JAMIE McMURRAY (No. 42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge) COMMENT ON THE 25-POINT PENALTY YOU RECEIVED HERE LAST TIME "That's going to be huge if it comes down to it and those 25 points would have gotten us in. That's going to be very frustrating, but ...
JAMIE McMURRAY (No. 42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge)
COMMENT ON THE 25-POINT PENALTY YOU RECEIVED HERE LAST TIME
"That's going to be huge if it comes down to it and those 25 points would have gotten us in. That's going to be very frustrating, but there's nothing you can do about it. That's what you have and when it's all said and done, if you miss it, then you'll have some things to rethink, but what can you do now?"
DID YOU THINK THE PENALTY WAS TOO STIFF?
"They told me when I spun Matt Kenseth out coming down pit road, I said 'what's my penalty going to be?' Mike said, 'it's going to be the same as what everybody else got, and they gave me the same penalty Tony got at Texas.' When you come to Bristol, I think bodies do something, but they're not as critical as they are at places like Texas or Atlanta. Guys would bring a car here trying to get an aero advantage over another team. It was just simply a mistake that was overlooked at our shop. I can assure you it'll never happen again. They're going to make sure of that."
IS IT DIFFICULT TO CONTROL YOUR TEMPER HERE?
"It's hard to control it (temper) here. You just have to have your spotter and crew chief keep reminding you to keep your cool. This place brings out the demons in everybody. I think it helps to run the Busch race tonight, especially if your car runs good. If your car doesn't run good it doesn't help."
ARE YOU FINALLY PAYING ATTENTION TO THE POINTS?
"This week I paid a lot of attention to it. Every TV show you see is talking about it or every article you read is talking about it. It's hard to get away from it. Everybody at the shop it talking about it, and everybody you run into that you don't even know is talking about it. It's hard to get away from it."
HOW DO YOU RUN AT THE NEXT THREE TRACKS?
"We ran bad at California, but after we left California we went to Michigan and ran well, and we ran well at Michigan last week. I ran well at California last year. We had a chance to win the race, so I think we'll be good at Fontana. I was running second at Richmond earlier this year, and Nemechek got into me and we both hit the wall. We've got a good car for the rest of the year."
DO YOU CONSIDER YOURSELF A LONGSHOT FOR THE TOP 10?
"I don't think so. I think a lot of guys have been in the top 10 for most of the year that aren't going to make it. A few guys, every week, are running worse and worse. Some guys that haven't been there yet, like last week, me, Dale Jarrett and Kasey Kahne all finished in the top five. Some guys that aren't in the top 10 are running well every week."
HOW MANY TOP 10 TEAMS ARE OUT HERE RIGHT NOW?
"I'd say we've got 15 top 10 teams, but the thing about it is consistency for those 26 races. If I could just have 10 points for each of my six DNFs... It's all about finishing. The points system rewards guys that are consistent. If you can't do that, you don't deserve to be there anyway. We've raced well. We've just had a lot of DNFs. We qualify well here. I like this racetrack, so I feel good about it. We run well at short tracks, so I think the two upcoming short track races will be good for us. I think it's going to come down to who doesn't have trouble in these next three races. Of those seven cars from eighth to 15th, someone is going to have trouble. Whoever doesn't is who is going to be in the top 10."
WHY IS THE POTENTIAL FOR FRUSTRATION SO HIGH AT BRISTOL?
"What's so hard about Bristol, you work so hard for 300 or 400 laps and then have somebody take something away from you maybe when you're not trying to be too aggressive. That's when it gets very frustrating. Like for me here last time. I think I was running fourth and I was trying not to run into Sterling with two laps to go. I felt like I was better than him, but I was trying to maintain. I had made Matt so mad 20 laps before that he went ahead and got me in the last turn and knocked me from fourth to eighth. That makes you mad. I forgot it the next week. I've never really had a problem with Matt before. I think when you typically don't forget things are when each week you have a problem with the same guy."
RYAN NEWMAN (No. 12 ALLTEL Dodge)
NOTE: Newman holds the track record at Bristol with a sub 15-second lap.
COMMENT ON QUALIFYING AT BRISTOL
"It's definitely a wild place to qualify, just for the sheer speed. You go pretty much a second faster than you do in race trim. Knowing it's only a 15-second lap, there's little enough time that you don't need to breathe. You're better off not breathing. Like every other track, you focus on hitting your marks and getting your car to drive like you want it to drive provided you know what you're doing."
DOES THE CONCRETE FEEL DIFFERENT THAN ASPHALT?
"The concrete is different, but it's not a special feel by any means. This is the car we ran at the beginning of the year. It's got all four of our poles this year, and it's been to Rockingham, Atlanta, Bristol and New Hampshire. We're still working on poles. The last two have been rained out. We qualified eighth at Indy and didn't have an ideal draw, but we'll keep working on it like we have been."
ARE YOU TIRED OF TALKING ABOUT POINTS?
"It's ridiculous. It's not even a good system and everybody wants to talk about it. Everybody talks about it because it's not a good system. It's just coincidence because of the way the points are working out this year as far as competitiveness."
HOW MANY TOP 10 TEAMS DO YOU THINK ARE RACING RIGHT NOW?
"It looks like about 16 right now. It could be 20 next year or it could be five. I guess it's always going to be 10 but five standouts. They shouldn't close it, that's the point. They shouldn't eliminate teams. They shouldn't eliminate competition. They're eliminating competition, and that's what we're here for. It's the chase for the championship whether it starts in February or in September. It's still the chase for the championship. It's actually opened up some doors to get within 400 points, but that's still ridiculous."
DO YOU GET PUMPED UP FOR BRISTOL AT NIGHT?
"I just come here and drive it. It's pretty wild, and the competition is pretty wild, but it's just another race. It's all mental. I'm the same at every one of 'em. You feel the difference in everyone around you, but I still do everything the same, drive the same and everything else the same. I'm here to win every one of them. It is what it is"