McMurray Scores Top-10 Finish in Homestead; Named 2003 Rookie of the Year HOMESTEAD, Fla., (November 16, 2003) --- Jamie McMurray ended the 2003 season on a high note. McMurray, driving the No. 42 Havoline Dodge, finished ninth today in the...
McMurray Scores Top-10 Finish in Homestead; Named 2003 Rookie of the Year
HOMESTEAD, Fla., (November 16, 2003) --- Jamie McMurray ended the 2003 season on a high note. McMurray, driving the No. 42 Havoline Dodge, finished ninth today in the season finale at the Homestead-Miami Speedway. In addition, McMurray was named the 2003 NASCAR Winston Cup Raybestos Rookie of the Year.
McMurray started the weekend out in strong fashion as he placed the Havoline Dodge on the pole for the season-ending race.
"I'll take ninth considering how bad the car was today," McMurray said. "We just struggled with the Havoline Dodge from the start of the race and could never really get it right. But we scored another top-10 finish, got the Bud Pole Award on Friday, and won Rookie of the Year honors for 2003, so all in all, it was a very good weekend for the Havoline Dodge."
After leading the field to the green flag, McMurray quickly radioed his crew that his Havoline Dodge was "really tight and all over the racetrack." By lap 21, McMurray had fallen back to 10th place.
During a caution period on lap 28, McMurray headed for pit road and was fitted with four tires and fuel as the crew made numerous chassis adjustments to correct the handling on the Havoline Dodge. McMurray exited pit road in ninth place.
By lap 65 McMurray was still struggling with the handling on his car as he found himself running in the 17th position.
The Havoline team would continue to make adjustments to McMurray's machine with each pit stop and by the halfway point in the race, McMurray radioed that his car was getting better. By lap 187, the Havoline Dodge was running in sixth place.
During a caution period on lap 199, McMurray headed for pit road for four tires and fuel as another round of chassis adjustments were made to his car. McMurray exited pit road in seventh place. The position, however, would not hold up for long as McMurray had to come back down pit road for a loose lug nut. McMurray would restart the race from the 20th position.
In the final 60 laps, McMurray motored his way through the field and when the checkered flag waved, the Havoline Dodge crossed the finish line in ninth place.
During the 2003 season, McMurray posted five top-five and 13 top-10 finishes, along with one pole and finished 13th in the final NASCAR Winston Cup Series point standings.