Mayfield set to establish "career year" Brett Borden LOUDON, N.H. (July 7, 1998) To say that this has been a breakthrough year for Jeremy Mayfield is stating the obvious. To say that he's having a career year is simply stating the...
Mayfield set to establish "career year" Brett Borden
LOUDON, N.H. (July 7, 1998) To say that this has been a breakthrough year for Jeremy Mayfield is stating the obvious. To say that he's having a career year is simply stating the facts.
Mayfield, second in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series standings heading into this weekend's Jiffy Lube 300 at New Hampshire International Speeday, came into 1998 without a victory and with five top-five finishes and 11 top-10s in his four-year career. The Owensboro, Ky., native has already broken into the win column in 1998, and has left his career top-five mark in the dust by earning eight already this year.
Next on his list are the top-10s. Mayfield has 10 entering Sunday's Jiffy Lube 300, and seeks to equal his career total in little more than half a season.
Mayfield has established a new guidebook for success by looking ahead, and that's how he plans on approaching the rest of this year.
"A lot of guys told me that once you get a taste for winning, once you get a taste for leading the points, you'll never be satisfied with second again," he said. "I'll tell you what. I was never satisfied with second to begin with. We're already ready to win again and to do what we can to get that points lead back."
In order to do that, he will definitely need to improve on his New Hampshire performances from a year ago. Mayfield finished 17th and 25th in the two races at the 1.058-mile speedway, not bad by 1997 standards, but not numbers to strive for when vying for a championship.
"We feel pretty good heading to New Hampshire," Mayfield said. "The record really didn't show it but we had a pretty good car in both races there last year. This race last year, we ran in the top-10 almost all day, even though we started 27th, and felt like we had a really good shot at finishing in the top-five.
"A caution fell at the wrong time for us and it cost us a bunch. We had a pretty solid car in September, too, but circumstances kind of hurt us."
Focus for Mayfield has meant everything this year, and he says his has been pointed at New Hampshire since the last time he left it.
"Believe it or not, Sunday has already gotten here," he said. "In fact, it's been here for a good long time. We've been thinking about this race from about the time we left here in September. There is a whole lot of preparation that goes into these races. If you wait until Sunday morning to think about it, odds are you aren't even going to be here Sunday morning."
If Mayfield sounds like he has a good handle on his sudden success, he'll need good handling of another sort to do well Sunday.
"You need to handle well and you can't afford many mistakes at New Hampshire," he said. "The best way to pass somebody is underneath after they've gone into a corner too hard. That means that's the best way to get passed too. Making very few mistakes in a car that handles really well usually makes that difference."
Source: NASCAR Online