Fontana: McMurray - Friday media visits

JAMIE MCMURRAY, NO. 1 BASS PRO SHOPS/TRACKER BOATS IMPALA met with media and discussed his win of the Daytona 500, post-race media schedule, how he celebrated, and more. ON WINNING THE DAYTONA 500 "I am still blown away by how much attention is...

JAMIE MCMURRAY, NO. 1 BASS PRO SHOPS/TRACKER BOATS IMPALA met with media and discussed his win of the Daytona 500, post-race media schedule, how he celebrated, and more.

ON WINNING THE DAYTONA 500 "I am still blown away by how much attention is placed on the Daytona 500. It's a dream to win that race. But the amount of media attention that goes along with the Daytona 500, you really can't explain it to anybody. I told Jenn Powell from NASCAR yesterday, when we were about done, that I wanted her to put together a spreadsheet and show me everything that I have done in the last four days because I don't believe that anyone would believe everything that you've gone through and that you've gotten to do. You get in the car, they drive you to whatever appearance you're doing and you think you're going to rest, and they put a cell phone in your ear and they say this is a newspaper or this is a radio station or this is somebody that you don't know. And you talk all the way there and then you get out and you do your appearance and you get back in the car and you get ready to take a break, and they put the cell phone in your ear again. No joke, everybody's cell phone in the car was dead at the end of each day. No battery was left in anyone's because we had used them all day long. So it's just unbelievable. And I think something else that has been kind of an eye-opener is that I knew what it meant to win this race, but from the fans and from my peers in the garage, whether it's like Tony Stewart coming up last night to dinner to congratulate me, it's just unbelievable. I mean I've won a few races. And you see a few guys in the garage and they say, you know, good job. Everybody wants to come up and shake your hand and congratulate you. And that, honestly, is what if the most enjoyable part of it to me. As I walk through the garage, from both sides, I see people like staring at me waiting on me to get to them to shake my hand. And it's just been wonderful."

THE DRIVERS ALL SEEM GENUINELY HAPPY FOR YOU AND THAT THIS IS A POPULAR VICTORY AMONG YOUR PEERS. BUT YOU SEEM ALMOST SURPRISED BY THAT "I think that's what's been a little bit shocking too. Everyone from the drivers to crew chiefs to the media; even the photographers that have come up to me and everyone and reach in and say good job and I'm happy for you, but they want to tell you a five minute story of why they're happy. And I'm glad to listen. It's been wonderful. It's just been honestly, the best week of my life. Well, my wedding day would be the best day of my life. But this has been a real close second. I can tell you that. And gosh, it's great that everyone is being so nice and is treating me with so much respect. You can't buy that. You can't make people say all those things about you; that's just the way they feel. And it's really incredible. It really is. I walked in here today and it's just a different feeling than I've ever had in the garage area."

WHAT HAS THE SOCIAL MEDIA BEEN LIKE FOR YOU THIS WEEK? "Well, Twitter has been really good for me. I've posted on there. I've tried really hard to use that so that I can share my Daytona 500 win with everyone. And whether it's media, to let them know what I'm doing, or my family, or just fans. It's just a great way for people to follow you. I got on Twitter initially and I don't really care to read that Taylor Swift had oatmeal for breakfast. But when you get to read pictures, like we got our bus stuck yesterday and it's a priceless picture.

"Here we are on this tour of east L.A. on a double-decker bus and we got it stuck. And I'm like, I've got to get a picture of this and share it with everyone because a picture is way better than the story, do you know what I mean? And I thought it was fun to see the amount of people who came up to me at Bass Pro Shops last night, we did an autograph appearance, and they're like, man, I can't believe you guys got the bus stuck. And I'm like, how did you know? And they're like well we follow you on Twitter. And everyone, it's amazing the amount of people that are following me on that and I don't get to read everything because I'm fortunate enough I've got enough followers now that when they send replies, you can't read them all. I just randomly scroll through my phone and I love reading how happy all the fans are that are following me on that. I am like a little Twitter geek right now. I really can't get enough of it."

ATLANTA MOTOR SPEEDWAY HAD A TICKET PROMOTION WHERE 2000 FANS GOT FRONT STRETCH TICKETS FOR $1 APIECE BECAUSE THAT'S YOUR CAR NUMBER "Well, my good friend Marcy Scott sent me an email and ironically said would you put this on your Twitter page that they were going to have the tickets for a dollar. And there's a real chance because you ran so well in the Shootout. And it's cool to see that the race tracks get creative like that. I hope that's good for the race track. I hope I didn't put them in debt or anything. I assume they wish that Carl Edwards (No. 99) would have won so it could have been an expensive ticket. But that's great. I hope all those fans come and get to enjoy it and that they go to Bass Pro Shops and spend whatever the difference was on fishing lures."

