Loudon: Jamie McMurray race report

McMurray has roller coaster of a day in New Hampshire LOUDON, N.H., (July 21, 2003) --- Jamie McMurray experienced the highs and lows of NASCAR Winston Cup Series racing yesterday in the New England 300 at New Hampshire International Speedway.

McMurray has roller coaster of a day in New Hampshire

LOUDON, N.H., (July 21, 2003) --- Jamie McMurray experienced the highs and lows of NASCAR Winston Cup Series racing yesterday in the New England 300 at New Hampshire International Speedway. After starting 22nd, McMurray struggled in the early stages of the race, gained track position by halfway, led 15 laps, then found his day end early with a wrecked racecar as a result of a brake problem. McMurray's No. 42 Havoline Dodge would finish in the 40th position.

"It hurt my lower back a little bit, but it looked worse on TV than it really was," McMurray said of the crash. "I hit the wall at Vegas earlier this year, and it wasn't anything like that. I really don't know what happened. I thought I had a flat tire. I radioed in the lap before that I had a left front flat. We were just going to ride it out. I about wrecked in turn three and then I got to turn one and did wreck. The tire still had air in it, so it was just one of those deals. I ran so high in turns three and four and got so much buildup on my tires. I was just trying to get it off before I got down into turn one. That was a problem. It was a pretty hard hit, but it looked worse than it felt like. It's so hard to pass here. We ran 30th almost all day long. We missed the setup pretty big today. We adjusted on it and once we got up front the car was pretty good once we got in clean air. I feel like we could have put it together. It could have worked out with pit strategy in our favor."

Upon inspection following the race, the Havoline team discovered a brake problem that is believed to have caused McMurray's wreck.

McMurray started the New England 300 from the 22nd position after qualifying was rained out and the field was set according to 2003 NASCAR Winston Cup Series car owner points.

In the early stages of the race, McMurray was struggling with an extremely tight racecar. During a caution period on lap 21, McMurray headed for pit road as the Havoline crew serviced him with two tires and fuel and made an air pressure adjustment to correct the tight condition. McMurray re-entered the race in the 31st position.

The adjustments didn't help as McMurray continued to struggle with a tight racecar. With each ensuing pit stop, the Joplin, Mo. native would come to the attention of his pit crew as chassis adjustments were made to the Havoline Dodge.

By lap 113, McMurray was running 32nd when a cloud of smoke appeared in front of him as several cars were involved in a wreck on the backstretch. While McMurray was not directly involved in the wreck, his Havoline Dodge did receive substantial right-side sheet metal damage in the incident. McMurray would make several pit stops during the caution as the crew repaired the damage.

By lap 121 McMurray's Havoline Dodge was getting better as he radioed the crew "we're getting pretty close with the car."

When the caution flag waved on lap 144, the Havoline team used pit strategy to gain track position. As the leaders headed for pit road, McMurray stayed out and inherited the lead.

McMurray would lead the next 15 laps as the Havoline Dodge began to show its muscle in the front of the field. Now out front, McMurray radioed to the crew that his machine was "loose out front." McMurray held down third place by lap 165.

McMurray was running in the fourth position when he came on the radio on lap 193 to let the crew know that he thought he had a tire going flat. The next lap he radioed that "the brakes are messed up."

On lap 195 as he was entering turn one, McMurray's machine broke loose and spun backwards into the wall betweens turns one and two. The heavy impact vaulted the Havoline Dodge up in the air briefly. While McMurray escaped the incident unharmed, the same could not be said for the Havoline Dodge.

Extensive rear-end damage would end McMurray's day early. The Havoline Dodge was credited with 40th-place honors in the New England 300. The finish dropped McMurray one position in the NASCAR Winston Cup point standings. McMurray leaves New Hampshire 23rd in points.

McMurray and the Havoline team look to rebound next Sunday with the running of the Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway in Pocono, Pa. The race can bee seen LIVE on TNT television at 1:00 p.m. EST.

-cgr-

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About this article
Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jamie McMurray