Results fall short of expectations for Evernham Motorsports

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What started out as a day filled with anticipation with all three Evernham Motorsports Dodge Chargers running in the top 10 early in the race turned to disappointment by the end of the day at Texas Motor Speedway in the Samsung/Radio Shack 500. Jeremy Mayfield, Kasey Kahne and Bill Elliott all qualified in the top 15. In Saturday's final practice session, the trio was among the 10 fastest cars on the track. Expectations were high. It appeared there would even be a little luck along the way as Mayfield lost a lap during a green-flag pit cycle, but would get it back when the 11th caution appeared on lap 272. Mayfield's luck came as a result of Kahne's misfortune. The No. 9 car suffered an engine failure due to the failure of an oil pump part which started a chain reaction that would end with Kahne going into a spin and into the turn four wall. He was running fifth at the time and had been in the top five throughout most of the first two-thirds of the race. Elliott encountered mechanical problems moments later and was out of competition when the checkered flag fell. Mayfield started second in the No. 19 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Charger with a time of 28.062 seconds at 192.431 mph. He assumed the lead on the second circuit and held the top spot through lap 24 when the first caution appeared. Mayfield pitted for four tires and fuel and lost the top spot only because the leader opted for a two-tire stop. Once again, Mayfield took his Dodge Charger to the front, taking the lead on lap 29 and holding it for10 circuits. Although surrendering the point, he would remain in the top 10 through the next 100 laps. An adjustment during a pit stop under caution on lap 124 to keep up with the changing track conditions missed the mark slightly and Mayfield was unable to keep pace with the leaders. Mayfield's car was loose going into the corner and tight off. To make the situation worse, the problem occurred during the longest green-flag segment of the race. When Mayfield made his scheduled stop on lap 186 under green, Crew Chief Slugger Labbe called for an air pressure and chassis adjustment during the four-tire stop. When the green-flag cycle was complete, Mayfield was a lap down. The break Mayfield and his Dew Crew needed came on lap 272 when the ninth caution appeared. He was the recipient of the "free pass" as the first car a lap down. He restarted 21st and managed to work his way up to 11th at the checkered flag. "It was off and on all day," Mayfield said. "I started out really good, and I guess the track changed or something. We kept fighting back and toward the end, we were good again. We just missed it a little bit there in the middle of the race. We freed it up a little bit too much. "We fought hard today, but that's what it's all about. We've done that a lot this year". Mayfield moved up one spot in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series point standings to the 16th spot 73 points out of 10th. Kahne started third in the No. 9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Charger with a time of 28.164 seconds at 191.734 mph. From the drop of the green flag, Kahne's Dodge Charger was one of the fastest cars on the track. His Dew Crew completed pit stops in the 13-second range early in the race to help him keep pace with the front runners. Kahne spent much of the first 250 laps in the top five. Although running with the leaders, Kahne and Team Director Tommy Baldwin continued to search for the adjustment that would take the No. 9 Dodge Charger to the front. Even two minor miscues didn't deter Kahne and his No. 9 Dew Crew. On a restart on lap 27, Kahne slid the front tires of his car going into the corner and had to back out of the throttle, losing eight positions. Once back on the gas, he was on the move again and was in the sixth spot by lap 59. The second miscue came on lap 187 during a green-flag pit stop. Kahne's car slid past the front boundary of his pit box. The team quickly pushed the car back less than a foot to begin their work. Kahne lost five positions, but he was back in the top five in 20 laps. Kahne, running fourth, made a stop under caution on lap 242 for four tires, fuel plus an air pressure adjustment. When green-flag competition resumed, Kahne said his car was still tight although he was firmly in the fifth spot. Baldwin was ready for one final adjustment on the final pit stop. Unfortunately, he didn't get to make the adjustments as the car received heavy damage after making contact with the wall on lap 272. "Something broke," Kahne said. "I got off the throttle getting into the corner and it happened. We had a top-five car today. It wasn't as good as we wanted it to be, but we had a good enough car to still be in the top five. "Everybody has bad luck. It's just part of racing. We wanted to win, but everybody wants to win. We're trying hard to do that and it didn't work out today. We had a top-five car, but you have to get better to win the race." Kahne is 23rd in the NEXTEL Cup point standings, 16 points out of 20th and 87 out of 15th. He's 155 points out of 10th. Bill Elliott started Sunday's race in the 15th position with a time of 28.384 seconds at 190.248 mph. Elliott's No. 91 Stanley Tools Dodge Charger quickly cut through the field and broke into the top 10 just 20 laps into the race. However, after the team's first pit stop on lap 33, the car's handling began to change. Elliott radioed in that his car was getting tight - a condition that the No. 91 Stanley Tools squad would make adjustments to remedy throughout the race. About a third of the way through the race, Elliott had fallen out of the top-25 due to the deterioration of the car's handling. Elliott and team director, Chris Andrews, determined that the buildup of rubber on the track was helping to cause the difficult driving conditions. The team called for multiple rounds of track bar, air pressure and spring adjustments to get Elliott' s car to grip better in the corners. Elliott remained on the lead lap through about two-thirds of the race, but the lead cars reached him right before the seventh caution of the day on lap 212. After pitting under yellow and contact with another car on pit road, Elliott reported that he might have damage to his right-front fender. The team confirmed that a possible tire rub could develop from the body damage, so Elliott re-pitted under caution and returned to the field in 29th place. However, while moving back up through the field, Elliott's car showed symptoms of a mechanical problem. He described over the radio how his car seemed to be going away. On lap 286 he was eventually forced to pull his No. 91 Stanley Tools Dodge Charger into the garage for good. "We took off strong at the beginning, and I was really happy with the start of the race," Andrews said. "I was expecting that we had something for the whole day and right after the first pit stop we started to struggle as rubber built up on the racetrack. We adjusted a lot, and got a lot better, but we had that incident at the end under the hood. So, we'll take a close look at what happened when we get back to the shop, and we'll go to work on it."


