Mayfield Nobodys Fuel
August 21, 2005 | 3:40 P.M. EST
Mayfield and crew chief "Slugger" Labbe rolled the dice on fuel strategy that paid off in a win in Sunday's GFS Marketplace 400 at Michigan Int'l Speedway. Mayfield didn't pit and ran the final 52 laps without coming in for fuel and inherited the lead with six laps to go.
He raced to the checkered flag ahead of Scott Riggs, who also stretched his fuel.
"We were a 20th-place car, and we robbed the bank," Labbe said.
Mayfield's Charger finished 1.974 seconds ahead of Riggs and his Valvoline Chevrolet.
"They took a big chance running all the way under green, and it's pretty cool winning a race like that," said Mayfield.
"Every win I've ever won in this series is like that, full of drama," Mayfield said. "Right up to the wire you never know."
Matt Kenseth, Carl Edwards and Tony Stewart rounded out the Top 5.
Greg Biffle, Kurt Busch, Joe Nemechek, Brian Vickers and Jimmie Johnson completed the first ten finishers.
The trip to victory lane was Mayfield's first since his electrifying win at Richmond last September that earned him a spot in the 2004 "Chase for the NEXTEL Cup."
Mayfield now sits sixth in this year's championship standings in his quest to make his second consecutive "Chase."
"You never know if it's going to be your day until it's over," Mayfield said. "I knew that when we came in with 52 to go to get gas, it was going to be big. We were going to go all the way. We were going to gamble and go for it."
The race was marred by a number of flat tires, as has been the case most of the year. Polesitter Nemechek was one of the drivers who suffered a left rear flat tire and was forced to battle back to a Top 10 finish.
Trash and paper on the race track also played a part in Sunday's race. Kyle Busch, who led early, was knocked out by an overheating problem when a piece of paper got caught on the nose of his car and blocked his front grille. It was the second time paper got lodged on Busch's car.
"The first one we were able to shake loose," Busch said. "We weren't able to get the second piece off. It got up way too hot and ultimately ended our day."
Mayfield won $181,550 for his victory. There were seven caution flags for 30 laps and Mayfield averaged 141.551 mph.
Stewart maintains the lead in the standings by 126 over Johnson. Biffle, Rusty Wallace and Mark Martin complete the Top 5. Jeremy Mayfield holds the tenth and final "Chase for the NEXETL Cup" transfer spot with only three races remaining until the cut-off.
The NEXTEL Cup Series now heads to Bristol Motor Speedway for next Saturday night's Food City 500.