. Mayfield and teammate Dave Blaney will stop Hartford, Ohio this Tuesday to take part in the "NASCAR Duel on the Dirt" at Sharon Speedway.