Toyota/ Bill Davis Racing to give Mayfield the boot
Bill Davis Racing officials announced Tuesday that driver Jeremy Mayfield will not return to the team next year.
Mayfield joined BDR for the 2007 season as the team expanded to a two-car operation for Toyota's first season in Nextel Cup, but he has struggled this year, qualifying for only eight of the 21 races.
"Jeremy has done all we asked of him and more as part of what has been an enormous challenge in 2007 for the entire BDR Cup program," team owner Bill Davis said in a news release. "It has been a huge undertaking to bring Toyota online for their first NASCAR Nextel Cup season at the same time all the teams in the sport were facing the dual competition platforms as we transitioned to the car of tomorrow.
"Add to that the challenge of facing the healthiest overall car count in years for the Nextel Cup Series, the elements involved with the top-35 watermark, as well as the education of a company that was in its first NASCAR Nextel Cup motorsports sponsorship, and it has made for some trying times for all involved.
"We have had great support from Toyota on this endeavor, but it takes more than just manufacturer support to compete on this level. It takes a tremendous amount of additional sponsorship support that just did not materialize as we had anticipated."
Mayfield's No. 36 Camry team was new for 2007 and did not have a guaranteed starting spot in the first five races of the season because it was outside the top 35 in owner points. And after missing the first four races of the year, Mayfield never could get in the top 35.
Mayfield also has gone through several crew chief changes this year as the team searched for the right chemistry.
"I've been in this sport long enough to know that it takes time to bring a brand new car up to speed in what is probably the most competitive racing series in the world," Mayfield said. "When I made the decision to move here to BDR with an untested car and a sponsor completely unfamiliar with NASCAR, I knew it would be somewhat of a gamble. I believed then, and I believe now, that Toyota has a bright future in the Cup aeries and is making progress every weekend.
"You only have to look at their success in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series and now in the Busch Series to see where it can go. I think Bill will be successful in resolving the issues that have hampered the No. 36 team this year.
"But I think I have delivered what I can to the effort and looking at the total picture - what's best for me, what's best for the team - I believe this is the right time for me to consider other opportunities."
No replacement driver has been named.