Jamie McMurray, driver of the No. 26 Irwin/Crown Royal Ford Fusion, is in his first season driving for car owner Jack Roush. McMurray held a Q&A session in the Daytona International Speedway infield media center to discuss his new ...
Jamie McMurray, driver of the No. 26 Irwin/Crown Royal Ford Fusion, is in his first season driving for car owner Jack Roush. McMurray held a Q&A session in the Daytona International Speedway infield media center to discuss his new team.
JAMIE MCMURRAY -- No. 26 Irwin/Crown Royal Ford Fusion
HOW ARE THINGS GOING SO FAR? "We're just trying to get the cars to drive well. As cool as it is, if your car doesn't drive well now when it gets hot it always seems to turn into a bigger issue. So right now I'm just kind of getting used to working with my new team and with Jimmy Fennig. Everyone has different ways of going about making their car handle and I'm just kind of trying to take everything in from what the 26 team has done in years past. They're run really well here. I think they've run second twice, so we're just kind of going through the normal routine."
WHAT'S IT LIKE BEING AT ROUSH NOW? "They've won so many races over the last few years. When I first went in and spoke with Jimmy, we were just trying to get to know each other, and he talked about winning a lot. He said, 'You're gonna have races where your car is just great and it's a dominant car and you just need to take care of it.' Then he talked about races that he had to work on it and as he was saying that I thought, 'That's great that that's the attitude already.' We hadn't even been to a test yet and he already assumes that because he knows that the cars are great and that he's assembled a great group of people. So it's definitely different from where I came from. From an outsider looking in my first few times to Roush Racing, it looked like everyone was on vacation because there was no one there. Come to find out that's all that worked there, so they do it with a lot less people it looks like. It just looks like everybody can do everything there. There's not necessarily a specialist for every area. Everyone there is a racer and they pretty much can do everything, so it's different for sure but a good different."
THOUGHTS ON THE CAR OF TOMORROW. "I haven't tested it and I've only seen one and that was on the internet. I don't know a lot about that. They've talked about it a little bit, but I think until we get closer there has not been a lot of discussion. It seems everytime you change something there's a reason to change it, and sometimes people don't always agree with it, but I suppose that will be like anything else once we get used to it and it's what we do every week. That's just the way it will be."
CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THE EXPECTATIONS FOR YOU? "Obviously all of my teammates won races last year and the car that I'm in won races last year, so, yeah, I've thought about that a lot. I thought, 'What if you go halfway through the season and you don't win a race or you go all year and don't win,' but I've thought that for the last three years, so it's not really any different. I think, obviously, that I'm more positive about it this year. I'm very excited I got to get in the 26 car this year and didn't have to wait another year, and I think mentally you're a lot more positive because you know that the cars you're in are capable of winning because that's their record. I'm so excited to get to Vegas and get in one of these cars at a mile-and-a-half track. They've had so much success there. Racing, regardless of what people say, is a mental sport. If you believe you can win, if you're in a car that can win, you more than likely will. If you have a negative attitude, typically you don't get very good results. So the fact that all of my teammates won last year and the team I'm with has won, I don't know that I view it as pressure because, for me, everyone in the garage area has that. Whether they're in a car that's capable of winning or not, they all want to and there's pressure to win."
CAN YOU TURN TO YOUR TEAMMATES MORE THAN YOU'VE BEEN ABLE TO? "Yeah, most definitely. When I viewed leaving Ganassi and coming to Roush, one of my big decision makers was not only did I feel like I was getting in the best equipment, but I knew that I was gonna have two rookies as teammates this year. If we had won a lot of races over the last couple of years, you would maybe feel that you didn't need to pull information out of all your teammates, but we hadn't. You look at the teammates that I'm gonna have this year, you know it's so hard to compare two race teams and not knock on the other, but Matt and Mark and Carl and Greg have all won races and are incredible drivers. So, yeah, I'm certainly gonna dig all I can out of those guys and see what I can learn."
ARE DRIVERS GOAL-ORIENTED PEOPLE? "I don't specifically write something down. All of the media interviews you this weekend and when we come back for the 500 and they ask you what your goals are for the year and every driver tells you that he wants to win some races and make the chase because that's what everyone wants to do. So I think that goes without being said, what your goals are. But I don't do that, no. I've never heard of anyone writing down specific goals. I think teams maybe do that -- the crew chief gets the team together and maybe sets goals, but for a driver you just go out every week and you try to win. That's what your goal is, and then when guys get on a hot streak you can't ever tell when that's gonna come around. But that's nothing I've ever done."
THERE WAS A SENSE THAT WHAT YOU AND KURT DID LAST YEAR WAS INAPPROPRIATE BUT DRIVERS HAVE ALWAYS CHANGED TEAMS. CAN YOU TALK ABOUT IT? "I don't think I did anything inappropriate. I was not gonna leave Chip Ganassi Racing until my contract was up, but I had an opportunity come along with a team that had won championships and was winning races and, what I thought, was the best organization in our sport. So I signed a contract to drive for them when my contract was up. When I spoke with Jack he said, 'Look, I don't want anything to do with what you have right now. What we're doing is when your contract is over with,' so I don't really view that at all as doing anything wrong. I can't speak for Kurt because I don't know his situation and what happened there, but everyone in our sport does what they feel is best for them. Sometimes that decision is hard because when you make a decision to leave a team, there are 20 or 30 families on your team that maybe don't necessarily depend on you, but your success is also success for them. So it makes the decision hard, but you make your decisions based on what you feel is best for your career."
DO YOU MISS NOT RACING IN THE ROLEX THIS YEAR? "I wasn't gonna do that anyway this year. I had a great time last year doing it, but when you do the Rolex race you spend a couple days going to their shop to get fitted for seats, and then you spend a couple days testing down here and then you come back down here for a couple of days, and that takes away a week of the three weeks that you're off. So I would like to do that again in the future, but that is not something I'd want to do every single year."
HOW IS YOUR FUSION RUNNING? "My Ford Fusion is running well. Have you driven a Ford Fusion yet? It's an incredible car isn't it?"