Iseason Recap:/I Jeremy Mayfield

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The good news for Jeremy Mayfield and the Evernham Motorsports team is that the No. 19 made the "Chase for the NEXTEL Cup" for the second straight year.

Now the team has to figure out how to make some noise once the "Chase" begins.

Mayfield didn't have to wait for the dramatic last race of the regular season to make this year's "Chase" as he did in the format's inaugural season. He had a spot locked up before the regular season finale at Richmond in September, which was a relief.

But unfortunately for Mayfield, once the "Chase" started, things didn't go quite as well as he'd hoped.

A 16th place at New Hampshire in the wild "Chase" opener was a sign of things to come for Mayfield, who did notch two Top 10 finishes including a seventh at Dover and a tenth in the Homestead season finale.

But a string of bad luck and finishes of 28th, 38th and 35th sealed Mayfield's fate as a "Chase" also ran for the second straight year.

Still Mayfield isn't down about his season, which included a win at Michigan in August.

"I think we showed people, and ourselves, that we're a championship caliber team again this season," Mayfield said. "Making the 'Chase' is obviously a big goal and we accomplished that. Now we just have to hope we can do it again next year and make a better run once the playoffs start."

Car owner Ray Evernham made some major changes within his team late in the season bringing in a new crew chief in Steve Francis who replaced Slugger Labbe at the last race in Homestead.

"I feel real good about it," Mayfield said of the changes and his season-ending run. "I felt good about it when Ray told me what we were going to do. I didn't know how this week was going to go, the first time together and all, but we came out of here with a top 10 is great. I'm proud of these guys. They worked great together, and I'm excited about next year. My car was good the whole race, and that's all you can ask for. I can't wait for next year. This is the first time we've been together, so I think we're going to be real good next year."

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