Daytona 500: McMurray, Wingo - Ford interview 2009-02-13

Jamie McMurray, driver of the No. 26 Crown Royal Ford Fusion, posted the fastest lap time (46.986 second, 191.546 mph) during Friday's practice at Daytona. McMurray and crew chief Donnie Wingo talked about the success the 26 team has enjoyed this...

Jamie McMurray, driver of the No. 26 Crown Royal Ford Fusion, posted the fastest lap time (46.986 second, 191.546 mph) during Friday's practice at Daytona. McMurray and crew chief Donnie Wingo talked about the success the 26 team has enjoyed this week.

JAMIE McMURRAY: "This was, I think, one of our toughest tracks last year, so I needed to come down here and have a good Shootout and then a good race yesterday. We put a new engine in today and it seems to run well, so, yeah, so far, so good."

THE CONSENSUS HERE IS THAT THE CAR THAT COMES OFF THE TRUCK IS THE CAR YOU HAVE. SO, ALL OF THESE STRONG SHOWING JUST KEEPS CONFIRMING YOU'VE GOT A GOOD CAR, CORRECT? "Well, the car that we unloaded off the truck, we wrecked, so this is actually the car from the Shootout, but it ran really well in the Shootout and it raced really well yesterday. And, for some reason, it was just faster than the other car. They're all built the same -- I mean, all the cars at Roush are, but certainly that car, the two that we have are a little bit quicker than the others."

YOU FINISHED LAST SEASON WITH THREE CONSECUTIVE THIRD-PLACE FINISHES. BECAUSE OF THAT SUCCESS, DID YOU SPEND THE OFFSEASON WISHING THIS WEEK WOULD GET HERE SOONER? "I wanted it to end, but I didn't want it to end because we were running so well. And you just never know when you take that break how you're going to start back up. But it was really goods I think for the Shootout to go the way it did, and our car for the 500 is going to be really good, too. If we can just survive until that last caution, I am just positive that we'll have a car that can win, whether you can get the push at the point that you need it. I mean, you can't set yourself up for that, there has to be a little bit of luck. We'll have a good car for the 500, for sure. And then we'll go to Fontana and Vegas and Bristol, all those races that are coming up towards the beginning of the year, those are all places where we ran well at the end of last year. You have a really good starting point because of your set-ups from last year, so you just work from there."

NOW THAT YOU KNOW YOU HAVE A GOOD CAR, WHAT IS YOUR PLAN FOR TOMORROW'S PRACTICE? "Today, we ran just a few laps to be sure that you didn't have any oil leaks and no vibrations -- nothing felt way out of the ordinary. Then, tomorrow we're going to work on the handling a little bit. I think our car is really close after the 150s and the little bit we did today. It's still just a little bit tight, so we'll come up with some ideas, maybe just try two or three runs tomorrow. This is the same car we ran in the Shootout and it was nighttime when we ran that race, and this race is going to end at night, so we think we have a pretty good starting point."

DONNIE WINGO -- Crew chief: WHAT DO YOU HOPE TO ACCOMPLISH IN TOMORROW'S PRACTICE? "We just need to get a little bit freer without having to do it with something we adjust during the race. We want to leave the air and stuff like we've got it, so that'll give us more of an adjustment during the race, and we'll try to leave the wedge and trackbar the way we have it, so we can just work with the springs and the bump stops and hope to get a little bit better with that."

THIS TEAM IS OFF TO A GOOD START. DO YOU BELIEVE THAT THE BEGINNING OF A SEASON CAN SET THE TONE FOR THE REST OF THE SEASON? "I think that's probably the first thing I told him when I came over here. The first five races of the year is usually what sets your tone for the year, so if you can get off to a really good, solid start in the first five races and get some good runs out of it, and maybe some wins, whatever, just the best runs these first five races, it kind of sets you up getting into the season, as we get going, to make the Chase. Those first five races set the tone for the rest of the season."

-credit: ford racing

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Jamie McMurray