JEREMY MAYFIELD --12-- Mobil 1 Taurus (Finished 2nd) "We were just searching most of the time and just kept throwing things at it. At the end we got it as best as we could get it, but it still wasn't enough for the 20 car." WHAT ABOUT PUTTING...
JEREMY MAYFIELD --12-- Mobil 1 Taurus (Finished 2nd)
"We were just searching most of the time and just kept throwing things at it. At the end we got it as best as we could get it, but it still wasn't enough for the 20 car."
WHAT ABOUT PUTTING IT TOGETHER THIS LATE IN THE YEAR? "I think we've kind of had it together all year long. We've just been working hard week-in and week-out and feel we've gotten to the point that we know what it takes now to get the job done. We've backed off a little bit. Instead of trying to lap the field like we were one time at Darlington, places like that, and just blow up and everything else, but we've stepped back a little bit and we're trying to get a championship for them. I think this is the best test session we could have gone through this year and I feel real good about it. Even though next week is the last week for sure, you can go into the next season with a good momentum boost and feel good about your chances."
ARE YOU A CONTENDER FOR THE TITLE NEXT YEAR? "I'd be lying if I said I didn't think so, but I do think so. I think this is definitely a great race team and we can win a championship. I've said this the last few weeks -- we've got the performance part down. We can run fast. We can run up front. We can outrun Bobby Labonte and Dale Earnhardt and those were the two contenders this year. Jeff Burton has been right there and he's kind of fallen out like we have several times, but the performance end of it is there. Now we've just got to be consistent and build on trying to be there week-in and week-out and not beat ourselves -- just race the competitors only, so, yes, I do think we can do it."
WERE YOU WORRIED ABOUT RUNNING DOWN TONY OR JUST KEEPING THE CAR TOGETHER? "First, when they threw the green I took off hard. We've all seen that if you run too hard too quick, then you usually fall back at the end. I was running pretty hard at the beginning of the run and knew we had 30-40 laps to go -- 49 I think when they threw the green. They kept telling me how far ahead the 20 car was and everytime we were staying even with him, but I couldn't gain on him. Then we got past Mark and kind of maintained that, so I was sitting there running to make sure he wouldn't catch me. I got kind of a good enough distance on him and sat there just hoping for a caution or something like that. Once I found out there was no way of catching him, I just kind of made sure that I took care of my car and stayed ahead of the 6 car."
WAS THE RACING BETTER THIS YEAR THAN LAST? "I have to say yes because I finished second. I'm not sure from the fans point of view, but I know there was lot of green (flag runs) and it seemed like everybody was spread out, so I'm not sure how that went. I know that it's a good place to race, a good track, but I'm not sure what they're gonna do to put on a more exciting show here, but I've got to say yes because we did run good."
YOU PROBABLY PASSED MORE CARS TODAY THAN ANYONE. HOW DID YOU KEEP YOUR CONCENTRATION? "Your car doesn't handle and then you start falling back and start getting worried. There are just a lot of things going on. It looks like you're out there, especially when you're running by yourself and there's not a lot of stuff going on, but, man, you're running hard trying not to let the leader catch you or you're trying to gain on him. One time we were 15 seconds down to the leader and that's almost a half-a-lap down, so you're running hard trying to really focus on what you've got to do. These cars, if you wander or daydream at all, you'll be in big trouble here, so you've just got to keep focussed on what the car's doing, try to make it better and talk about it with the crew. You try different lines and all kinds of stuff. I know it looks like we ride around a lot in those situations, but, trust me, it's a handful."
WHAT ABOUT THE RESTART ON LAP 32? "We were fortunate enough again. At Phoenix we came in early and put on two tires and got the lead and we did the same thing here. It was the same plan. First stop, we came in and put on two tires and went right back out leading, so we were out front and wasn't able to see that, but it looked like it was pretty bad with cars all over the backstretch. Ricky and I both were just trying to keep from running over stuff out there."
DOES PONTIAC HAVE AN EDGE AT THIS TRACK? "They won, so you almost have to say they do. Something about this race track and the Pontiacs. The 18 and the 20 are both good here and the Pontiacs have been good all year. They have a lot of downforce and good balance and they won again, so you've gotta say it's a Pontiac race track I guess."
ABOUT PIT ROAD. "That's exactly what I did and I got caught. I ran all the way around as fast as I could and, man, I was sideways right by the grass. The entrance to pit road here is pretty different because you enter on the backstretch and, all of a sudden, it kind of looks like a gradual turn so you're flying through there and all of a sudden it does a real quick left. The radius changes real fast and you think you're going out in the grass and everything else. Then about the time you get turned you feel like you've slowed down way too much, so you're back in the gas. This is all coming in. We're not even on pit road yet and all of this is going on, so you're back in the gas hard running to the line and about the time you get to the line you're thinking, 'Now I went way too fast,' and it's kind of rough there. I don't know about anybody else, but I had a lot of wheel-hop today. I hit the brakes and the back tires were locking up, so it's definitely a different place and it's hard to come into fast without getting caught."
DID YOU SEE ANY OF THE DEBRIS THAT WAS BRINGING OUT THOSE CAUTIONS? "I'm not sure what that was. Honestly, I didn't know what it was. I know there was a lot of stuff on the race track throughout the day, that's for sure. You could find debris about any lap you wanted to, just look around because, honestly, there was stuff everywhere. Most of it was on the inside and NASCAR did a good job of getting the race track blown off, but for some reason we had a lot of little pieces of rubber. For some reason there was a lot of stuff on the race track today."