Martinsville II: Mayfield - Dodge interview

JEREMY MAYFIELD (No. 19 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Charger) OPENING COMMENTS "It was a great trip up. We drove up last night. It was a pretty pleasant drive to Martinsville. We fly everywhere we go and every once in awhile it doesn't hurt to get...

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

OPENING COMMENTS "It was a great trip up. We drove up last night. It was a pretty pleasant drive to Martinsville. We fly everywhere we go and every once in awhile it doesn't hurt to get in your vehicle and drive to the racetrack. It was pretty cool. We feel real good about this weekend. We had a great car the last race here, and it should be a good weekend for us. We're hoping it will be. Everybody is pumped up and ready to go."

COMMENT ON THE CHASE "The attitude around the shop with the 9 and the 19 guys everybody is pumped up and ready to go. We still like we've got a shot to get somewhere in the top five if not win the thing. We've still got a shot at it and that's all that counts. If we can continue on every week and be consistent who knows who could win this thing?"

COMMENT ON THE DOWNFORCE PACKAGE AFTER CHARLOTTE "We're involved inside and we're involved with it every day and trying to figure out what the problems are. You can get kind of going down the wrong track as a group as a whole and I don't think you really realize it. You can see better probably than we can. We're entrenched in the valley of trying to race every week. Taking a step back and trying to see what happens, it doesn't look like the racing is any better than what it was in the past. We're seeing a lot of cautions for some reason and that could very well be the reason we're seeing the cautions. You take downforce away whether it's a spoiler or whatever it doesn't help. I don't think there's a tire out there that can make up the difference. You take what happened last week and Goodyear had to bring such a hard tire to handle the racetrack. You take a hard tire with no downforce you see things happen that did happen. I'm not sure if it's the tire's fault, the track's fault or whatever. I'm just saying the whole combination didn't seem right last week."

DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOU NEED TO CHANGE YOUR APPROACH TO THE CHASE? "Yeah, I do. I think we've got the first 26-race deal figured out. We know how to get in The Chase. It's a whole different deal after you've gotten in to win the championship in the last 10 races than it is in the first 26. We've got some work to do and we realize that. I feel like even last year and this year both, if you're not careful you get in a conservative mode, not conservative on the racetrack, but everybody in your organization will start points racing after you get in and you can't do that. I think you've got to go all out after you get in the thing and race like there's no tomorrow. We're starting to see that. When you've got a big organization like this and you've got one car going for the championship, you've got to be careful that everybody doesn't become afraid to do things on the car. You can't be afraid in this sport. You've got to go all out and lay it on the line. What I mean by that is you can't be conservative in any area, whether it's me or the pit stops or the engine department or the chassis or whatever. You've got to stay maxed out even more than you've ever been to win the championship. We've known that, but we've got to get better at it yet for sure."

TALK ABOUT YOUR MARTINSVILLE RECORD "The first 10 races here I probably burned the brakes off of it. I didn't know any better, so you can't count those. Once I started racing we've become all right. This is a tough place, especially early in your career when you don't know what Martinsville is all about and you haven't raced this place. I've had a lot of good runs here. I've had a lot of bad runs here. We've come close to winning here a couple of times. I feel like we know how to get around here. It's just a matter of putting it all together and it seems like I've been able to do that the last couple of times here."

HOW DOES ADDING DOWNFORCE DECREASE TIRE WEAR? "If you're sliding the tires, what would that do? It would build heat. If the tire is stuck to the racetrack you don't build as much heat. There was so much grip on the racetrack and we had a harder tire than what we'd been running because there was so much grip on the racetrack. Now you've got too much grip on the racetrack and you've got to bring a harder tire. You get to racing in traffic and you don't have that grip and downforce pushing you down. It doesn't take much to spin it out. The tires weren't wearing last week. The tires weren't wearing out. We had problems with heat in them, but as far as the wear, they were not worn. They got too hot because of the combination of everything that was going on -- tires, downforce, the whole package deal didn't seem to be working for whatever reason last week. We didn't have that problem until we levelgated or whatever we call that stuff, so I'm not sure."

