Jeremy Mayfield Dodge teleconference

JEREMY MAYFIELD (No. 19 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge) HAVE YOU RECOVERED FROM DISAPPOINTMENT AT DOVER? "What helped us get over it was we still came out of it with a top 10. After all the stuff that happened we still finished eighth, and I think if...

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

HAVE YOU RECOVERED FROM DISAPPOINTMENT AT DOVER?

"What helped us get over it was we still came out of it with a top 10. After all the stuff that happened we still finished eighth, and I think if that hadn't happened it would have been devastating. We ran good and still finished in the top 10 and we'll go on to next week."

WHAT'S YOUR SECRET AT POCONO?

"I'm not sure what it is. It's one of those places that early in my career I adapted to real quick. I like going there. I like racing there. It seems like my confidence level is up every time I walk into the gate, so it's just one of the places I've always run decent at, but I've had some bad runs there, too. I'm either real good or real bad, but it's definitely a place I like."

COMMENT ON 'LOSERS QUIT WHEN THEY GET TIRED. WINNERS QUIT WHEN THEY WIN.'

"I kind of live by that. There's a lot of little things you gather over the years from your experiences, and I believe in fighting until the end. We've done that every time. We've shown that a lot with this team this year. The other day we came back and never quit, and just kept going and going. That comes from the heart, how bad you want it. That's certainly something I feel that's helped me get where I'm at today. We just never quit and never give up, and I certainly believe that. Between that and you always help other people get what they want and you get what you want. I feel like that, too. That's just what I live by. I've got certain things I believe in, and you've just got to shoot from the heart sometimes."

DISCUSS CAUTION LAPS

"The cars running a lot of laps under caution is because of scoring and NASCAR is trying to get everybody back in the right position because the field is frozen when the caution falls. There's not as many cautions these days, and I'm not sure (what to) attribute that (to). A lot of the race teams now are better prepared. The cars are better. They handle better so there's less stuff breaking on 'em and less stuff falling off of 'em or whatever creating the cautions. There's probably no other way to say that other than timing and scoring and the teams are better prepared."

TALK ABOUT FIRST WIN AT POCONO

"That's the story of my career it seems like and definitely the highlight of my career. Dale Earnhardt was a true professional and a true champion all the way around. He and I got to the point, that's about the time in my career I started running well at a lot of places. We raced hard together it seemed like a lot. That day at Pocono we were back and forth, whether it was first and second or third and fourth. It seemed like we were in the top five all day racing each other. He was racing behind me getting me loose and I'd move out of the way. A few laps later we'd get him back. We did that all day long. We did it more than it showed. The highlights show the last lap, but we did it all day long. The last 30 laps he and I came in for a pit stop and put on two tires each. That put him first and me second and I knew then I'd try anything between now and the end of the race to pass him. If I get in front of him he's going to probably turn me or get me loose and I'm going to lose the race. I really feel like I had one shot to do that, and to be honest with you we were dead even all the way to five to go, nose to tail. We went into the tunnel turn and he pushed up a little bit and allowed me to get a run on him. When I got around him I thought, 'man what a perfect situation here.' I really wasn't expecting to move him out of the way. I thought the way he is you could bump him and it wouldn't phase him. When I drove up behind him I guess it took the air off of him. He got loose and there we were in position to win the race. It surprised me about like it did everybody else. I just wanted to go up there and bump him one time before it was over with to let him know we were there. It all worked out for me and the good thing about it was that Dale Earnhardt... I saw him a couple of weeks later. I avoided him up until then. He grabbed me and rubbed his knuckles on my head a little bit. I said, 'man, I thought you were going to be mad at me.' He said, 'no, I'm not mad.' He said, 'I'm mad at a couple of things you said.' I said, "I rattled his cage because I knew it was the only thing that was going to get me out of it.' I told him, I said, 'man if you were me and I was Dale Earnhardt in the last quarter of the last lap at Pocono to win the race, what would you do?' He smiled at me and walked off, so he was just an awesome guy. He could dish it out and he could take it. I think that's the sign of a true champion."