AT WHAT POINT IN YOUR CAREER DID YOU THINK YOU COULD ACTUALLY WIN THE DAYTONA 500? AND HOW MANY TIMES WERE THERE THAT YOU DIDN'T THINK YOU DIDN'T THINK YOU WOULD EVER WIN THE DAYTONA 500? "I really struggled in that race for some reason. If you look at my stats, for some reason the July race has been really good to me and I don't know when that point came along. Last year we ran in the top four or five the whole race until the No. 88 and the No. 83 wrecked each other on the backstretch and kind of ended those chances. But I don't know, there was just a moment that came along when I thought I could win this race. I mean 100 feet before the start/finish line last Sunday I thought I had a chance to win it. But I don't know that there's really a moment that I thought I could win this."

WHAT'S YOUR LEVEL OF REST RIGHT NOW? HAVE YOU BEEN GETTING ENOUGH SLEEP? ARE YOU TOTALLY EXHAUSTED OR ARE YOU PREPARED FOR THIS WEEKEND ? "It has been very tiring. I got up at 4:45 a.m. the first two mornings; that's because I couldn't sleep. You know you go to sleep and you're just so tired and I was so excited at the same time to get going, you know. So, I'm really tired. I got a lot of sleep last night. And normally you come to the west coast and with the three-hour time difference you go to bed at like 7 in the evening and you wake up at 3 in the morning. But I got a really good night's sleep last night and I felt really rested. I think what I missed more than anything this week is my training. And that's something that I always look forward to and I didn't get to do that this week.

"Anyone who is a big runner or who exercises a lot, that gives you energy. You do that and when you're done, you feel like you have more energy. And I didn't get to do any of that this week. But honestly I felt really good when I got up this morning. My throat was really sore. And (his wife) Christy has gotten sick and we've all been on an airplane for 10 hours in the last couple of days. I went to the infield care center this morning because I knew I was run down and my throat was already hurting so they gave me an antibiotic to try to make me feel a little better. I just didn't want to get sick for Sunday."

IS THERE A PART OF YOU WHO WISHES YOU DIDN'T HAVE TO GET BACK IN THE CAR SO SOON AND THE JOYRIDE OVER, OR ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO RACING HERE SUNDAY? "I look forward to getting in the car this weekend because it was going to be easier than what I had to do Monday through Thursday. I was like, honestly, whew, I can't wait to get back to the race track so I can rest. It's just been so busy. But definitely our sport has lots of ups and downs and I've been on such a high the last four days. And I don't think that'll go away if you happen to have a bad run because fortunately you always get to be the Daytona 500 champ. And honestly when I got here this morning, when I was getting my suit on, like this is the start of our season. It's wonderful to win the Daytona 500 but really so many tracks that our cars and set-ups that are so similar to what we run here I was like you need to really get focused and not let everything you've done for the last week get in your way. Ganassi called me this morning and I thought this was interesting. Everybody found me before I got in the car this morning and told me this, because Chip asked them to tell me. And he was like, Jamie look. There have been a lot of guys who have won the Daytona 500. And then they go to Milwaukee the next week and then they hit the wall the first lap in practice because there is so much going on. And he's like when you get in the car today you just need to not worry about trying to be fast and just do your thing and take a deep breath and just get back in your rhythm. And I thought that was some really good advice. And Chip is so good. One of the things that makes him such a good owner are the little things like that in making sure he got a hold of me today and just giving you those little things that everybody knows, but that sometimes you just need to hear. And I told him I had learned my lesson after Talladega because won Talladega and I hit the wall in like the third lap in Texas. Everybody hit the wall at Texas in my defense, but I was one of them."

WINNING THE DAYTONA 500 WAS A LIFELONG DREAM FOR YOU SINCE YOU WERE A KID. WHAT ELSE WOULD YOU LIKE TO ACCOMPLISH IN THIS SPORT? "Winning a points championship is so much different than the 500. It's one race. And honestly, my goal right now is to get in the Chase. And it seems like there is always a wild card of a guy that gets in there that maybe isn't expected. I'm going to use the No. 42 (Juan Pablo Montoya) car as an example because I don't know that he was expected to make it and then he got in and he ran so well in those few races and actually had a shot to contend for the championship. So, honestly, for me it's about trying to make the Chase this year and I set a personal goal of being able to win two races this year, and make the Chase. I didn't really expect the Daytona 500 to be one of those, but honestly from here on out, it's about getting as many points as we can and getting in the Chase and I think once you get in the Chase and reset your goals to however your performance is at that time. A baby, though, would be my next big goal, just so you guys know. Everybody in the garage is doing it and we think it might be a good idea (laughter), so that will be my next big goal."

