Jeremy Mayfield Transcript from Dodge Teleconference Tuesday, April 19, 2005 Texas Recap, Phoenix Advance JEREMY MAYFIELD (No. 19 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Charger) NOTE: Mayfield has moved from 26th to 16th in the series standings in ...
Jeremy Mayfield Transcript from Dodge Teleconference
Tuesday, April 19, 2005
Texas Recap, Phoenix Advance
JEREMY MAYFIELD (No. 19 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Charger)
NOTE: Mayfield has moved from 26th to 16th in the series standings in the past four races. His best finish in those four events was an 11th last Sunday at Texas Motor Speedway. Mayfield, a member of last year's inaugural Chase, is just 73 points out of 10th entering Sunday's Subway Fresh 500 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup race, No. 8 of 26 counting toward the 2005 Chase.
COMMENT ON RACING AT PHOENIX
"We tested out there and had a great test, probably one of the best we've had. It was the same car we had at Martinsville. We tested it at Phoenix, took it to Martinsville and raced it. It was a brand new car and ran really good there. Hopefully we'll be better at Phoenix than we were at Martinsville and if we do that it'll put us in position to win the race."
COMMENT ON THE DODGE CHARGER
"We're starting to get a handle on it. Obviously we showed at Texas that we were better than we were at Atlanta, so we'll just keep getting better every week. We're starting to find the balance of what we need, and once we find that then it'll be good news from there on out. We're very close to it, and going into Phoenix we're taking one of our new chassis. We've definitely got the balance right on that car, so we should be in good shape from here on out."
COMMENT ON THE REAR SPOILER
"We're seeing a lot more cautions week in and week out than we've normally seen in the past. I'm not sure if it's the spoiler or not. It probably is, but who knows? We're getting better as a team as far as the 9 and 19 go, so we're cool either way. If you add spoiler to it now it's going to put a lot of teams back in the hole again, so I say stick with what we got and race it and everybody will just keep getting better instead of changing it part way through the season. Overall I wish we had never taken it off. I guess that would be the best way to put it, but now that we have let's just stay with it."
HAS IT MADE YOUR CAR LOOSER?
"It's definitely made the car looser, but had to go back and work on our cars. That's been our biggest problem. It hasn't really been the Charger body. The Charger is a great racecar, but we've had to find the right balance for it. We've had to get back everything they've taken away with the spoiler. We had to get it back somewhere else. That's what we've been doing. If they change it right now we might be in trouble. We've have to go back to work again, but I say let's stick with it. They made a decision to go with it, and I heard (NASCAR's John) Darby say earlier in the year that he wasn't changing it, so I say we just go to work."
CAN YOU IMAGINE WHAT IT WOULD BE LIKE WITHOUT RESTRICTOR PLATES NOW?
"I couldn't imagine. I think we'd really be in trouble because of how fast the cars are. I hate to imagine. It'd still be cool. It'd look good and put on a good show, but I guess the speeds will keep us from doing it. I don't know if I'd like to try it or not, but it would be cool to see it happen. I think you'd probably see (some drivers refuse to do it) that after the first practice session. I don't think anybody would want to race like that because the cars would be so fast and if we did have a wreck that's where the problem would be. The problem wouldn't be with going fast. The problem would be when somebody made a mistake cars would be flying everywhere. It might look like one of those aircraft carriers with a bunch of them taking off. I think you'd see mixed feelings about it until the first practice session and then I think we'd all be on the same page."
FOUR RACES AGO, WERE YOU CONCERNED THIS WOULD BE A SEASON YOU COULDN'T OVERCOME?
"Not really, we've overcome a lot with our team and we've been through a lot. We've got a great race team. We've got a lot of great people, and I'm so impressed with the way we've handled this. We were really struggling a few weeks ago, and we've tested our butts off. We've done everything we can do, and it's shown what kind of team we've got. The last two or three weeks we've been in contention to win the race. Things have really made a 180 turn four or five weeks ago, and I was concerned about it but not really. It's a good feeling to know you've got a race team like that that can rebound from something like that. We had a lot of cars built and ready to go before the season started. We were prepared and ready to go racing. We had to totally rethink and regroup our car thinking and the way we were building our cars. To do that, that's a big chore to take on, but the guys have done that and I'm certainly proud of 'em. The thoughts went through your head, hoping you could get better, but yet this team came through."
COMPARE THE WAY YOU FEEL GOING TO PHOENIX VERSUS THE WAY YOU FELT IN THE FIRST THREE RACES THIS SEASON
"Four or five weeks ago Kasey and I both were spinning out, couldn't drive the cars and everything else. It's a different feeling now going to Phoenix. I've got confidence. The team has got confidence. The test went well and it's a 180. It gone from going to the race hoping you had the balance right, hoping to get points. Now we've got the balance right and we're going to win and run up front and try to sit on the pole."
DESCRIBE HOW IT'S BEEN WORKING WITH CREW CHIEF SLUGGER LABBE
"It's been pretty cool. I really never knew Slugger that well. I knew of him in the garage area just like a lot of people. When he came to work with us this year we hit it off right off the bat. We've both kinda got the same personalities. He cuts up with a lot of people and jokes around, and I do the same. We hit it off from day one and it keeps getting better and better. We have a great relationship, and that's the kind you've got to have. You've got to have one where you can talk to each other as friends and not just business all the time, and that's what we've got going on here."
DO YOU AND SLUGGER THINK ALIKE ON SETUPS?
"He and I do think alike. We're not engineers by any means, we're far from it, but we've still raced all our life and know how to race and what it takes to win. The good thing about it is he's not afraid to try something. He's open-minded, and that's the way I am. We've got Kenny Francis that's fitting in with our deal. He's an engineer and he thinks along those lines. We've got guys that straighten us out at times and at times we straighten Kenny out, so we just all get along great. That's a good thing about it. We all get along well together."
COMMENT ON UPCOMING CUP RACE AT DARLINGTON ON MAY 7
"I can't wait until Darlington. It's always a track I can't wait to get to. I'm excited every week, and I haven't been that way in a long time. I started getting after it this time last year and by the end of the year I was pumped up and ready to go. I couldn't wait for every weekend to come up, even the road courses. Now, I'm even more excited. Darlington is a great place, but anymore I can't wait for every race. When you've got a good race team behind you and a lot of great people, it makes going to the races easier. A lot of people don't like going to Darlington because it's a tough place, but it's one of my favorites."
IS THE MEDIA MAKING TOO MUCH OF THE HENRICK-ROUSH DOMINANCE?
"I think it's reality right now. They've definitely got it going on. Roush cars started getting that way last year, and the Hendrick cars have always run good. All the Roush cars run good, and the 48 runs good every week and the 24 is on and off a little bit, but it's mainly the Roush cars and the two Hendrick cars. They've got it going on. They've got it figured out. We're closing the gap. We're gaining on 'em. We knew we had work to do to catch them, but we're gaining on them every week. I don't think it's something the media is bringing up. I think it's pretty obvious that Roush has got it going on right now."
IS IT ENCOURAGING WHEN THREE DODGES FINISH IN THE TOP FIVE?
"Oh yeah, and we've had cars in the top five the last three or four weeks. I've got a ton of confidence in the Charger and our team. We're going to get there. It's just a matter of time, if not this week."