TALK ABOUT NASCAR SCORING

"As drivers, owners, teams and everything else we are NASCAR. I understand there are times they're going to be put in different situations in response when they've got to make quick decisions. They've got to make the decisions and go with it. They're not always going to be right. We've seen a lot this year where maybe they've been on the edge of not making the right call or whatever, but you've just got to go on with it and realize they've got their hands full, too. It's not easy. I wouldn't want to be in their position making the right calls and getting everybody straightened out and all that. I think it's going to pay off in the long run. The big picture is going to be they're going to get it worked out and they're going to get the timing and scoring situation worked out where it isn't going to take as long to get everybody lined up. Really, the only thing I see that's been a problem that I haven't heard anybody wanting to work on is the situation we got into the other day. It's the tail end of the lead lap deal. I never understood that, and now I really don't understand it after what happened the other day. We're sitting there leading the race and I got started almost dead last in the pack. If I'm there running along about to get lapped and the caution comes out, I get to advance all the way back around and not go a lap down. I'm sure they'll figure it out, but that's the only thing I saw that was a problem the other day."

WHAT SHOULD NASCAR LEARN FROM THE DOVER EXPERIENCE?

"I think the big problem was who was on the tail end of the lead lap. That doesn't make sense to me. Then you've got the 12 car arguing that they should be the leader. When we go through the tech line, it's black or what. Either they do (pass) or they don't. Either they car weighs enough or it doesn't weigh enough. That's the way I feel about this lead lap deal. The problem the other day was who was on the tail end of the lead lap and where should the 12 car line up. That doesn't make sense to me. Make it black and white like they do everything else. If the caution comes out and you're on the lead lap you get to advance around and start just like you would normally. I don't understand this tail end of the lead lap deal. That's probably what had them messed up the other day. I would say that's the first thing I'd work on. Make it black and white. Either you're a lap down or you're not a lap down. If you come in and pit or stay out and hit the barrel and speed down pit road, penalize that guy and he should line up where he's at, meaning the 12 car. Go from there. I think it's pretty simple."

TALK ABOUT SHIFTING AT POCONO

"We were one of the first cars to shift four times a lap. I'd go down the frontstretch and I'd shift into overdrive. Going into turn one I'd go back down into third gear. Then I'd switch back to overdrive and going back into the tunnel I'd go back into third gear. That's four times, two up and two down. Now you're seeing more people doing that and even taking it to another level by shifting in the short chute. That would be six times shifting. I think you're going to see a lot of shifting patterns or combinations going on versus gear ratios. There's definitely an edge there if you can find it. You've just got to find out what's best for your combination and if your driver is comfortable shifting that many times. It's definitely different, and it's getting even more different at Pocono just because of the fact you've got three different corners and three different straightaways. The guy who ultimately gets the most out of each straightaway and each corner will be fastest. It's something that's no different than it's been in the past, but people are taking it to the next level and you have to do that anymore. Everything we do from the time we enter that racetrack and unload the cars we're trying to get better in every area. That's one of the areas you can definitely take advantage of at that racetrack."

TALK ABOUT HOW EQUIPMENT IS DISTRIBUTED AMONG TEAMMATES

"We really didn't have a one-team operation when I was at Penske. We had two teams in two separate buildings doing two separate deals. Then we built our chassis like we wanted to build them at the 12 and they did what they wanted to do. I got with Ray's deal, and that's what I thought a team was supposed to be like, the way he's got it set up. All the cars are kinda built in one place, and you've got one fab shop doing all the work for both cars, one body shop doing all the work for both cars, actually three cars. It just makes it that much more valuable having a teammate. You get to run the same stuff, share the same notes, information. When you go to the wind tunnel for one car it helps both cars. That's something we didn't have at that time with the 12, but I'm sure they do now. The way Ray's got our deal set up is the way a team effort and a two-car team should be."

WHAT'S STATUS OF EVERNHAM CHASSIS?

"We're starting to get into that, and actually I think I'm running one of the first for the 19 car this week. We've done a lot of testing with it. I think Kasay ran one in the All-Star race, and Bill has done a lot of testing with them. They look great. There's a lot of good ideas. A lot of engineering went into it, and I think it's going to be a good piece for us. It's just another one of those things that's going to be in-house like we want 'em. All the cars will be the same. That's something that's hard to get anymore, but Ray and the guys at the fab shop have done a great job making sure the cars are consistent with each other. Used to you'd hear about these guys having one good car. Any car I get into up there now, they're all the same. They all feel the same. They all drive the same. That's something Ray did at Hendrick for Jeff and we've got that now. I think the chassis deal is going to be the next step up for us."

ARE YOU SURPRISED HOW WELL KASEY IS RUNNING?

"I think he's done a tremendous job of jumping in there with all the pressure, all the hype, the publicity, everything he's got going on, the Busch deal, he's done a tremendous job with that.

