Daytona 500: McMurray - Media Day visit

JAMIE MCMURRAY, NO. 1 BASS PRO SHOPS IMPALA, met with members of the media at Daytona International Speedway and discussed returning to Earnhardt Ganassi Racing, racing at Daytona, how important is qualifying for Daytona 500, Danica Patrick, ...

JAMIE MCMURRAY, NO. 1 BASS PRO SHOPS IMPALA, met with members of the media at Daytona International Speedway and discussed returning to Earnhardt Ganassi Racing, racing at Daytona, how important is qualifying for Daytona 500, Danica Patrick, expectations for the season and other topics.

ON HIS RETURN TO EARNHARDT GANASSI RACING: "When I was at Ganassi before I felt like their superspeedway program was really strong and everybody has known how good the DEI superspeedway program has been over the past ten years and when those guys merged they got to take a little bit of the engines and chassis and put those together.........you know I think they sat on the pole at all of those races they got to qualify at last year for superspeedways. And you know I enjoy coming to these so should be a good weekend."

WHAT HAS IT BEEN LIKE COMING BACK. HAS IT BEEN WHAT YOU EXPECTED? "Yeah, it's very similar and I already know everybody. I think that is the toughest part when you change organizations is to go in and............I like to talk to people and get to know them and the guys that work at the shop do all the work and I think it's very important for the driver to talk with them and let them feel like they are part of the team also, even if they don't get to come to the track...........they are still a part of it because they are. So going back there I already knew most of the guys that work at the shop and its really easy to just be able to walk in and start up a conversation and it's not just a generic conversation.........you are actually talking to them."

CAN YOU TALK ABOUT HOW IT'S BETTER TO GO FROM A FIVE CAR TEAM TO A TWO CAR TEAM AND THE BENEFITS OF IT? "I am trying to be optimistic because for years when you had single car teams or two car teams everyone talked about you had to have four or five and talked about Roush's strength of having five cars, and having five cars is important to have all the information but at the same time when things aren't going well and all the teams are running in different directions........having five can also hinder you.

"So last year wasn't a good season for us at Roush and I saw the disadvantage of having so much information. So that is why I made that statement. I didn't want anyone to take that out of context........what I said.

"But I am actually pretty good friends with Juan (Pablo Montoya). He has a lot different personality than what I expected. What you see on TV is very stern and you don't see the very humorous side of him and I guess the more personal side of him. So when you are around him he actually lets his guard down a little bit and we have become really good friends. And his personality and his traits and characteristics are somewhat similar to mine in that there are times to laugh and joke around like in the motorhome lot or maybe in the trailer before practice but when it comes time to race......he is very serious. And I listened to him describe his car at the Rolex race and the ways we describe everything is very similar and in the testing that we

have done in the Cup car, just alike.......we did the same thing. We went to Disneyworld for an engineering test and Juan and I didn't really test until afterwards but when you went back and looked at the notes.......every change we made........we both had the same comments about it. So that's good stuff to me."

ABOUT JUAN PABLO FINISHING WELL IN 2009 AND MOMENTUM THAT SHOULD CREATE FOR 2010: "When you end your season, you don't see guys end their season running horrible and then get to Daytona and its all turned around. And at the same time, guys that end the season strong, typically show up at the first five or six races.....and they run well.

"So yes, I don't see any reason why Juan is really not going to be good on the get go. He ran top five in I think all of those last few races, or raced at least in the top five in all of those.

"So, yes absolutely I think they will be there and I think the same thing for my team. It might take a few races to get there and get everything working and certainly their cars have been really fast and when the spoiler comes into play is when I think we will see the change."

REGARDING SATURDAY NOW BEING A SPECIAL DAY AT DAYTONA BECAUSE OF DAYTONA 500 QUALIFYING, ARCA RACE WITH DANICA, AND THE BUD SHOOTOUT WITH SOME OF THE OLDER DRIVERS LIKE KEN SCHRADER: "I think the Shootout is the highlight of that and I think one of my favorite races all year long to be a part of or watch. It's the perfect superspeedway race in that its 70 laps long or something like that and you literally race most of that race. When there are points involved you don't race as hard at the beginning when it's a long race."

ON POLE QUALIFYING: "Well, if you have a shot to sit on the pole, it's a lot of fun. But for the other forty guys that don't have a shot at that..........its different here because being on the front row is certainly valuable because you get a whole week out of it and you are on the cover of every newspaper for five or six days leading up to that but if you qualify tenth then your starting position is going to be determined by where you finish in the 150s........so if you don't have a shot at the front row then the qualifying day isn't that big of a deal."

ARE YOU GOING TO WATCH THE ARCA RACE AND IS THERE A LITTLE INTEREST THERE? "Yep, yeah I guess (laughs)."

WHAT ABOUT THE FANS? THERE ARE THREE EVENTS FOR THE FANS AND A FAIRLY CHEAP TICKET. "Oh yeah. If you are a race fan it's a good day to watch because there is so much going on there. They have really done a good job with all the things there are to do at the track. So yes, for a fan you can come down and spend a week here and have a lot of stuff to do."

HOW TOUGH ARE DRIVERS THESE DAYS REGARDING COMPETING WITH INJURIES AS OPPOSED TO THE PAST? HOW ARE YOU GUYS DIFFERENT IN THE TOUGHNESS? "Well I don't think the Cup cars, Nationwide or Trucks...........NASCAR cars doesn't take a lot of strength in your arms or legs to drive, but the thing that you can't explain to fans is the heat that you deal with in these cars and that there are times when its so hot that you literally can't take a breath. And the only way I can simplify it is if you have ever run around on a cold day its very easy to get your breath back. But when you run around on a hot day its much harder and when you put that philosophy with the fact that you don't get a break to catch your breath, that is the hardest thing about driving a race car."

"I think when you have an injury like that (Carl Edwards foot) when it's painful, you certainly are not going to drive as hard."

THIS GENERATION SEEMS LIKE A MUCH "BUFFER" AND PHYSICALLY FIT GENERATION WITH WORKING OUT AND SUCH. "Everyone is trying to do as much as you can as a driver to be as physically fit as you can and be in control of as much as you can to have a small advantage."

AJ ALLMINDINGER SAYS THAT GO CARTS HELP HIM KEEP IN CONDITION TO THE EXTENT HE NEEDS TO BE, DO YOU AGREE? "Well the go carts are much different than stock cars but once you get relaxed in a go cart it can help you with building up your forearms. They are tiring and certainly a good way to work out but if you want to go work out, I prefer to go work out."

HAVE YOU HAD THAT BIG CRASH THAT TAKES YOU A COUPLE WEEKS TO MENTALLY OR PHYSICALLY GET BACK IN THE GAME WHERE IT WAS? "My worst accident came in Charlotte in a Nationwide race during qualifying and came at a time when with the tires and the big spoiler where you could run around Charlotte wide open for two or three laps. This happened in qualifying when I came around turn four and blew a tire out but it blew out so late that I still made the circle and brought it in. Then in the start of the race I was running wide open and about 2-3 laps in I blew the tire out again but about fifty feet earlier and the hit was just one of those............I remember hitting the wall and then turn through the infield to get to the garage and I remember hearing the crew chief saying 'get in here and we can get it fixed' and I was like 'I don't care if you fix it or not, I'm done.' It didn't hurt my body but my head just whipped so hard that.............but I think I finished third the next night in the Cup race so....."

-source: gm racing

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Carl Edwards , Danica Patrick
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing