Originally created 07/13/06

Mayfield isn't only one who's frustrated



Car owner Ray Evernham wasn't upset that Jeremy Mayfield criticized his commitment to the No. 19 stock car team. In fact, he said he was just as frustrated by the poor results.

Mayfield said one reason his team is ranked 32nd in the Nextel Cup series standings is Evernham isn't regularly around the racetrack. Evernham spends much of his time with his Craftsman Truck series team and driver Erin Crocker.

Evernham wasn't at Chicagoland Speedway on Friday or Saturday during practice or qualifying, but he came to the raceway Sunday for the USG Sheetrock 400. Mayfield finished 24th.

"My commitment to building a championship-caliber motorsports organization for numerous racing series and multiple teams has never wavered," Evernham said. "Neither has my commitment to providing the best people and resources for our race teams. What has changed is my job. I'm running a significant business with operations in the U.S. and the U.K. I have tremendous responsibilities to our sponsors and business partners away from the racetrack. That's been my focus this season. And, that's why I've put smart, talented people ... in charge of day-to-day operations at the track.

"Jeremy and I talked this weekend, and we're on the same page. We're both unsatisfied with the performance of his team. We know the potential is there and that Jeremy is a talented driver.

"It's frustrating when you can't quickly find the solution. That doesn't mean we aren't trying. Jeremy and I are going to continue to work on getting this team where it needs to be. There's a lot of racing left this season and I'm confident that we can get this program on track."

PATRICK HEADED TO NASCAR? Indy-car driver Danica Patrick is exploring a move to NASCAR.

The driver's parents were at Chicagoland Speedway on Sunday as a guest of car owner Jack Roush, and they suggested stock-car racing is a possibility for their daughter.

Patrick is in the final year of her contract with the Rahal-Letterman race team. Her parents said she's also talking with other Indy-car teams.

Patrick's possible move comes at the same time Formula One driver Juan Pablo Montoya announced he was leaving open-wheel racing for one of Chip Ganassi's Dodges next year in the Nextel Cup Series.

Sources with McLaren Mercedes said Montoya's future in NASCAR may come sooner than expected. The team said it may fire Montoya before next week's French Grand Prix and replace him with test driver Pedro de la Rosa.

Reach Don Coble at don.coble@morris.com.