Dodge This Teleconference Tuesday, Sept. 23, 2003 Jeremy Mayfield and Kenny Francis KENNY FRANCIS (Team Director No. 19 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge) WHAT HAS LED TO RECENT SUCCESS AND WHERE IS IT GOING? "We've been working real hard in all ...
Dodge This Teleconference
Tuesday, Sept. 23, 2003
Jeremy Mayfield and Kenny Francis
KENNY FRANCIS (Team Director No. 19 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge)
WHAT HAS LED TO RECENT SUCCESS AND WHERE IS IT GOING?
"We've been working real hard in all areas, from our setups to our bodies to just understanding what the car needs, and Jeremy has been working real hard in his area, too, as far as giving us better communication. Everybody has tried to get focused and tried to do everything we can do. We try not to leave any stones unturned."
WHAT WAS LOW POINT OF SEASON UNTIL YOU GOT IT TURNED AROUND?
"Early in the season we came in with pretty high hopes, and we kinda struggled. I'd say the first Darlington race was probably our lowest point. Coming from the 9 team, which is where I come from, we had run good with Bill (Elliott) at Darlington, so we went into Darlington expecting to run good and we just ran terrible. To come back to Darlington the second time, I really felt like we had a car that could win the race. We struggled a little bit on pit road, but it was cool to come back to Darlington and think we could win the race."
WHAT IMPACT DOES DRIVER HAVE AT TALLADEGA?
"I think in qualifying at Talladega, the driver probably doesn't have as much impact as he does at other places. In the race, I think he's got at least as much impact as he does at most of the other races. I feel like the speedways have been one of our stronger points all year. We've run good at all the speedways. Jeremy is real good at speedway racing, so we're looking forward to going to Talladega."
WHAT'S YOUR OPINION OF AUTOMATICALLY GETTING A LAP BACK FOR THE FIRST CAR A LAP DOWN WHEN CAUTION COMES OUT?
"It's got it's plusses and minuses I guess. Coming from the racing I came from, which is just regular short track racing, if you were going to get your lap back, you had to race your way back by the leader. That's kinda what I was used to doing. You can see the plusses to it, too. The way they're doing it, maybe it'll make the guy starting on the inside row relax a little bit. It may end up being better racing overall, but I can't really say one way or the other whether I like it or dislike it. On the one hand, you think it'd be more fair to the leader if he had to race his way back by him instead of getting a free pass. On the other hand, maybe it saves the leader some trouble. It could go either way."
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON FUTURE OF TEAM?
"I think we've been working pretty good together lately, so I think we all hope it continues on, but that's pout of our control. Right now, Jeremy is our driver and he's doing a great job so we're just going to keep doing what we're doing and keep running hard the rest of the year. Wherever it falls out I'm sure it's going to be for the best."
WILL TALLADEGA POSE A PROBLEM FOR NEW CAUTION FLAG RULES?
"I think they'll have a problem sorting it out if they try to freeze the field right when the yellow comes out, but they said if they can't figure it out they'll go back to the last scored lap. I think that'll be satisfactory for Talladega. It'll get everybody kind of relatively in the right position. I don't think they'll really have a problem with it there. Your positions are changing so fast there anyway. There are laps where you'll go from 20th to 10th back to 25th . I think it's going to be fine. I don't think there's going to be any problem."
DISCUSS ENGINEERING BACKGROUND AND EXPECTATIONS FOR TEAM
"I'm a mechanical engineer. I graduated from the University of Florida. I've been racing since I was a kid. I started working in the racing industry when I graduated from school in 1993. My background was short track racing, and I worked in road racing a little bit. I got into Busch Racing in 1996 with Bobby Jones out of Florida and Scott Lagasse's Busch team. I met Dave Charpentier, he's one of the engineers for DEI right now, and that's how I got into Winston Cup racing. I was with the 75 car, Butch Mock's team, the first year in Winston Cup. Then I went to the 88 team for a few years and then came to Evernham Motorsports and worked with the 9 car for a few years.
"We expect to keep running. We're going to keep doing everything we can to win a race before the end of the year. I feel like we've really worked on our cars. Our engine program has come a long way. Jeremy has worked on his end of it, and he's come a long way. I think we all have as far as the way we work on our race cars. We expect to keep running good and do everything we can do to win a race."
ARE YOU SHOCKED AT DEI'S ADVANTAGE AT PLATE TRACKS?
"In DEI's case, they'll tell you they've put a lot of effort into their speedway program. It's pretty specialized. They've been able to afford to do it from the personnel and financial side of it. They've been able to devote a lot of manpower and resources to make their speedway program good. I feel like that was pretty smart on their part if they can afford to do it. That just gives them a big advantage over some of the other teams that aren't quite as focused on it."
WHAT'S EVERNHAM'S APPROACH TO PLATE RACES?
"It depends on how the rest of your program is going. If your downforce program is going good, then you've got a little extra time to spend on your speedway stuff. The other way you can look at it, you can look at the speedways as a way of taking an advantage. If you're struggling in other areas you can say 'let's focus on the speedways because some other teams aren't.' I won't say we've really focused on it. We've worked on it pretty hard, but we've had to work hard on our downforce program to get it going also. We definitely haven't been able to put the effort into it that DEI has, but I feel like we've put a good amount of effort into it, and we've run good on the speedways all year - especially with Jeremy. He does a great job on the speedways. We feel like the speedways are a place where we can run good."