Coming into the weekend, Ray Evernham contributed to SPEED TV's "NASCAR Nation," to discuss his charitable outreach effort with legendary motorcycle fabricator, Dave Perewitz, and PPG Automotive Refinish to raise money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. On Friday afternoon, Evernham, Perewitz and PPG hosted the "Charity Chopper" press event that aired on SPEED TV's "NASCAR Nation" and "NASCAR Live." The event was also covered in Sunday's race broadcast by FOX. On Friday morning during an open interview session, Mayfield answered a variety of questions from the media including SPEED Channel, FSN, ESPN, Orlando Sentinel, Richmond Times-Dispatch, NASCAR.com, NASCAR Scene and XM Radio. Prior to qualifying, Mayfield was interviewed by PRN. After qualifying, he was interviewed by SPEED Channel, PRN, and XM Radio. He also went to the Media Center as the No. 2 qualifier and answered questions from the media which included the Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Star Telegram, San Antonio Light, Houston Chronicle, Winston-Salem Journal, Indianapolis Star, Orlando Sentinel, Charlotte Observer, Associated Press, NASCAR.com; four local TV stations and others. He also did a live interview with XM Radio. On Sunday, Mayfield was interviewed by PRN and Fox prior to the start of the race. On Friday morning, Kahne did an interview for ESPN "SportsCenter" and SPEED Channel. Prior to qualifying he was interviewed by SPEED Channel and PRN. After qualifying third, he was interviewed by SPEED Channel, PRN, Fox Sports Net, XM Radio and three local TV stations. As the No. 2 qualifier, he want to the Media Center where he was interviewed by the Dallas Morning-News, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Indianapolis Star, Orlando Sentinel, Richmond Times-Dispatch, San Antonio Light, Houston Chronicle, Orlando Sentinel, Charlotte Observer, Associated Press, NASCAR.com and two local TV stations plus other media. He then was a guest on SPEED Channel's "Trackside Live". On Sunday morning, Kahne did a live segment with SPEED Channel's "NASCAR This Morning". Kahne was interviewed by PRN and Fox prior to the start of the race. After his accident, he was interviewed by Fox, PRN and SPEED Channel. He also was interviewed by NASCAR.com. Prior to Friday's qualifying session, Bill Elliott spoke with PRN. Afterwards he was interviewed by SPEED Channel, XM Radio and the San Antonio Express-News. On Saturday, Sammy Johns did an inter view with the San Antonio Light and NASCAR Scene. On Friday, Jeff Seaberg did an interview with NASCAR Scene on how teams coordinate getting cars to Texas and Phoenix on back-to-back weekends.


Thursday morning Ray Evernham was the keynote speaker at the Siemens Championship Challenge at the TPC Four Seasons Resort in Irving, TX. While Evernham was speaking to the group, Erin Crocker and the No. 91 transporter visited a Stanley facility in the Dallas area signing autographs for the employees and the VIP clients and guests. Erin Crocker kicked the day off on Friday morning at the Lawry's Cooking Caravan outside the track. She assisted the chef with a cooking demonstration for fans that had gathered for the event. On Friday evening, Bill Elliott made an appearance at Wal-Mart store #5312 in Fort Worth to sign autographs on behalf of Stanley; later that evening Ray Evernham met with Auto Value/Bumper-to-Bumper guests for dinner. On Saturday morning Kasey Kahne visited the AVON display outside turn four to sign autographs for fans that had begun to gather as early as 4:10 a.m. that morning. Kahne then joined Ray Evernham at the Trus Joist hospitality tent to conduct a question and answer session with the group and then sign autographs. Simultaneously Jeremy Mayfield was signing autographs in the MAC tools hospitality tent. Later Saturday morning, Ray Evernham made a visit to the Unilever suite located high above the front stretch where he held a question and answer session and signed autographs; Ray then returned to the No. 19 hauler where he held a meet and greet with Freightliner guests following final practice. On Sunday morning Bill Elliott and Kasey Kahne began their day by visiting the Stanley Tools hospitality tent where over 500 guests participated in a question and answer session with the drivers. Jeremy Mayfield stopped by the Siemens hospitality tent for a question and answer session with the group and then returned to the garage where he was joined by Ray Evernham for a meet and greet with Siemens TOP (Team Owners Program) guests Mustang Electric and Whiteside Electric. Elliott finished out the morning with a VIP meet and greet at the No. 91 transporter with guests from Stanley Tools, while Kahne was at the No. 9 transporter hosting a group from Mountain Dew and Evernham was spending time with guests from Deka Batteries.

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