Chicagoland: Jeremy Mayfield preview

CHICAGO COMPARED TO OTHER 1.5-MILE TRACKS "It's got a lot of grip, and it's still kind of new. It's just a good place. There again they call it a cookie cutter racetrack, but it's not really. I think it's a great place. There's good racing there.


"It's got a lot of grip, and it's still kind of new. It's just a good place. There again they call it a cookie cutter racetrack, but it's not really. I think it's a great place. There's good racing there. You can run three wide if you have to. It's a great place to race, and I like it because it's new and has a lot of grip to it."


"There are so many times since I've been here that I felt like I started to turn the corner and spun out, started to turn the corner and it wouldn't turn and all that stuff. I started to turn the corner and there was a wreck in front of me, but if that makes sense, I feel like now we've turned the corner and we've got a forward bite getting off that corner. I feel real good about that. This is the first time since I've been here that I can sit here and tell you that we're definitely on the right track. We have seen light at the end of the tunnel. We're past that point. We're at the door getting ready to come out of the tunnel. The good thing about that is we know where we're at. We know what makes our cars work. We understand them a lot better. I think if we hadn't gone through the things we've gone through that we wouldn't know as much about our racecars right now and I wouldn't be as good of a driver as I am right now."


"We've worked together great. We had a good run at Sears Point and a good run at Dover, a decent run at Pocono and then last week at Daytona. We feel like we've covered a lot of different racetracks. We haven't been on the flatter tracks yet, but we're testing at Indy and we feel like we'll learn a lot here. That's one of the strengths of this team, the flat tracks - the Phoenix, Loudon type of tracks. I think we're definitely on the right track to run good week in and week out."


"A lot of it has to do with personal chemistry and understanding. I've been saying it's about people. It's not about machinery. It's not about equipment. People are gelling and they've got respect for one another. Kenny Francis is getting more experience as a crew chief. He's understanding what Jeremy wants and they've built a friendship and a communication. Each of them is trying hard for the other one. Jeremy's doing his job and Kenny's doing his job and they're helping each other do a better job. The team's starting to rally around them and we've got that chemistry going."


Jeremy Mayfield is scheduled to drive chassis No. 6, which he raced at Michigan, Darlington and the Winston Open this year. Mayfield's highest finish in the car this year was 13th at Michigan.


For a race-by-race report on Jeremy Mayfield's 2003 season, please see the attached document "JM 2003"**


This weekend's race marks Mayfield's 291st career start in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series and third career visit to Chicagoland Speedway.


Mayfield's best finish at Chicagoland Speedway is 32nd place, which he earned in the 2001 Tropicana 400, starting from the 38th position. Mayfield's best start at the track is 20th, which he earned in the 2002 Tropicana 400.


Mayfield has finished in the top-15 in four consecutive races (15th Pocono, 13th Michigan, 10th Infineon, 8th Daytona) with an average finish of 11.5.


Last year's race at Chicagoland Speedway was a long one for Jeremy Mayfield and the Dew Crew. The No. 19 Dodge started the 267-lap event in 20th place. During the first pit stop, the Dew Crew made some minor adjustments for a tight handling car. Mayfield was picking up spots on the track when he came in for his second pit stop. He radioed in that he was having mechanical problems and was forced to push his No. 19 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge behind the wall. He was able to get the car back on the track, finishing the day in 34th place.


The 400-mile race at Daytona Int'l Speedway last week was the third top-10 finish of the season for Mayfield and his No. 19 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge. Mayfield started the race loose getting into the corners and tight getting out of the corners. Kenny Francis (team director) opted to adjust each problem on two ensuing pit stops. The strategy paid off as Mayfield's Dodge continued to improve throughout the evening. Mayfield matched teammate Bill Elliott's pit strategy for most of the race, coming in together in order to ensure that the two would be able to draft together. It paid off as the teammates were sitting comfortably in the top-10 a little more than 100 laps into the 160-lap event. In the chaos of the closing lap, Mayfield was able to stay ahead of the cluster of cars jockeying for position in the draft to finish in eighth place. He remains in 27th place in the Winston Cup point's race but gains ground on the competition in front of him. He is three points out of the next position and 118 points out of the top 20.


Mayfield earned his seventh career pole position, and his first for Evernham Motorsports, in this year's Aaron's 499 at Talladega Superspeedway. The pole was Mayfield's third at Talladega, and makes him one of only three active drivers who have scored three or more poles at the track (Sterling Marlin - three, Bill Elliott - eight). The pole was Mayfield's first since starting up front in the Pop Secret 400 at North Carolina Speedway in October 2000. All seven of Mayfield's Bud Poles have been earned on superspeedways (Talladega, Darlington, Dover, Rockingham, and Texas).


Coming into the 2003 Tropicana 400 at Chicagoland Speedway Mayfield has made 290 starts, with seven poles (three at Talladega and one at Darlington, Dover, Rockingham, and Texas), three wins (two at Pocono, and one at California), 35 top-fives and 65 top-10s. His most recent win came at Pocono in June of 2000. He earned his most recent pole, and his first pole for Evernham Motorsports at the Aaron's 499 at Talladega on April 6th.

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Bill Elliott , Jeremy Mayfield , Sterling Marlin