Pocono II: Labonte, McMurray - Ford interview 2009-08-04

This Week in Ford Racing: August 4, 2009 [pic] This weekend the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series heads to Watkins Glen for the second and final road course of the 2009 season. Ford Racing drivers Bobby Labonte and Jamie McMurray have had top 10 ...

This Week in Ford Racing:
August 4, 2009

[pic]

This weekend the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series heads to Watkins Glen for the second and final road course of the 2009 season. Ford Racing drivers Bobby Labonte and Jamie McMurray have had top 10 finishes in the past at the Glen.

BOBBY LABONTE -No. 96 Ask.com Ford Fusion

SOME DRIVERS LIKE ROAD COURSES, AND OTHERS DON'T. WHERE ARE YOU ON THE SUBJECT? "I like them. Watkins Glen is a very challenging track, there and Sonoma. On one hand, I wish they had a few more so we'd either get better at it, or have none because just two races, to me, isn't quite enough. But, I do like road courses, and Watkins Glen is a neat place. It's just so hard to pass there - it's becoming hard to pass over the past few years, so the strategy is fuel mileage and track position, which, unfortunately, is at a lot of places, but especially there and Sonoma."

"The best story I've got for Watkins Glen - I was leading the race there, and Dale [Earnhardt] Sr. was following me, and we ran about two laps and he crashed behind me. Well, the next week we're in Daytona for a test, and everybody's down there for NASCAR, and he comes up and grabs me and says, 'Why'd you wreck me?' I said, 'What do you mean, why did I wreck you?' He said, 'You were hauling butt through the inner loop and I was trying follow you and I just lost it.' And I've done the same thing. I've tried to follow my brother through the esses and wrecked. It's a driver's type of track, and I think that's why we all enjoy it to an extent. But, it can be frustrating, too."

HOW MANY PLACES CAN YOU PASS THERE? "Realistically, there's only three good corners where you can set a guy up and pass."

JAMIE McMURRAY -No. 26 Crown Royal Ford Fusion

YOU FINISHED THIRD AT THE GLEN ONE YEAR, AND ALWAYS SEEM TO DO WELL AT ROAD COURSES. "The road courses have been really good. We struggled a little bit at Sonoma, and we actually didn't run very well last year at Watkins Glen, so hopefully we've got something, a little different set-up to try and make the car have a little more speed in it. Qualifying hurt us a lot last year, because it was rained out. I thought we had one of the faster cars, and then when we got in the back, it was just hard to pass. So, hopefully we'll be able to get qualifying in. I always look forward to going to the road courses."

IS THE CHANGE IN ELEVATION ON A ROAD COURSE A SIGNIFICANT FACTOR? "No. Really, the road courses are not a lot different than what you have at Pocono or any other race track - it's just making your car where it drives good. The esses at Watkins Glen are very, very fast, and if your car is not very secure through there, you can lose three-quarters of a second per lap, just through the esses if you can't run through there hard."

GENERALLY SPEAKING, DO YOU LIKE TO SEE ROAD COURSES ON THE SCHEDULE? ARE TWO ENOUGH? WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE MORE? "I think it would be fine if we went to a couple more. I like the road courses; it's something different. I think it would be great one day if we just went to each track once, and then you had a couple more road courses - not necessarily going back to Sonoma or Watkins Glen, but if you wanted to add some different ones on. I think it would be fine if the schedule just went to each track once."

WHERE CAN YOU PASS AT THE GLEN? "Certainly, into the bus stop is a place where you can pass. And then, I think it's turn 10, heading back towards the pits, and turn one. Those are really the only three places that you have an opportunity to pass at Watkins Glen, so you try to set the guy up the corner before, so you can be close enough to him to out-brake him into those corners."

-credit: ford racing

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Jamie McMurray