That's a great race team, and Tommy (Baldwin) has done a great job taking over for Mike Ford. Ray's done an awesome job of setting these race teams up where they're capable of doing that. You can switch out guys, and it's probably not going to hurt the performance of that car any. Kasey has certainly stepped up to the plate with his driving. I see a lot of good things happened for him. I'm looking forward to seeing him win races. We're doing what we can to set the bar up for both of us. I think it's going to be a good team for both of us."

TALK ABOUT TEAM CHEMISTRY

"I think I can help (Kasey). I've been on both sides of the fence. I've seen a lot of different things with different race teams. I feel like I know it's an important role for me to be able to help, to be the conduit or bond the chemistry together with both race teams, with not only my team but with Kasey's team. The more the team sees the two drivers talking and communicating well with each other, it trickles down and it trickles out. It's just one of those things I know I've got a lot of responsibility as far as helping both of these race teams. For that fact, it goes with Bill's team, too. I think right now it's as good or the best it's ever been. For me, it's certainly the best situation I've ever been in. Ray has done an unbelievable job as an owner, putting the right people in the right places to let the chemistry form. He's very good at that. He's certainly got a lot of talent for that, and I have a lot of respect for him doing that. The chemistry could not be better right now."

YOU'VE BEEN THE YOUNGER TEAMMATE FOR ELLIOTT AND WALLACE. CAN YOU USE THAT EXPERIENCE TO HELP KAHNE?

"Yeah, I sure can. That's what I feel like I've kinda done in one sense. First of all, Kasey has done a great job of that, too. I learned a lot of things from Rusty and a ton of things from Bill Elliott. Bill is a great teammate. Rusty was a great teammate. I've got a lot of respect for Rusty and what he's done. I've learned a lot from him and Bill Elliott. I hope one day all of that will pay off, and I think it will, whether it's me being able to translate it to Kasey or my own team or whatever. I'm hoping the experience I've gotten in that area will help both of us."

WHAT MUSIC TO YOU LISTEN TO?

"I think the last CD I bought was Eminem or Kid Rock. I like the rock. I don't like the new wave stuff. I don't want nothing that's going to bring me down. I want stuff that's going to fire me up and keep me motivated and get up on the wheel."

DISCUSS MEMORIES OF KENTUCKY SPEEDWAY

"That's where it all started. Actually, I'm from Owensboro, Ky., but there's a little town called Wythville, Ky., and there's a little racetrack I raced at. I learned a lot there. I learned a lot about life, and a lot about growing up, doing what I love to do and that's race. It's pretty cool. John Michael Montgomery was a good friend of mine. When I moved to Nashville to race down there, John Michael hadn't signed his label yet and he was dating a friend of mine's sister. So he stayed with us for awhile and I got to know him. I'm glad to see he went on to do bigger and better things. That's pretty cool. I know he's come a long way. He's a great guy. Other than that, I've got a lot of memories around Kentucky and Nashville. Then I moved to North Carolina, but all I've ever done is raced and worked on racecars. I'm kinda like the North Carolina type (barbeque) guy now. I like Owensboro but once you get out of there you get acquainted with new and better things. I still like to go home and eat barbeque, but I'm cool here, too."

ARE YOU WATCHING THE POINTS?

"We're watching them, but we're racing like there's no tomorrow. We're here to win races and just run hard every week and let the points take off. I'm not points racing by any means. We're running hard as you can see from Sunday that Kasay and I both are. We want to be in that deal at the end, but you if you sit back and start points racing that can get you in more trouble than it can running hard every week. We're going all out and see what happens. I think we're going to have a shot at it. If we can just get in, I don't care if we're 399 within the leader...If we can just get in it's going to be big because the last 10 races are on our style of racetracks. We're counting on being there. We've got great racecars. We've got a great team. We've been running up front, but little things are still biting us. There's nothing we can do about 10 or 15 cars lining up in front of us when we're leading the race. We'll just do the best we can. If we hadn't got in the wreck the other day, and Kasey hadn't got in his wreck we were going to be 1-2 somehow. Things like that happen, and it would have got us right back in the hunt. It didn't happen, and you've just got to move on. We've just got to keep doing what we're doing every week and we're going to win some races."

TALK ABOUT THE NEW TIRES

"You haven't really heard a lot about the tire deal. You know the tires you're running and you get your car running better and better. If your car is running good, it doesn't matter what tire Goodyear brings. Really, it comes down to who has the best handling cars and whoever has their stuff working the best. I think they've done a great job with the tires they've got. I feel like we've got a hold of our chassis and aero package for this tire. It still comes down to strategy and how your car is working. I don't have a problem whatsoever with Goodyear and the tires they've got. I think they're working out fine."

-dodge-

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Bill Elliott , Jeremy Mayfield