JOLIET, Ill. (July 15, 2007) -- A top-20 qualifying effort on Friday afternoon gave Jeremy Mayfield and the 360 OTC Racing team hope that good things were in store for them during the USG Sheetrock 400 at Chicagoland Speedway Sunday. Mayfield...
JOLIET, Ill. (July 15, 2007) -- A top-20 qualifying effort on Friday afternoon gave Jeremy Mayfield and the 360 OTC Racing team hope that good things were in store for them during the USG Sheetrock 400 at Chicagoland Speedway Sunday. Mayfield drove his Toyota Camry to a 26th-place finish in a race that marked the beginning of the second half of the 2007 NASCAR Nextel Cup Series campaign.
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 fourth of 49 competitors to take to the track for his qualifying run. With an average speed of 180.632 mph, he landed his 360 OTC Toyota Camry solidly in the field for the event and was set to start the race in the 20th position.
Mayfield took the green flag for the start of the event and immediately communicated to crew chief David Hyder that the handling of the car was loose in and off the corners. He soon fell to the 39th spot, but rebounded into the top 35 before falling one lap down to leader Jimmie Johnson on lap 42 of the 267-lap event. Hyder called for four fresh tires, fuel and a track bar adjustment during the first pit stop of the day, which came on lap 52. The first caution flag of the day waved on lap 60, and Hyder once again called Mayfield to the pits. After the 360 OTC Racing crew made another four tire change and wedge and track bar adjustments, Mayfield returned to the track for the lap 64 restart in 41st place.
Mayfield continued to battle a loose handling race car, and Hyder and the crew made adjustments to the balance of the car every chance they had. Mayfield held the 33rd spot at the halfway point of the race. After additional adjustments during a lap 156 pit stop, the driver communicated to the crew that his Toyota Camry was handling much better.
Mayfield and Hyder continued to work together to make the car better for the remainder of the event, and in the late stages of the race, the two were able to get the car working to Mayfield's satisfaction. Mayfield drove the 360 OTC Toyota Camry into the 26th spot by the time the checkered flag waved.
The Nextel Cup Series will take a well-deserved weekend off before heading to Indianapolis Motor Speedway in two weeks for the Allstate 400. Qualifying for the event at the famed speedway will be held Saturday, and Sunday afternoon's race is scheduled for a 2 p.m. ET start. The race will broadcast on ESPN television, IMS Radio and Sirius Satellite Radio.