Pocono II: Jeremy Mayfield preview

BEATING EARNHARDT AT POCONO "After it happened you kind of think about it a little bit and then it goes away. When you start running bad again, you start thinking about it a lot. That was definitely the highlight of my career, to race all...


"After it happened you kind of think about it a little bit and then it goes away. When you start running bad again, you start thinking about it a lot. That was definitely the highlight of my career, to race all day with Dale Earnhardt. That's definitely something I'll never forget. I think about it a lot lately..... I'll tell you what; if we get in that position it'll be worse than that this time. I'll tell you that. We're going to race harder than ever to get back in victory lane, but it's something I think about a lot to keep my confidence up. It's definitely been an inspiration for me."


"I'm really excited about Pocono, and we had a great test at Indy. We had one of the fastest cars in race trim there. We never did any qualifying runs. I can't wait to go to Pocono and apply some of the stuff we did at Indy. In 1998 when I won my first race there (Pocono), I remember having a great test like we did here at Indy. We applied a lot of stuff to Pocono and ended up winning the race."


"I think you've got to have a good baseline, and I think that's what you're seeing us establish here with the 19 car. In '98, we won the first race. You hear these stories about coming back to the shop and covering up the car. That's what we did. We went back and got our butts kicked the second race that year. Everybody catches on real fast in this business if you're not improving every week. But you've got to have a good baseline to improve off of or you'll go back and go the other way. I feel like that's what we did with the 19 car for a year and a half. We never had our good baseline, so we were always searching. If you're searching, you're not going to beat these guys. The guys that have the baseline and notes are working off top-fives and wins. I feel like now we've got that. I think from last Pocono to this Pocono there's going to be a big difference in the 19 car just because of what we've learned since then."


Jeremy Mayfield is scheduled to drive chassis No. 6, which he raced at Michigan(a), Darlington, The Winston Open and Chicago this year. Mayfield's highest finish in the car this year was 10th at Chicago.



This weekend's race marks Mayfield's 293rd career start in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series and 19th career visit to Pocono Raceway. Mayfield has two wins, three top-five and seven top-10 finishes at the racetrack. He has led five Pocono races for a total of 182 laps.


Mayfield earned his first career NASCAR Winston Cup victory at Pocono on June 1, 1998, by passing Darrell Waltrip for the lead with 20 laps to go in the race. Mayfield's 132 laps led were the most of any driver on the day. Mayfield earned the victory on his 125th career start.


Mayfield is one of only eight active drivers to have notched two victories at Pocono Speedway - 1998(a) and 2000(a). Mayfield started his 1998 win from a career-high third place starting position at Pocono. He started 22nd in his 2000 victory, marking the third farthest back that any race-winner has ever started at Pocono.


At last year's Pennsylvania 500, Elliott and teammate Jeremy Mayfield both qualified in the top-5 (Elliott-1st, Mayfield-4th).


Mayfield started this year's Pocono 500 from the 33rd starting position. He spent most of the race adjusting his Dodge to correct for varying conditions throughout the day, particularly for loose handling. He spent most of the day in the back of the pack trying to improve the balance of the car. Various pit strategy calls and good work in the pits helped Mayfield improve throughout the day. The Dew Crew relied on four-tire calls for most of the afternoon, but a gamble late in the race to delay stopping for gas nearly paid off in a big way. Mayfield was running in the top-three with less than 20 laps to go. While the rest of the field pitted for what was believed to be the final time, Mayfield stayed out. On lap 185 he was in the third spot. One lap before a caution came out for the 97 car, Mayfield was forced to pit for gas. Track position was important in the closing laps and Mayfield managed to maintain his position and even moved up a few spots before the final caution for the 1 car ended the race under yellow. Mayfield finished in 15th place.


In last weekend's New England 300 at New Hampshire Int'l Speedway, Mayfield didn't get much of a chance to show that his Dodge could handle the conditions for Sunday's event. Hestarted in 25th place and was battling tight conditions with his Dodge. Mayfield radioed in that he thought his tire was rubbing after contact from another car pushed in the left front fender of his Dodge. The contact cut his tire, causing significant damage to the car. The Dew Crew spent the ensuing laps attempting to repair the car, but Mayfield was forced to pit several times throughout the day because of the damage. He finished the day in 34th place.


Following his 34th place finish last weekend at New Hampshire, Mayfield lost two spots in the Winston Cup points standings. He currently sits in 27th place, two points out of the next position and 160 points out of the top 20.


Mayfield earned his seventh career pole position, and his first for Evernham Motorsports, in this year's Aaron's 499 at Talladega Superspeedway. The pole was Mayfield's third at Talladega, and makes him one of only three active drivers who have scored three or more poles at the track (Sterling Marlin - three, Bill Elliott - eight). The pole was Mayfield's first since starting up front in the Pop Secret 400 at North Carolina Speedway in October 2000. All seven of Mayfield's Bud Poles have been earned on superspeedways (Talladega, Darlington, Dover, Rockingham, and Texas).


Coming into the 2003 Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway, Mayfield has made 292 starts, with seven poles (three at Talladega and one at Darlington, Dover, Rockingham, and Texas), three wins (two at Pocono, and one at California), 35 top-fives and 66 top-10s. His most recent win came at Pocono in June of 2000. He earned his most recent pole, and his first pole for Evernham Motorsports at the Aaron's 499 at Talladega on April 6th.

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Bill Elliott , Darrell Waltrip , Jeremy Mayfield , Sterling Marlin