Tuesday, Sept. 7, 2004.
Dodge Motorsports Teleconference
Richmond Advance, Last Race to Qualify for the Chase
JAMIE McMURRAY (No. 42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge)
NOTE: McMurray ranks 11th in the standings, 25 points out of 10th place. He's finished in the top 10 in four of the past five races and moved up from 15th to 11th after his fourth-place performance at California Speedway. McMurray was unable to participate in the Dodge Teleconference today because he was getting fitted for a seat for Thursday night's NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at Richmond. He's driving the No. 2 Team ASE/Carquest Dodge Ram in that event. Team PR rep Jason Wise supplied this Q&A with McMurray.
What is your outlook heading into this weekend's race in Richmond?
"I feel pretty good about our chances of getting into the Top 10 and being part of the Chase for the Championship. We're taking the same car we ran at Richmond back in the spring and had a strong run going until we were caught up in a wreck with Joe Nemechek. That's the thing about Richmond, it's a short track and you can be caught up in someone else's mess and have your night end early. The points are so tight between eighth and 15th-place. It's going to be interesting to see who makes the top 10 after Richmond is over. Hopefully the Texaco/Havoline Dodge is one of those that make the cut. If we can avoid trouble, I feel good about our chances."
You're only 25 points out of the top 10. You had 25 points taken away back at Bristol in the spring when your car was impounded for an illegal rear window. How much sleep have you lost the last few days over losing those points?
"There's nothing you can do about it now. I mean, if after Richmond we miss the Top 10 and the Chase for the Championship by 25 points, yeah, of course, everyone is going to start playing the 'What If?' game. But you have to look back at our season as a whole. We've given away numerous points this year with blown motors, so if we miss the Top 10 by a small amount of points, it will not be for just one infraction."
Many drivers have been vocal about the new points system. As we approach the final race before the cut-off, what are your thoughts?
"You know, I was one of the vocal drivers at the beginning of the season that did not like the new points system. But I must admit, it's been exciting to see all the coverage that those of us trying to get into the top 10 have been receiving by the media over the last few weeks. It's great for our sponsors, and I think it's created a lot of buzz for NASCAR. Usually this time in the season is when there are a handful of drivers that are competing for the championship and there's not much media focus. I think overall the new points system has been good for all involved."