Jeremy Mayfield and teammate Kasey Kahne unveiled their "Fueled by Dew Dodges" Friday morning at Michigan International Speedway. Kahne will wheel the green paint scheme in Sunday's DHL 400, while Mayfield will race the special paint scheme in the...
Jeremy Mayfield and teammate Kasey Kahne unveiled their "Fueled by Dew Dodges" Friday morning at Michigan International Speedway. Kahne will wheel the green paint scheme in Sunday's DHL 400, while Mayfield will race the special paint scheme in the Mountain Dew Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway on Nov. 14.
JEREMY MAYFIELD (No. 19 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge)
NOTE: Mayfield finished second last week at Pocono and moved to 11th in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Standings, two points behind 10th-place Ryan Newman.
"We've just been capitalizing on not making mistakes. We've got a good car every week and we're where we need to be. We're not falling out of races and we're finishing in the top 10 (three straight, five overall in 2004). We've finished second a lot, but I feel like Kasey looking for his first win. We've been there before (victory lane), and we'll be there again -- hopefully this weekend.
"Really over the last year we've done a 180. It's unbelievable the turnaround the team has made, and I credit Ray Evernham for that. He's our owner, and he's the one who's pulled everything together and kept us strong. He made it all happen. He put all the people in the right places, and you can see the results of it now. It's a lot different now. When I come to the track every week I know what to expect. I know we've got great Dodges. I know we're not going to be struggling with stuff that just wastes time. It took about a year to find what I like in a race car. For awhile, we just couldn't find it. Now that we've found it, we're going to hold on to it.
"Mountain Dew has done so much for us, and I think these cars look really mean. I can't wait to run it in the Southern 500. We've got a chance to really showcase the paint scheme, and hopefully we can do it right this time.
"We've got to charge each week. We've got to get up solid in the top 10, and we're not there yet. Even if we were, we'd still have to race hard each week because if you didn't it'd be real easy to fall out. We're going to race hard until the end, and hopefully we can win this thing. This is the first time in my career that I feel like I've got a real shot to win the championship. I'm going to do everything that's in my power to do it, and all I can say is everybody else better get up on the wheel every week because that's what I plan to do.
"I'd liked to get all the way to the top by race 26. I don't it would take a lot of bad luck from Earnhardt Jr., but I don't care. One is our target number, and we're going to keep shooting for it. We want to keep charging and get all we can.
"I'm real happy where we are right now. We're not that far behind the leader. We've just got to keep doing what we're doing and not change anything. We've got to stay focused and not let it overwhelm us. We've got to stay humble and race like we've been racing. It really doesn't matter where we end up if we finish in the top 10, but you've got to keep chugging away at the leader every week. That's what we've been doing. It's paid off for us. If we can keep doing it we'll be in good shape. If we just sit there and try to hang on to it, I think we'd end up in bad shape. If those guys up front go for broke and break a couple of times, then bam, here comes the 19 car.
"I feel real good about Michigan. We tested here and had a great test. I cannot wait to get my Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge on the track. I'm chomping at the bit. This is as good as I've felt about racing in my whole career. I've never had this much confidence, knowing I've got this good or a race team around me. Ray has given it to me, and I 'm going to capitalize on it. I'm not on top yet, but I've certainly passed center on the bottom. It's definitely a full circle. I've been sorta to the top and rolled back down. When you go all the way back down to get back up is a tough thing to do. I feel like I've paid my dues. I'm headed back to the top, and it feels good to be able to do that. There's always more room for improvement, and that's something I don't ever want to forget. We've got to keep proving it every week, and if we do that we'll be all right. I learn something every week on how to drive these racecars. We've got to continue doing that until we get to the top."
KASEY KAHNE (No. 9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge)
"I think we're really close. It's frustrating a little bit at times when you think about why we haven't won. At the same time we're doing all the right things. Everybody is working hard and doing their jobs. We're getting close. I think if we keep working hard and keep getting better, sooner or later we're going to win races.
"I don't know what I'm going to do yet (after first victory). I haven't thought about it. If we win a race Ray will probably let us do whatever we want.
"Early in the season I think there was some surprise about how well we ran. We just need to keep doing what we've been doing. We definitely have the team to do it. It wouldn't be surprising anymore to run up front.
"You have to look at the points the way the system is now, but we just need to keep running good and the points will take care of themselves. If we win some races and run in the top 10, the points will be there. Going into the season, the top 10 wasn't a goal. After we started running well, I think it is a goal now.
"I think a lot of things are clicking. Ray Evernham has put together a great race team. We work together as one big team. Tommy Baldwin is an awesome crew chief and makes a lot of great calls. I enjoy working with him. The team is building great Dodges, and our pit stops are good. Everything is good right now. Everything is clicking. We just need to capitalize on it.
"Bill (Elliott) helps out with our testing and different things that go on each week. He really helps out when we go to new places to test that I haven't been to. We run the Busch car, too, and that helps. We don't have the Busch car here this weekend, so we have to learn in other ways. I talked to Bill a lot this week about what to do here, and Jeremy tested here so we've got some good notes.
"I think it's cool to be in People Magazine for sure. It's something that I never would have expected. It seems like they pulled people from all areas to put into that. They pulled one out of NASCAR, and I think they've done that in the past, too. I think this is something a lot of people watch and a lot of people are interested in it. They don't mind bringing a driver over. Maybe it'll be a crew chief sometime, too. Who knows?"