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FOX Sports Exclusive
Mayfield brings home top-10 finish while Kahne earns top rookie honors again
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Updated Mar 22, 2004 10:26 PM ET
The Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodges of Evernham Motorsports fought hard for the finish at the Carolina Dodge Dealers 400 at Darlington Raceway today, battling both the field and the famously tough track to bring home top-10 and top-15 finishes for the day. Jeremy Mayfield, who drove the same chassis he ran at Rockingham to an 11th-place finish, started the day in the 18th position after a qualifying lap of 29.040 seconds with a speed of 169.339 mph. He quickly drove his No. 19 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge into the top 10 by lap 38. The Dew Crew went to work during a series of yellow flag pit stops to improve the handling of the Dodge, and Mayfield was running in the third position by lap 130. After a caution on lap 134, he cycled back to the fifth position and ran between fifth and seventh for the second half of the race. A late race caution for a spin by his teammate Kasey Kahne brought Mayfield back into the pits for tires and a splash of fuel. He came out of the pits ninth and finished the day in the same position. "We had a great car, we just didn't win," said Mayfield. "The Dew Crew did a great job with the Dodge. It drove well, it handled well. We ran up front all day. We just needed track position. We had long runs, and that's what we needed, but you can't give up track position when you've got it." Mayfield remains seventh in the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series points race, with one top-five and two top-10 finishes. Last week, he won the USG Driver of the Race Award for his second-place finish at Atlanta. Kasey Kahne, who won his second NASCAR Nextel Cup Series career pole award for the Carolina Dodge Dealers 400, led the field to the green for today's race in his No. 9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge. He held the top position for 11 laps until an early caution brought him into the pits. He came out in the third position, but re-took the lead on lap 23 for eight more laps until another caution cycled him back in the field. On lap 33, he returned to the front of the field for three more laps, and again on lap 124 for two more. In total, he led four times for 24 laps. After a pit stop on lap 125, Kahne noticed a difference in his car's handling; his right rear tire went flat, sending him spinning on lap 144, putting him one lap down. But, Kahne and the Dew Crew were able to adjust the car and gain spots back on the field. He soon returned to the lead lap and worked his way up to the 11th spot before an on-track incident on lap 283 sent him spinning between turns three and four. Kahne skillfully kept the Dodge out of the SAFER barriers and brought it back to pit road. The Dew Crew made a quick tire change and repaired the damaged valance, and Kahne returned to the field with just four laps to go. Once again, he proved he has the focus to bring home great finishes by barreling through the field to finish 13th, the top rookie in the field. It was his fourth Raybestos Rookie of the Race award for the No. 9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge in five races. Kahne continues to lead the Raybestos Rookie of the Year battle, and moves to fifth in the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series standings. "We had the car to beat all day," said Kahne. "Even at the end I think we had the best car on the race track. I just made too many mistakes to win the race."
Evernham Motorsports in the News
When the Dodges of Evernham Motorsports run at the front of the field, they also run on front pages of leading papers around the country. After their two-three finish at Atlanta, Jeremy Mayfield was the guest on the Dodge Motorsports teleconference for interviews with Race Report Radio Network, Performance Racing Network, MRN Radio, Dallas Morning News, The Post And Courier, Zoomster.com, WSB Radio, ABC Sports, WXYT Detroit, St. Petersburg Times, The Daytona Beach News Journal, Motor Sports Minute, Nascar Radio, Landmark Newspapers, CBS Radio Sports, Winston-Salem News Journal, The Final Lap, American Thunder, Kansas City Star, Richmond Times Dispatch, Sporting News, Ft. Worth Star Telegram and Speedfreaks Radio. Kasey Kahne participated in interviews with "RPM Now" on ESPN Radio, Fox Sports Radio (120 affiliates) and CBS Sportsline (60 affiliates). Mayfield also participated in a photo shoot for the cover of Do! Magazine, a new home improvement magazine for hip and trendy homeowners. The feature story showcases Mayfield's talent away from the track - tackling home repair projects and even building his own staircase. The Mayfield issue will hit newsstands in June, and the magazine is carried in Home Depot and Lowe's stores nationwide in addition to traditional newsstands. Ray Evernham taped a series of segments for Fox's "Totally NASCAR" called "Keys to Winning with Ray Evernham." In each segment, Evernham discusses what it takes to win at each upcoming track on the schedule. The segments will air weekly in the pre-race show. Evernham and Kahne were interviewed on Friday for a feature on ESPN Sportscenter about the team's performance. The segment aired Saturday morning and afternoon. Following his pole winning qualifying effort, Kahne was interviewed by Speed Channel (live), MRN Radio (live), ESPN (Sportscenter), NASCAR Images, The State (Columbia, SC), Landmark Newspapers, Racing Milestones, Daytona Beach News-Journal, XM Satellite Radio and PRN Radio. On Saturday, Evernham met with a group of media members to discuss the performance of his No. 9 and No. 19 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodges, including Charlotte Observer, NASCAR Scene, the Post and Courier, the State, Richmond Times-Dispatch, Associated Press, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Daytona Beach News-Journal, Orlando Sentinel and XM Satellite Radio. Mayfield appeared on "NASCAR This Morning" on Sunday morning to discuss his outlook for the race, while Kahne conducted live interviews with MRN and Fox during the pre-race ceremonies. Following the race, Kahne met with members of the media in the media center for his Raybestos rookie award. This week, Mayfield will be a special guest on NASCAR.com's "Track Smack" and "Inside Nextel Cup", while Kahne will appear on "Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain" on Speed Channel.
Red reigned for weekend as the Carolina Dodge Dealers held the race entitlement. The track was adorned with signage, pace trucks, hospitality and Dodge City. Kahne and Mayfield participated in the Dodge Dealer hospitality on Sunday morning and Bill Elliott was a special guest at Dodge City. Mountain Dew also brought valued customers to meet with Kahne for autographs and photos before the race on Sunday.
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