New sponsor, number for Mayfield Shawn A. Akers - NASCAR Online DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Feb. 4, 1998) For Jeremy Mayfield, the situation couldn't be any more conducive for him to start winning races. He's got a new teammate, a new but ...
New sponsor, number for Mayfield
Shawn A. Akers - NASCAR Online
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Feb. 4, 1998) For Jeremy Mayfield, the situation couldn't be any more conducive for him to start winning races. He's got a new teammate, a new but established co-car owner, and now the third and final piece to the puzzle, a sponsor who wants to be a big-time player in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series. On Wednesday, Mobil 1 Corporation, a leading oil, natural gas and petrochemical company with operations in more than 125 countries, announced that it will be the primary sponsor on the Penske-Kranefuss Ford Taurus driven by Mayfield, beginning with the 1998 season.
The announcement is one of several changes that have taken place within that team during the off-season. In December, it was announced that Carl Haas had sold 50 percent of the interest in the Kranefuss-Haas team to Roger Penske, making he and Michael Kranefuss partners in the team. In essence, that made Rusty Wallace, driver of the No. 2 Miller Lite Ford, Mayfield's teammate.
"I'm really excited about having a first-class sponsor, first-class car owners, and a first-class teammate," Mayfield said. "It's the ultimate opportunity for myself as a driver to be able to take me to the next level.
"I felt real good about this year before this all happened, but now with all of this happening, it's taken my confidence level to the highest. It's as high as it's ever been. I feel like I've got everything it takes to run good, and I just really feel good about that."
Another big change will be the car number. Mayfield's Ford will be embossed with the No. 12, replacing the No. 37 the team has had on the car since its inception four years ago.
"That just added to our excitement," Mayfield said. "It was a situation where 37 was our number, but being associated with Mobil 1 and the 2 car, it only made sense to change the number and number 12 was available. And man, that was just icing on the cake when we got it. The car number, it may sound weird, but that means a lot to us."
Bobby Allison drove the No. 12 Buick for Penske in the mid-70s in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series.
"Believe it or not, we felt like that (getting the No. 12) was one of the keys to bring this team together," Penske said. "That number was very special to us because of Bobby and the way he drove for us, and we hope that Jeremy can begin to start building the same kind of success with the same number."
As Mayfield begins his (fourth?) full season in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series, he's still searching for his first career victory. He did, however, post his best season at NASCAR's highest level in 1997 with a 13th-place finish in the points, only 29 points out of 10th.
With Penske and Kranefuss behind, with Wallace beside him as a teammate, and with Mobil 1 backing the team financially, Mayfield said he doesn't how he can keep from having a successful campaign in '98.
"I don't really feel pressure because I feel like it's a total team effort," Mayfield said. "I know for me to do my job, everything else has got to be there. Right now, I feel like everything is there. Penske, Mobil 1, Michael Kranefuss, everybody has been winners. I've been a winner everywhere coming up. I haven't won in Winston Cup, but you have to be in that right situation to win. Rusty Wallace didn't win until he got into his right situation. Jeff Burton didn't win until he got into his right situation. Same with Jeff Gordon. That's the same way I feel.
"This is awesome. I feel like I've got everything now that it takes to win. That's boosted my confidence up. I feel like I can win. Every driver in Winston Cup has been in my same position, they hadn't won, but they ended up winning. This team is ready to do that."