Daytona 500: McMurray - Media Day visit

JAMIE MCMURRAY -- No. 26 Crown Royal Ford Fusion YOU RAN GO-KARTS A FEW WEEKS AGO. HOW DOES THIS DIFFER FROM THAT? "It's not a lot different. There's a schedule, a driver's meeting and the race. They are just as serious in go-karting as what...

JAMIE MCMURRAY -- No. 26 Crown Royal Ford Fusion

YOU RAN GO-KARTS A FEW WEEKS AGO. HOW DOES THIS DIFFER FROM THAT? "It's not a lot different. There's a schedule, a driver's meeting and the race. They are just as serious in go-karting as what we are in stock cars, you just don't have the sponsor commitments because it's all funded out of your own pocket. Go-karting has come a long ways and it's a lot of fun to get and come to do that and be a part of their sport."

IS THIS SPORT STILL AN ADVENTURE FOR YOU? "My perspective on racing this year is different. Getting to go back and do the go-karting has made me appreciate this more than ever -- that I get to do this -- because you go back to that and everybody wants to be doing what you're doing. You're like, 'Wow, I do that,' so that's probably made racing more fun for me."

WHAT IS YOUR DOMINANT EMOTION COMING INTO SPEEDWEEKS -- ESPECIALLY BEING BACK WITH DONNIE? "I'm just very confident and confident in Donnie. It's not that I wasn't in Larry, but I started my Cup career off with Donnie Wingo and every crew chief I've had since then, he was my baseline or my standard that I compared everybody to -- right or wrong. So when you get to have that back, you can't compare it because he is what I was used to and what I grew to really like. So every crew chief I've had since then I've wanted to be like him. I woke up this morning and I'm laying there and I'm like, 'We get to start all over.' If I had to pick a scenario, I wouldn't change a thing."

DONNIE HAS WORKED WITH GUYS LIKE JIMMY SPENCER, SO HE HAS A LOT OF EXPERIENCE WITH A LOT OF DIFFERENT DRIVERS. "When they introduced me to Donnie for the first time, he had a huge chew in his mouth and I was like, 'I cannot believe this is who they think is gonna work for me.' I pictured someone who was younger, I don't know, someone who was me, maybe, but a crew chief. I've told this story. I remember the whole time with Donnie as my crew chief thinking that it seemed like this sport was gonna go to this engineering background. I thought, 'I need an engineer,' and I have to tell you I should have never opened my mouth. Donnie is a really hard worker. His work ethic, I would say, is as good as anybody's in our sport and he is the guy that asks the question and already knows the answer just to see what you'll say. I can't tell you how excited I am."

IS THIS A MAKE OR BREAK YEAR FOR YOU? "Without a doubt, but you can only do what you can. I think for sure it's a make or break season for me, but, like I say, if I had to pick a scenario to be put in, I'm in one that's as good as it can get for me. I have everything I want and I think the comfort level and the confidence I have in Donnie and the entire team, I wouldn't trade them for anyone."

YOU FINISHED THE YEAR SO STRONG LAST YEAR. DOES THAT LEAD YOU TO BELIEVE THIS SEASON WILL START WELL? "I think that since they've cancelled all the testing, guys aren't gonna fix -- whether it's driving styles or the way they set their cars up -- they're just not gonna fix that without testing. We ran well at a lot of the tracks that are coming up the first part of the season toward the end of last year, so it should be good."

WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THE SHOOTOUT FORMAT THIS YEAR? "I think that the Shootout is a little odd with the way you get in the Shootout. I remember watching this race with my dad as a kid coming here and it was always based on the pole winners and there was like a wildcard in there. It's always been about that. I remember sitting on the pole at Homestead, it was my first pole, and I'm thinking, 'I'm in the Shootout next year.' You're so excited and it's different now. Change is hard to accept sometimes and it's kind of odd for me and I'm sure it's odd for a lot of these guys that have been around for a while that you didn't have to win a pole to be in it. And then at the end of the year they threw out all these wildcards and I don't understand how all of that works. Plus, it's almost like a full race. I don't know why they just didn't let everybody race in it, so we'll see. It's exciting. It's a short race. Honestly, if the Daytona 500 was 75 laps long, it would be just as exciting."

-credit: ford racing

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup