Mayfield Confident for Vegas

Mayfield Confident for Vegas LAS VEGAS, Nev. (Feb. 23, 1998) Jeremy Mayfield and the Mobil 1 Taurus team head into this week's Las Vegas 400 at the 1.5-mile Las Vegas Motor Speedway on a roll. With strong runs in each of the first two races of...

Mayfield Confident for Vegas

LAS VEGAS, Nev. (Feb. 23, 1998)

Jeremy Mayfield and the Mobil 1 Taurus team head into this week's Las Vegas 400 at the 1.5-mile Las Vegas Motor Speedway on a roll. With strong runs in each of the first two races of the season -- a third-place in the season-opening Daytona 500 and leading in Rockingham's GM Goodwrench Service Plus 400 before being caught up in a wreck -- Mayfield is fourth in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series standings, well within sight of the lead.

Mayfield, 28, has certainly been on a roll early in the season. He and Penske-Kranefuss Racing teammate Rusty Wallace teamed at Daytona for a third and fifth-place finish. The two ran together much of the day at Rockingham, in the top-five nearly all day, with Wallace finishing second in that event.

This weekend will mark Mayfield's first trip to the Las Vegas facility. Neither team has tested at the speedway.

The following are quotes from Mayfield as the No. 12 team heads for the Las Vegas 400:

"It's still awfully early in the season but we've had some people sit up and take notice of this Mobil 1 Taurus team so far this season. It was important to get off to a good start this year and we've certainly done that. We've had good cars and good runs. We've worked well with my teammate Rusty and the guys on that Miller Lite team. We've felt pretty good about what we've been able to do so far. My confidence is pretty high.

"Still, it's really early in the year. We've got 31 races to go. There have been entire seasons in NASCAR Winston Cup racing shorter than that. We know there's a long way to go. While points are important in every race, it's way too early to take much stock in where anybody stands right now. Shoot, in the one race at Rockingham, we went from the lead in the standings at about the halfway point to fourth place where we are now. All that took was one bit of bad luck. A small piece of good luck there -- we make it through by a hair instead of missing it by a hair -- and we easily finish in the top-five, maybe the top-three again, and even have a shot to win the thing.

"We ran great at Rockingham. That was a totally different track with a totally different car, and we were able to put together a great run. One break and we're not just a top-three car, shoot, we're leading the Winston Cup standings! Again, Paul Andrews and the guys gave me a great car. Again, we worked well with our teammates. And we came within 25 laps of another fantastic finish.

"About all you can ask for in this sport is to be in a position to win. If you are in that position consistently, you are going to win. The thing that separates a Rusty Wallace or Jeff Gordon or Dale Jarrett from a lot of other teams is that they are in a position to win week in and week out. When you run like that, you're going to win your share of races. That's what we're working towards, consistently being in a position to win. Two weeks in a row we have been. With those kinds of runs, I really feel that first win is right around the corner and the second win won't be far behind that.

"I feel really confident going into Las Vegas. That might sound almost crazy to talk about confidence when I'm going to a place I've never seen before, but I think we're going to be strong there. We didn't test at Vegas and neither did Rusty but we're going to go into the place with a lot of knowledge. I've talked to a lot of people about the place, Busch guys, truck guys, IRL guys. I figure the more I know about it, the better off I'll be. Paul and Robin (Pemberton, crew chief for Wallace) have done a lot of talking too.

"The four hours of practice Thursday are going to be pretty important to everyone. Those four hours will be when you find out what you really have for the place and if you've figured it out or not. Actually, a brand new track like this puts everyone on equal footing. Dale Earnhardt doesn't have 40 races here under his belt. He and I have run exactly the same number of Winston Cup races at Las Vegas. There are differences in general knowledge and maybe somebody's 'intelligence' is a little better than somebody else's, but for the most part, everyone is going into this race on pretty equal footing. That ought to make for a really good race, a really competitive one that anybody can win. We're going into Vegas figuring this Mobil 1 Taurus has as good a shot as anybody."

Courtesy of NASCAR Online

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Jeff Gordon , Dale Jarrett , Jeremy Mayfield , Rusty Wallace