JEREMY MAYFIELD (No. 19 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Charger) NOTE: Mayfield finished sixth last week at Chicagoland and jumped to ninth in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Standings. Making his first appearance in the top 10 in 2005, Mayfield is only 51 points...
JEREMY MAYFIELD (No. 19 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Charger)
NOTE: Mayfield finished sixth last week at Chicagoland and jumped to ninth in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Standings. Making his first appearance in the top 10 in 2005, Mayfield is only 51 points out of fifth place with eight races remaining to qualify for The Chase. Mayfield won the 26th race of the season in 2004 at Richmond to qualify for the inaugural Chase. Mayfield is one of four Dodge drivers currently ranked in the top 10.
"We can't do anything different now just because we're in the top 10. We were in and out of the top 10 a couple of times last year and then we fell to 15th, but we're not going to do it this time. I'd say only the top three guys are safely in the top 10 right now. You can go from fourth to 10th or from eighth to 15th quick."
"It looks like people are points racing, but nobody has had a real good year except Greg Biffle. The 48 has been all right, but everybody else is just hit and miss. You've got to get the best you can out of your car on a given day and not try to push it further than it can go and take a chance on wrecking. We've always made late-race surges, and that's worked out good for us. I've run hard for 15th or 16th, but those days pay off at the end of this thing. Slugger (crew chief Labbe) has made some good cars to get us position. It's all working out."
"Our cars are getting better and better and our speedway program is second to none. It's turned the corner. When our cars are right, I can go. The problem is finding the balance, and we're starting to get hold of that right now. I keep saying that and saying that, but when it's right we'll go. We've got to get the best out of the car that we can, but it always makes you look better when your car is good. It makes you look like a great driver. I always say that and Ray (team owner Evernham) gets mad at me when I say that, but it's the truth. You've got to have good stuff to run. Jeff Gordon hasn't been able to make up for his stuff lately."
"I know everybody is talking about all those big-name drivers who aren't in the top 10 right now. A big-named driver ought to be in the top 10, that's the way I look at it. It just goes to show it ain't all in the driving. It's all about when you're having a bad day and the pit crew makes a good call and you get up front and gain spots -- it's team effort. That's what it's all about. Biffle is on top of the world right now because he's won races. It ain't all him."
"We're going in the right direction. We've been going in the right direction a couple of years. It's a slow process because we've had to deal with changes, spoiler change, body change, crew chief change. We've had a lot of changes and we're still solid. That's a good sign. I think we're definitely going in the right direction. It's just a matter of maintaining and continuing on that pace."
"From Loudon to Martinsville to anywhere we go, finding the right balance on the car is a challenge. It's not the car, it's trying to find a balance for us. Then when you get it you've got to figure out how to hold on to it or why you've got it. Then you think you've got it and two weeks later you've lost it again at a different track. It's a matter of building that data base every week with what I need and what the team needs, what I'm saying and what I mean when I say it. We're starting to get that communication down."
"I like New Hampshire. We've got a good car and our flat track program has really improved. We ran good at Martinsville and Phoenix, so we should be good here. We tested at Indy last week and had a decent test. We weren't the fastest car there, but we learned a lot. We tried to get a lot in in one day, so we were just trying to get a lot of information and not trying to put a combination together at the track."
SLUGGER LABBE (Crew chief No. 19 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Charger) "We've got to keep finishing races and be in position to put yourself in the right position at the end of races. If we finish races and get some good finishes everything will take care of itself. Just because we're ninth in points doesn't mean we're going to get two tires or four tires or don't free it up too much. It's business as usual. When we get to Richmond it might be a different story, but right now we've got to keep doing what we've been doing all season and keep getting good finishes."
"I wake up everyday thinking I'm going to win a race. That's what we get paid to do. I won't stroke or ride around to finish fifth. To me that's unacceptable. When Tom Brady goes out for the Patriots he doesn't want to throw seven interceptions and five incomplete passes. He goes out to win, and our sport is no different from the NFL or baseball or basketball. We get paid to win races, and it's a performance-driven sport. If you don't perform you'll be out the door, and the only way you can perform is by winning."
"A lot of the guys who have won races this year have won a bunch of races. Jeff Gordon has won three and he's 15th in points. They're not there by not winning. You go to win everyday and to me if you don't have that attitude you won't be in this garage long."
"Jeremy is doing a good job. Everything has gone fine. We stay on his case quite a bit. We argue now and then, but on the airplane later we talk and kid about it. We're having a good time. He's a lot of fun to poke at. The team is rallying around Jeremy and myself. We're one big group. We know areas we need to work on to get better, and we'll keep cutting bodies off and building new cars, whatever it takes to be successful."
"We're not where we need to be with the Dodge. We haven't won a race yet. To me, we're not doing like we should. This team is capable of winning races. Ray gives us everything we need to win. We've got to implement what he gives us and win."
"I like New Hampshire. I've always been successful here. It's a pretty neat track. It's a handling track. You've got to keep turning as you're putting throttle down, and that's hard to do nowadays. Hopefully we'll have the right package. We're looking forward to practice today and qualifying tomorrow and racing on Sunday."
KASEY KAHNE (No. 9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Charger)
NOTE: Kahne is the only Dodge driver to win this season. He's ranked 21st in the standings after 18 of 36 events.
"I enjoy racing here. Last year we had some really good runs here. I like the short tracks. I like the braking and everything that goes along with it. It's different than the normal tracks we go to. That makes it fun. I think we've got two good cars for this weekend. I think we can get two really good finishes. I'm counting on two good qualifying efforts and race runs. I think some guys are points racing and some guys don't. Obviously all those guys up there want to win races. They just haven't been able to yet. We'd like to be up in the points, but we haven't been consistent enough to do that. Once we get everything right, we'll race for wins. That's what I do anyway. I go as hard as I can, and that's the way I've always raced."