Charlotte II: Mayfield, Labbe - Dodge interview

JEREMY MAYFIELD (No. 19 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Charger) WHAT'S THE PLAN FOR THE FINAL SIX RACES? "We've got to get all we can get and go for it. We've got to step it up a little bit and we all know that. We're trying hard to do that. It's not a...

JEREMY MAYFIELD (No. 19 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Charger)

WHAT'S THE PLAN FOR THE FINAL SIX RACES? "We've got to get all we can get and go for it. We've got to step it up a little bit and we all know that. We're trying hard to do that. It's not a one person deal. The whole team has got to step up and do more than we ever have and dig deeper than we've ever dug. I think we're doing that. We've had several meetings and everybody is working hard. You can't ask for more than we've got going on with our race team. It's just a matter of putting it together at one time and executing the plan."

EVERYONE IN THE CHASE SEEMS TO BE RUNNING WELL "That's the bad thing about it. You look at it and everybody is running strong every week. That's the way we've got to get. We've had good runs. We had a great run last week, but it just didn't all come together in the end. A little bit will take us a long way, and that's what we need. We could get top five finishes the rest of the way and not move up or we could get top five finishes and win the thing. The other guys are going to have trouble, too. That's something you haven't seen yet, but it's coming. I don't want to wish them any bad luck, but it's the same for everybody. You've just got to go for it, stay out of trouble and do the best you can, but you've still got to run good.,"

WILL THIS BE A GOOD TRACK FOR YOU? "I think it should be real good. We ran good here the first race and ran good here last year. Kasey and I both have run strong here before, but there again, who knows anymore? I've run well here, and my team is strong here, but you've got to keep that in the back of your mind and race like there's no tomorrow. That's all you can do."

IS IT KIND OF TREACHEROUS HERE NOW? "Yeah, real treacherous. The track is weird right now for some reason. I don't know what reason that would be, but we don't know what to expect. It's going to be fast. I think that's why Humpy grinds on the thing all the time. It keeps everybody talking about it and keeps the excitement going on. He's a pretty good promoter. That's what it's all about."

HOW MUCH DO YOU KEEP UP WITH THE OTHER CHASE DRIVERS DURING THE RACE? "You do a little bit, but you can't let that overrule what you've got going on. It's still a deal where you've got to race hard and not worry about it. Yet, when things start happening you start noticing who's falling out and who's not pretty quick."

HOW HARD WILL IT BE TO CATCH TONY STEWART? "We're trying right now to move up. We never wanted to move down. They're running good. They've been running good all year, and that's what a championship team is all about. You've got to be good every week, and that's what they've been doing. As long as they keep doing what they've been doing they're going to be hard to beat. If they make a mistake hopefully we'll be able to capitalize on it."

IS IT A MUST TO GAIN POINTS HERE? "Yeah, we've got to. You say every week this is going to be the key, but we haven't seen a drastic turnaround yet. Mark won last week and he didn't move up very much. It's going to be tough. It's going to come right down to the wire."

SLUGGER LABBE (Crew chief No. 19 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Charger)

WHAT'S THE PLAN FOR THE REST OF THE SEASON? "We've got to put the whole deal together from start to finish. At Kansas City we started out real good and ran in the top five and then faded the rest of the day. That won't get you where you need to be. We were competitive in the first 26. We finished all the races and I think we averaged 12.3 in the first 26 races. That got us in the Chase, but that 12.3 won't get you anywhere once you're in The Chase. We're still averaging that in The Chase, but that will get you ninth or 10th and that's not what we want to do. We're building new cars, cutting bodies off and the engine shop is working real hard. We've just got to get our balance better. At Kansas when we were running in the top 10 the car was very competitive. We got back in the back in dirty air and it wasn't very good. We've got to get it balanced better. We've got to do a better job on Fridays figuring out what we need on Sundays. It's been tough on us this year at the impound races, but we've got to get our hands around it because next year all but five races are impound. We'll work on our race trim today. We brought the same car back we finished fourth with here in May. Hopefully we'll get the same results or better."

ARE YOU TOO FAR BACK NOW TO CHALLENGE FOR THE TITLE? "I don't think you can say that. Look at Jimmie Johnson last year. He was 247 points out and he made it all up and lost by just a few points. There's nobody on this team giving in. We get paid to be competitive and win races, and I ain't quitting. We want to win or finish in the top five and if we can't do that we'll try to finish in the top 10. Everyone's got to step up. If we've got to take more chances, we'll take more chances. Jeremy's got to do the same thing on the track. Conservative ain't going to get you nothing right now. It's time to go."

CAN YOU OPEN IT UP ANY MORE? "We can do some things. We have to push the issue a lot more and try to get going. If it works out, it works out. At worst, our team will be represented in New York. We made The Chase and 34 teams want to be where we are today. We don't want to be the last team in The Chase. We'd like to win it, but we can still get in the top five. We're not far out of the top five at all. We'll keep our chins up and keep digging."

DID YOU TEST HERE? "No, but Jeremy did in the Busch car. We got a little bit of information out of that. It should be interesting. It rained all week and there's no rubber on the track. The Cup cars go out first today, and the Busch cars usually go out first. The first practice should be really interesting. We're going to start where we finished last time and see where that gets us. They ground the track down more, and the Busch car had a setup real close to what Kasey ran in the Busch race in May and they were competitive with that. We'll go from there."

IS IT STILL A BIG DEAL TO WIN HERE? "It's nice going home and sleeping in your own bed at night. All your friends come out. We've been on a long stretch right now. Everybody is tired and to get to sleep in your own bed at night for a week straight is worth a lot. We get paid to win races. If we walked through that gate this morning thinking we weren't going to win, that's not fair to our company or anybody back at the shop. Every week my goal is to win the race or make the best out of what happens. You can't control a lot of what happens on the track, so you've got to react to the situation that's dealt to you. If you can get a top five or top 10, it's not a bad day. That's tough to do in the Nextel Cup Series."


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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jimmie Johnson