JEREMY MAYFIELD (No. 19 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge) "Considering the luck we've had, I guess you could say the whole Chase we've had bad luck, but we're still a strong race team and we feel like we've got a shot anyway of getting close to the top...
JEREMY MAYFIELD (No. 19 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge)
"Considering the luck we've had, I guess you could say the whole Chase we've had bad luck, but we're still a strong race team and we feel like we've got a shot anyway of getting close to the top five. We're 90 something out of ninth, but we're real close to the top five also, so if we can just have consistent runs from here on out in the next few races we should be in good shape and hopefully close to the top five. Who knows? Kurt Busch could have bad luck in the next few races like we've had and we could be right back up in the top before it's over with. We're not going to give up. We're going to keep running hard and go from there."
HOW TO YOU PLAN TO BREAK THE GOOD-FINISH BAD-FINISH TREND? "If you look at the stats, this should be the down weekend, but we're not going to let it be. We're going to fight back hard and try to break this thing. It all started in Loudon. The 31 car hit the 16 and got into us, and that kinda set us up for the downhill right there. We're not going to give up. The good thing about it is none of that was our fault. That's the thing we've got a lot of hope with. We've got great racecars, a great race team and anything can happen. We've proved that before, and we're not going to give up. We'll keep going and hopefully break that little trend we've got going on."
COMMENT ON BLACK NUMBERS ON CARS "As we all know, Ray (Evernham) was very close to the whole Hendrick organization. That's where he got his start in NASCAR NEXTEL Cup racing. He's very close to the family, and that was Ray's way of showing respect to everybody involved and everybody on the plane. A lot of people have heard about that all weekend and talked about it. We just want to pay our utmost respect to everyone on that plane, including the pilots. It was a sad week for Ray. I've never seen Ray Evernham so, I can't even describe. He wasn't himself all week. It was an unbelievable feeling I had knowing the people that were on that plane were very close to him. It's just amazing for him to come back and want to do that. It's pretty neat."
WHAT WOULD YOU CHANGE ABOUT THE CHASE? "I'd give bonus points for 10th. Every week if you were in 10th spot you'd get extra points. If you're going to be in the top 10 let the top 10 have their own points system. Whether you leave the points like it is and leaving the top 10 in their own little system. I think that would tighten it up quite a bit and put on more of a show coming down to the line here. Everybody would still have a chance or even divide it up one point per position to make it even tighter where it comes down to the last wire to see who wins the championship. Maybe if a guy wrecks you on purpose and you don't have anything to do with it, maybe don't take any points away from you for that, either. Give you bonus points. We've be in pretty good shape then. I think the points system being its own system in the top 10 would be pretty cool."
ARE YOU LOOKING FOR MORE SUCCESS NOW THAT SOME OF THE VETERANS ARE BEGINNING TO RETIRE? "That's a good point. I've got a lot of respect for all those guys that have been talking about retiring. I lost a lot of Rusty fans when Penske and I parted ways. I know we've had our differences, but Rusty has asked me to drive his Busch car in several races next year. We're talking about it and are real close to getting something done there. I thought that was pretty neat. One of the reasons why I would do it if we get it done is that reason. Hopefully I'll gain some of the fans back I lost there and maybe gain some of his that he's got now. It's sad to look at it that way, but that's the way you've got to look at it. Hopefully those fans will jump on a younger driver and hopefully we can gain whatever we can out of that. That's just part of the sport, passing on the torch. Hopefully when it comes our time we'll get part of that torch and go from there."
HAS YOUR ATTITUDE CHANGED ABOUT THE CHASE? "I can tell you we've still got a great attitude. We're not going to be down or disappointed in what we've done this year. We've had a great year. As far as attitude, no change at all. If anything it's made us a better team with a better attitude. I think the point system itself, after we got going here, maybe they should have put us on a different point system just because of our side of it because we have had bad luck, but overall we're still positive and still feel like we've got a chance to win. We're honored to be here and be a part of this deal."
HOW DO YOU EXPLAIN KURT BUSCH NOT HAVING ANY BAD LUCK SO FAR? "I don't know. I guess you look at our side of it and wonder how we got all the bad luck and he got all the good, but he's had bad luck. They've been able to capitalize on it in the right way and things have fallen their way. Somebody was talking about that the other day. When you're running for the championship and whoever wins the championship, usually they have a year when a guy spins out he doesn't hit anything and nobody hits him and he comes back and finishes fifth somehow. The caution will fly when that happens because something else happens. He's just been in that position. When something happens he's been able to turn it around and make the best of it. Really they've done a great job of doing that and I guess you'd say holding their composure and not letting anything get to 'em. The thing about it is, when it came time to step up, it seemed like that team stepped up more than anybody right now. They're running hard and they're fast and they're not holding back and running right on the edge obviously or he wouldn't be spinning out and saving it. I think he's done a great job of it."
WERE YOU SURPRISED WITH THE WAY EVERNHAM ACTED THIS WEEKEND? "Not really, I've learned a lot about Ray the last couple of years, and what I have learned is that when you talk about the Hendrick family and everyone on the plane and you hear about all the good things about everyone who was on there, Ray's got a side of him that's just like that. Ray helps so many people that people don't even know about. His family member, friends, just a huge heart. He's probably got the biggest heart of anybody I've ever seen -- believe it or not. If he knew I told you that he'd lose that intense side he's got. I guess you'd say the image he's got portrayed here. Ray is just a great guy. If you had to sum it all up, I guess you'd say I'm not surprised at all. It did hit him hard, and it hit him deep. I understand that by knowing the person I know now."
WHAT'S YOUR STRATEGY FOR PHOENIX? "Our strategy is just like it is every week and that's we've still got to run hard. We can't hold back. We've got nothing to lose and we're going into Phoenix the same way. We've got great racecars, and we've learned a whole lot that's going to help us there. Hopefully it'll help us here and we'll be in good shape going into Phoenix. I love going out there. It's one of my favorite places. I've had good runs, and I've had bad. We're hoping we can turn it around and have a good run there. We tested there last year and we've got a great setup. We should be in good shape for this year."