Mayfield Sweeps GNSS at Franklin County
Jun 20, 2022
JACKSONVILLE, NC – Five-time NASCAR Cup Series race winner Jeremy Mayfield is hoping his second career start at Goodyear All American speedway ends on a winning note in Saturday night’s Summer Classic at the 4/10-mile track in Jacksonville.
Mayfield, 53, from Owensboro, Kentucky, previously raced at the track, then called Coastal Plains Raceway, in 2014 during a tour modified event in 2014 where he led several laps before finishing 10th. Over eight years later, he’s returning to Jacksonville with the Grand National Super Series, fresh off a sweep of the series’ doubleheader at Franklin County Speedway in Callaway, Virginia, and he hopes to do the same thing in the Summer Classic.
“I’d like to go there and win both races, that’s my goal,” Mayfield said. “We were lucky enough to do that at Franklin County. I’m not sure we had the fastest car there but we were good enough to win both races. I think, by experience, I think we should at least be able to run up front and have a shot at it anyway. With Bob [Schact] and Frank [Kimmel] and all the other guys, we should be able to put on a good show. Any of those three guys can win the race for sure.”
While Mayfield will come into Saturday’s race with experience at Goodyear All American Speedway, he does not expect that past experience to be that much of an advantage against the caliber of competition he will face in the Grand National Super Series.
“I’ve only been there once but we did lead a bunch of laps there,” Mayfield remarked. “I remember I liked the racetrack. It was a really good racetrack. As far as the other guys not being on that track, I don’t think that will matter because they adapt to different places really quick. It won’t take any of us really long to get fast there.”
While Mayfield knows it will be tough to win again on Saturday, the victory on June 18 at Franklin County boosted his confidence and showed he could still get the job done as a driver.
It doesn’t matter what you win in, it’s tough. Everybody’s competitive and you can bet you’re gonna have to beat the best to win to come back and win anywhere is a good feeling. It feels great to be back in victory lane and that you can still do it and not forget anything. It’s definitely a fun deal when you win.
One of Mayfield’s primary challengers on Saturday will be Frank Kimmel, a 10-time champion of the ARCA Menards Series. Mayfield has a lot of experience racing with Kimmel at short tracks in Kentucky and Indiana in the 1980s and 1990s.
“Frank and I have a lot of history together,” Mayfield elaborated. “Back in the 80s and 90s, we ran Late Models back then and he would travel from Indiana. A lot of people would race at Kentucky Motor Speedway on Saturday nights. I was the only one in the Owensboro area that ran Late Models so I was against all them. Frank and them, we raced hard every week, about as hard as you can race. Frank would tell you the same thing. That type of racing back then helped us both get to where we are today.
“It helped me with experience and looking back and the guys from Louisville,” Mayfield continued. “You don’t get better racing than we raced back there. We beat and banged. It’s going to be exciting to race against him this weekend. He’s accomplished a lot in his career. To talk and reminisce old times will be cool as hell.”
Mayfield then enjoyed a career in NASCAR, moving up the ranks and eventually into the top-tier NASCAR Cup Series in the mid-90s, securing a full-time ride in 1995. A few years later, he would join Penske Racing and score three wins – including a famous victory where he executed a bump-and-run on the sport’s most prolific superstar Dale Earnhardt.
“I saw him the week after that and I thought he was going to be mad at me,” Mayfield recalled. “He wasn’t. He joked around with me. Imagine the last lap of the Cup race and you’re racing against your longtime hero, Dale, and you’ve been running together all day long and I knew I only had one shot at it and I got a run off the tunnel turn going into turn three. I drive up on my longtime hero that I’ve looked up to my whole career and I was able to get the pass and win the race. It was a dream come true.”
Mayfield would win two more races driving for Ray Evernham before a contentious breakup with the team, including a win in Richmond, Virginia, in 2004 which locked him into the field of the first-ever installment of NASCAR’s postseason, then called the Chase for the Championship. However, the win against one of the greatest drivers in the history of stock car racing will always stand out as the milestone moment for the veteran racer.
“Being able to do that on the last turn of any race would be exciting for anybody who races anywhere, I don’t care if you race drag cars or dirt cars or cup or late models, everybody would want the chance to beat Dale Earnhardt,” Mayfield continued. “It was like a dream come true for anybody who would be in that situation. It’s been the highlight of my career for sure and something that I’ll never forget.”
Mayfield’s final start in NASCAR came in 2009. He would return to racing in 2014 in the now-defunct KOMA Unwind Modified Madness Series, and then raced some on dirt.
“I was very fortunate to be with some great race teams and not so fortunate to be with some that weren’t so great after all,” Mayfield explained. “You’ve got to have good people around you, good equipment, good R&D, and all of the people it takes to make a race team that puts themselves in position to win. It’s huge. It’s not just the driver, or engineer, or crew chief. It takes a tremendous amount of time and resources to win in the Cup Series and that’s why you only see a few teams do it.”
The Grand National Super Series, which will have a stacked field on Saturday, is one of five divisions that will compete in the Summer Classic – which will have eight total feature races. Legends, Bandoleros, Bombers, and Champ Karts will also be in action.
Grandstands open at 6pm and the green flag will wave at 8pm. Tickets are available at the gate for $15 for adults, $5 for kids ages 6-12 and kids five (5) and under are admitted free. Trackside parking and suite seating are also available, concessions are on site, and discounts are available for active/retired military and veterans and senior citizens.
A fan fest has been scheduled for 7pm Saturday ahead of the Summer Classic to give fans the opportunity to meet the drivers competing in the Summer Classic – time and weather permitting.
For those unable to attend, the Summer Classic will be available on Racing America.