Rockingham: Jeremy Mayfield preview

Jeremy Mayfield No. 19 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Intrepid IMPORTANCE OF RUNNING WELL AT DAYTONA "I feel like the Daytona 500 was a key race for us starting the year off. You've worked all winter and you're excited. At times you go to the Daytona...

Jeremy Mayfield
No. 19 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Intrepid


"I feel like the Daytona 500 was a key race for us starting the year off. You've worked all winter and you're excited. At times you go to the Daytona 500 and have bad luck and get in a wreck and finish 30th like we did last year. Sometimes that can be devastating on a team that's trying to get its momentum going. I feel like it was key for the 19 car. If there was any time we needed a good run, it was our first race together. I feel like it's a weight lifted off of us, and now I'm so excited about getting to Rockingham. I'm very confident with what's going on and the direction we're going in."


"We took gas only on the last pit stop. We loosened our car up before the race even started. We thought the track was going to be a little tighter than what it was. The first run I was loose, but nobody panicked. We worked on it during a couple of stops and got it better. Then the first rain delay came and after that we felt like the car was driving great. We put ourselves in position to gamble and take fuel only and no tires. You've got to have a good car in order to be able to do that. Kenny (Francis) had confidence in his call and put us in position to finish in the top 10."


"We've got a great race car. Our Dodges have been great everywhere we tested this year. I can't wait to get to Rockingham. You go to Rockingham a little more conservative, and that's the way we're going. Our confidence is high and hopefully we can come out of there with another top 10 or a top five and hopefully a shot to win the race. You've got to be patient at Rockingham, but you've got to run fast enough to keep up. When you do that you're going to lose your tires, so there's a fine line on that deal. In the past, I've had good cars there and I may have taken off too fast. There again, you've got to be patient, but you've got to be aggressive enough to run up front."


Jeremy Mayfield is scheduled to drive the No. 19 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge that raced at the last Rockingham race where he finished 21st. The car also ran at the second Charlotte as well as both Bristol and Dover races last season.


* In his 15 NASCAR Winston Cup Series appearances at North Carolina Speedway Jeremy Mayfield has one top-five, three top-10s and one pole position. He has led in four Rockingham races for a total of 214 laps led at the track. In the fall race of 2000, Mayfield led the most laps on the day, sitting in front for 169 of 393 laps.


* Mayfield made his first Rockingham start in the Oct. 23, 1994, AC Delco 500 when he started 39th and finished 19th. His best finish at the track came in the spring race of 1999, where he started fourth and finished fifth in the Dura Lube/Big Kmart 400.


* Mayfield earned his most recent pole position at "the Rock" in the Oct. 20, 2000, Pop Secret Microwave Popcorn 400.


* In the 2002 fall race at Rockingham, Mayfield spent the day moving within the top 15. On lap 38, he moved into the top-10. He and Elliott remained in the top-10 together for nearly 50 laps. Mayfield worked with the Dew Crew throughout the day to keep him up front as well. On lap 136 he was running in eighth place. He continued to communicate with the crew to adjust his No. 19 Dodge Intrepid to adapt to the changing track conditions. Like several other drivers, Mayfield reported loose as well as tight handling conditions throughout the day. The need for fuel late in the race forced him to give up his track position. He was able to maneuver his way back through several cars in the closing laps to finish in 21st place.


* Last weekend, Mayfield started the 2003 Daytona 500 in the 20th spot. He fluctuated in the draft throughout the first part of the race due to a loose handling car. On lap 41 Mayfield came into the pits for service, receiving four tires, an air pressure adjustment and fuel. Mayfield continued to have slight handling problems and communicated to team director Kenny Francis who worked with his Dew Crew to fix the problems after the first red flag due to rain. On lap 97, rain looked imminent again and Francis elected to bring Mayfield in for fuel only. It put the No. 19 Dodge in 15th place. He was able to move up to the eighth spot before the race was red flagged and eventually called due to rain.


* Mayfield currently sits eighth in standings, making him the highest-ranking Dodge driver.


* Coming into this weekend's race, Mayfield has 274 starts, with six poles (two at Talladega and one at Darlington, Dover, Rockingham and Texas), three wins (two at Pocono, and one at California), 35 top-fives and 62 top-10s. His most recent win came at Pocono in June of 2000.


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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jeremy Mayfield