JAMIE McMURRAY (No. 42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge Charger) IS THERE A DIFFERENT FEELING AROUND THE TEAM WITH YOUR IMPENDING DEPARTURE? "Obviously the first couple of weeks it was pretty tough, but I told them what the situation was and told them ...
JAMIE McMURRAY (No. 42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge Charger)
IS THERE A DIFFERENT FEELING AROUND THE TEAM WITH YOUR IMPENDING DEPARTURE?
"Obviously the first couple of weeks it was pretty tough, but I told them what the situation was and told them I wouldn't give up and told them I didn't want them to give up on me. I think for all of us Pocono wasn't a turning point but everyone realized no one is going to give up. We have a lot of issues. We had an alternator go out and had to replace a battery. We had to put a right front fender on my car with 60 or 70 laps to go. We were running 25th with 40 laps to go and ended up 11th. It shows that no one is giving up and everyone is still giving 100 percent. As far as the relationships between me and everyone on the team it's as good as it ever was. I spent the whole day in the garage hanging out with them today. It's still cool. When you see race teams fall apart when drivers leave. I want to make our race team an exception. When we went to Loudon and had such a good car and ended up getting wrecked and ended up finishing 40th and went to Pocono. We sat on the pole and had the trouble and I thought 'man, it's not really in your control. It's just happening.' Our race team isn't going to fall apart. That's not a concern of mine right now. Everyone is going to stay and everyone gets along well right now. As long as everyone gets along well and you have good results it's a tough situation to want to leave."
DID IT TAKE A LOT TO GET EVERYONE ON THE SAME PAGE?
"Everyone in racing understands that sometimes what's best for you is not best for other people. I've had guys in years past on race teams come up and say they're going to leave because it's better for me. You're not going to be mad are you? Certainly not. If you think what you're going to do is going to be better for you and your career and your livelihood, then that's what you should go do. That's the unfortunate part about our sport. Sometimes you don't make everyone happy about your decision."
COMMENT ON NO PRACTICE TODAY
"The majority of teams have tested here. I'm not sure how many, but a tremendous amount of people have tested here, so it's not that big a deal. I'm almost relieved it got rained out today because I dread qualifying. It's not something I ever really look forward to. When we go to the impound races we work on race setup and make one qualifying run at the end of the day. I'd be just as content if they'd draw pills and start wherever the pill is."
QUALIFYING IS AT 3 SATURDAY. WILL THE SWINGS BE AS GREAT?
"I would say a late draw would be good, but I don't know if it's as critical. When you start at 10 a.m. it's very cool. I think the hottest part of the day is probably 4 or 5, so I don't know if it'll make as big of a difference. If you qualify at 3 later is better everywhere and if the track is temperature sensitive it might be more important."
WHAT DO YOU EXPECT IN SUNDAY'S RACE?
"I've never really viewed this track as boring. It's one of my favorite tracks to come to. There's a lot of history here, but it's different than anywhere else we go and it's fun. We came and tested here and I came in the first time and said 'I love this place.' It's so different. It might be boring for you to watch sometimes, but for a driver it's a cool racetrack."
DO YOU HAVE A DIFFERENT STRATEGY FOR THE FINAL SIX RACES LEADING UP TO THE CHASE?
"It's a little bit different this year. The guy in sixth is not even safe and last year it was ninth and 10th through 15th, so there are a few more seats available to make it in. I've never really been in a points battle until last year. Even in the Busch Series I think I finished fifth or sixth in points my last year. It wasn't a make or break deal. I think everyone who was real close last year was devastated if they didn't make it in to The Chase. We missed it by 16 points or whatever. Last year, I got all stressed out. I didn't deal with it the right way. This year, even when the alternator went out last week, you almost laugh and just try to make the most out of it. You always give 100 percent. I heard a question asked if braver moves will be made. We do that every week whether it's to make the Chase or for 32nd place. You race your heart out."
COMMENT ON THE NAME CHANGE OF THE RACE FROM THE BRICKYARD 400.
"I've never thought about it. Honestly, I didn't know what the name of it was. I didn't realize they had changed it. I signed autographs last night at a Dodge appearance and a race fan in the back screamed in front of about 20 other people. He said, 'it's always going to be the Brickyard 400.' I didn't realize what he meant until 10 minutes later and then I started signing flags that said Allstate 400. I guess in the drivers' eyes, not to take anything away from Allstate because sponsors drive our sport, but it probably will always be the Brickyard 400. The Daytona 500 will always be the Daytona 500 whether a sponsor comes along or not, but I think it's wonderful they found a sponsor. It says a lot for our sport."
HAVE YOU HAD A CHANCE TO TALK TO MATT KENSETH?
"No, I haven't. I need to get over and discuss things with Matt. It's gotten out of hand. We've had an off week. I didn't think about racing on my off week. I went to Mexico and hung out with friends and tried to get away from all the racing and enjoy myself. I need to find Matt this weekend. Maybe tonight will be the night and go discuss with him and get it all worked out. It doesn't do any good to let it go on. It's probably somewhat my fault. He tried to call me on Monday and I didn't call him back. I didn't really know what to say at the time. I didn't know if it was going to come out right. I'm over it. I don't really have a problem with it and Matt is going to be my teammate some day. I look forward to that.
Matt in my opinion is one of the best drivers in our sport. I grew up racing late models against him and he was always good at everything he did. He would be a very valuable teammate. I look forward to that one day. I certainly don't want to have any problems."
DODGE LUGNUTS -- Jeremy Mayfield said Friday that if he ever buys part of Ray Evernham's team, the team would be known as Mayham.... Rusty Wallace, Ryan Newman and Mayfield are currently ranked in the top 10 with Dodge driver McMurray only nine points out of 10th place.... Wallace honored his crew chief Larry Carter, at a Last Call dinner Thursday night. Wallace said when he won the championship back in 1989 with crew chief Barry Dodson that the team won a lot of races and "never lost a party."..... Casey Mears, driver of the No. 41 Target Dodge Charger, has two career poles in 92 attempts and they came back-to-back last season at Pocono and the Brickyard.