COMMENT ON RACING AT MARTINSVILLE "Martinsville is a little bit like Talladega or Bristol. Coming into this place you don't know what's going to happen. Everybody could get racing hard and get close out there and you know how it is. Some brakes don't work as well as others and you might get in trouble. It's definitely a good track to keep for The Chase. It's one of the best short tracks we go to as far as being competitive. If you're going to win the championship you ought to be able to run good here to call yourself a champion. If they took it off the 10-race deal it wouldn't be The Chase like it is now. You've got to have a speedway and a good short track, and it doesn't get any harder than this place right here."

SHOULD THE CHASE DRIVERS BE RACING FOR POINTS AMONG THEMSELVES? "I think it's a good idea, and I think they're looking at that. I think it's a great idea. You're only racing those 10 guys yet you can get 43rd points that day, so I think we should be on our own points system and keep the other guys on their system. It wouldn't mess those guys up and they wouldn't mess you up. That would probably be the fairest way to do it. They probably should invert the points right now, too, and we'd be in good shape. We'd see if Tony and those guys could work their way up."

HOW DOES THE 2005 CHASE DIFFER FROM LAST YEAR? "For us it's kinda the same, the attitude is kinda the same and the way we're racing is obviously the same. It's been exciting, but I don't think it's been as exciting as last year for some reason. I'm sure it will be in the next few weeks. It'll start heading up, but it just doesn't seem like the atmosphere is the same right now as far as people being pumped up about it. From the front to the back, it seems like everybody is racing hard and trying to do the best they can. It seems like everybody is racing a little harder than they did last year. I don't know if it's that or the downforce question and it looks like we're racing hard because we're sideways and wrecking."

DO YOU FEEL LIKE OUTSIDE DISTRACTIONS HAVE HURT THE CHASE? "Maybe that's why there hasn't been as much excitement or media coverage or whatever. Every week something big is happening. Maybe that's the deal. That's the only difference I've seen. On the racetrack it seems like it's about the same. It looks like we're racing harder because we're out of control most of the time, but as far as outside The Chase I'm sure that's what it is. You've got Robby Gordon and every week there's been a different story. So far there hasn't been one this week, so maybe we'll be lucky."

ARE YOU WORRIED ABOUT SOMETHING FLUKE HAPPENING IN THE CHAMPIONSHIP? "If we won the championship we won it by points and we got in this deal by points. For some reason everybody tries to take that away from us just because we're low key and do our own deal. We're not worried about it. We're doing the best we can. We made the top 10. Why don't we talk about the people that didn't make it in? That's what we don't ever talk about. If we're standing on that stage, it's not a fluke, trust me. If you win the championship in the Nextel Cup Series, you've done something and it's not an easy task. If we win the championship it won't be because it's a fluke. It'll be because we won."

IF YOU WON THE TITLE WOULD WE SEE A DIFFERENT JEREMY MAYFIELD? "I wouldn't change. I'd be real calm and wouldn't say anything. I promise you it'll be big. If we win the championship it's going to be big. That's what I need as a driver whether it's to win the championship or be up front racing for it. The day that happens maybe I'll be more outspoken. There's a lot laying in here, I'll tell you. I've just got to get it out. I've got to have an opportunity to get it out and to do that you've got to

do it at the right time. You can't sit here and talk a big game if it's not working for you. When the game starts happening we'll start talking. I promise you. Ray is kinda like that, too. He doesn't really say what's on his mind. You don't hear much out of Ray and then we start running good and then you know where he's at. The whole organization is like that a little bit. We're pretty humble. The whole group is humble, but there's a lot more to it than people understand. We're pretty cool really. We're about the coolest team out there to be honest with you."

WHAT WERE YOU THINKING LAST WEEK AFTER SEEING TONY STEWART'S PROBLEMS? "We finished 11th and after the way we were running we felt like Jesse James when we were leaving there. We robbed them. We didn't have a good car last week, and you hate to see that happen, but everybody is going to have their bad days in The Chase. It's going to happen all the way through. I don't think you're going to know who's going to win the championship this year until the final lap."

WHAT T-SHIRT DID YOU HAVE PRINTED AFTER WINNING AT MICHIGAN? "Being underrated is not really underrated. They made some shirts up like that, just a couple for the guys. We feel that way. It's better than being overrated. I'd rather be underrated than overrated."

-dodge motorsports-

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Robby Gordon , Jesse James