Las Vegas: Jeremy Mayfield preview

Jeremy Mayfield No. 19 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Intrepid RACING AT LAS VEGAS "This is a big race for us. We felt like we came out of the box strong in Daytona. We didn't get the finish we wanted at Rockingham, but we really didn't have much...

Jeremy Mayfield
No. 19 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Intrepid


"This is a big race for us. We felt like we came out of the box strong in Daytona. We didn't get the finish we wanted at Rockingham, but we really didn't have much time to get the car where it needed to be for Sunday. We're not hanging our heads though. Kenny (Francis, team director) and Josh (Browne, team engineer) have been working hard. We came out to Las Vegas and tested and we had a good test. You always learn something at a test, whether it's what you should or what you shouldn't do. I really like this track. I've had some good runs here. We almost won it last year. We are looking to be just as strong this time around too."


"I've said this a lot the past few months. I'm happier than I've ever been. I feel like I'm in the best situation. The communication is there and that's the most important thing. You've got to be able to communicate. It's not just one guy though. We've got a great group of guys working around us and working with the 9 team. We're all working together and that makes everyone stronger. I'm more pumped up than I've ever been."


"I like being the dark horse. You just never know. Anyone can win this thing. I'm telling you that everything has to be perfect. I used this the other day where it's kind of like a football team. You know, the quarterback calls the play when everyone's in the huddle. Then, when you go up to line, one guy can do something where he goes the wrong way, or everyone can do their jobs and then the quarterback goes back to pass and the ball comes out of his hand. It's like that with us on a race team. You can't have anything go wrong. You've got to have a total team effort."


Jeremy Mayfield is scheduled to drive the No. 19 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge that he drove at Darlington (a), Texas, Indy, Michigan (b) and the Winston Open, which he won from the pole.


* Jeremy Mayfield has started in all five NASCAR Winston Cup Series events at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. From the inaugural Las Vegas 400 in 1998 to last year's UAW/DaimlerChrysler 400, Mayfield has earned two top-five finishes, two top-10 finishes and has led 39 laps at the racetrack. In his first visit to LVMS, he finished fifth, moving up 27 spots from his 32nd place starting position.


* Mayfield's best finish at Las Vegas was also his best finish of 2002, when he moved from the 18th starting spot to finish second in just his third race in the No. 19 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Intrepid last March. His best starting position came in 1999 when he qualified seventh in the Las Vegas 400. He finished the race 17th that year.


* In last year's UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400, Mayfield started 18th and finished second after being caught in an accident early in the race. The team made several adjustments to improve the loose handling of the car during the first half of the race. Pit strategy also played into Mayfield's advancement as the team used two two-tire stops to improve their track position. Mayfield assumed the first spot on lap 234 and would stay there for a total of 17 laps. He was one of 13 drivers to lead the race.


* Mayfield started last Sunday's race in 29th, but just 10 laps into the race he reported that his No. 19 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge was running tight. Mayfield would hold his position through the first round of pit stops as his car began to free up a little due to adjustments by the Dew Crew. Two cautions later, Mayfield was caught in an incident with two spinning cars, leaving substantial damage to the left side of his No. 19 Dodge. As the Dew Crew gave Mayfield his fifth set of Goodyear tires and pulled sheet metal off of the left rear tire, jackman Ed Watkins was struck by a competitor's car and was forced to leave the race early. Mayfield resumed the race running in the 38th spot. At the race's half-point, Mayfield reported that he was extremely tight again. On lap 276 Mayfield was caught up by a spinning No. 8 car, and made hard contact with the wall in turn two. The No. 19 Dodge was pulled into the garage and the rear end was determined to be too damaged to return to the race. Mayfield was forced to retire in the 41st spot dropping him from eighth to 22nd in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series standings.


* Coming into the 2003 UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400, Mayfield has made 275 starts, with six poles (two at Talladega and one at Darlington, Dover, Rockingham, and Texas), three wins (two at Pocono, and one at California), 35 top-fives and 63 top-10s. His most recent win came at Pocono in June of 2000. His last pole came at the Pop Secret Popcorn 400 in Rockingham, N.C. in 2000.


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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jeremy Mayfield