YOU OUT-LETTERMANED LETTERMAN. THE MAN LAUGHED FOREVER. YOU DID A GREAT JOB WITH HIM "Well, I tell you. You don't get to meet Dave Letterman. I showed up and they were actually pushing me out of the way to get the door closed so that I didn't see him on the way by. And I didn't realize that. And I literally had to go buy a suit and we went up and I put the suit on and they put my microphone on and I went downstairs and they are like okay, you've got to go out there now. So I didn't really have time to be nervous. When I walked out there, you know you see this stuff on TV and it all looks very big. And you get in there and Letterman's show is like half of this room. So you're like oh, this is a lot different. There's a band and it's really loud. And when he first started talking, I couldn't hear him. I was like oh, this is really going to be embarrassing because I don't know what he's saying right now. And then he threw this first statement out and I'm not going to repeat what he said, and I was like oh crap, I cannot believe you just said that to me on TV and just want to act like I can't hear, you know? So, I'm glad that I came off cool or funny because I did not feel that way sitting on that couch. That was tough."

HOW IS YOUR CAR FOR THIS WEEKEND? "Our car is really good this weekend. I ran my first few laps of practice and the car's got really good speed in it and then we put the car in qualifying trim and we were sixth or seventh. And the car feels really solid. So, that was refreshing to go through everything this week and then get here and have a fast car again. I think this weekend is what really sets the standard for the rest of these races. The car is really good and so is the No. 42. The way the cars are and the way the set-ups are, when you unload, if your car is good, you're going to have a pretty good weekend. And if it's not, you can't fix it. I mean you're just stuck with what you have. So it would be a really good weekend."

HAVE YOU FOUND AREAS ON DIFFERENT TRACKS WHERE YOU THINK YOU NEED TO IMPROVE? "I have at some point, I don't know how many years I've been in Cup now, but it's been a while, and at some points I've had a good race at every single race track. There is really not a track on the schedule; I think I've finished in the top five at all of them. That maybe gives you some encouragement. You just have to get in the right situation. In my years at Ganassi, we could run in the top six or seven at any race track. So I'm not going to analyze that too much until I get back in the No. 1 car and I get to go to all these tracks and see what we have. To be honest with you guys, we unloaded today and it was just like it used to be here. We unloaded and the car drove well and we made adjustments and the adjustments were better and we had good speed. So I'm just going to see what happens."

WHERE WAS YOUR CONFIDENCE LEVEL A YEAR AGO, A WEEK AGO, AND NOW? "Well a year ago it was really high because I finished third in the last three races and we qualified in the top five and our cars were really quick. Obviously we just didn't have the set-ups toward the end of the year that we needed. Everybody struggled; all five cars were struggling to get speed. But racing is so strange because you can win one week and you can have two or three bad weeks and you just don't ever seem to remember all the good stuff. But what I had tried really hard over the last couple of years to do is not base my confidence on performance or results. When the day is over, as long as I feel like I did everything I could all weekend long leading up to the race, that there are certain factors that determine the outcome of a race and you can have a flat tire. You can get stuck in the wrong line on a restart. You can have problems in racing that sometimes are out of the driver's control. As long as I feel like I did everything at the end of the day, my confidence is fine."

WHAT DID YOU DO AFTER THE RACE? HOW DID YOU CELEBRATE? "After the race was over, I went back to the motor home and Jenn Powell from NASCAR came over and she had a bunch of papers. Actually it was only for the next day, but it was like the 40 appearances I was going to be doing the next day. And I was like oh, man. That looks like a lot. I don't have any clothes by the way, either. I didn't have any clothes. And everything in my motor home was dirty because we'd been there and it was the last day. So, we put a plan together of how we were going to get clothes and what we were going to do. Then I went into the garage and the team was actually putting the engine back in the car so it could go in the Daytona 500 Experience. I hung out with them for about 20 to 30 minutes until that was done and once we got the trailer loaded and the tailgate shut, we all sat around outside the trailer and we drank a couple of beers and everybody told their story of what they were thinking when the car came off Turn 4 on the last lap and what was going through their heads. The best story was that Bono's eyes were closed the whole time and he wasn't watching. And I'm like how in the world can you not watch this happen? He said he was listening to the spotter. And the spotter says it quicker than you can see it on TV or than you can process it. So I just closed my eyes and he's like when I heard the spotter say 'clear', I knew you were in the lead. I never heard him say anything else and I knew we were going to win. That was a great moment to get to spend with your team. The one downside of winning and having to do all this media is that the only people that you really want to spend time with after winning a race like that are all the guys at the shop that assemble the cars. Every race team works a crazy amount of hours leading up to the Daytona 500. They all work 12 and 14-hour days. And so that's very gratifying to be able to win the race. And you want to go back and be able to spend time with them and you have a lunch with them and do all that stuff, but you don't get to. Hopefully next week I will get to hang out a little bit with those guys and get to enjoy all that."

-source: gm racing

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About this article
Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Juan Pablo Montoya