JAMIE MCMURRAY -- No. 26 Crown Royal Ford Fusion (Qualified 1st) "Qualifying here is tough because when you make your mock-up run, you get to run the whole race track and get your brakes warmed up and your car warmed up. It's a challenge when...
JAMIE MCMURRAY -- No. 26 Crown Royal Ford Fusion (Qualified 1st)
"Qualifying here is tough because when you make your mock-up run, you get to run the whole race track and get your brakes warmed up and your car warmed up. It's a challenge when you pull out on the backstretch to have all that stuff ready to go. I was a little bit nervous. The first few times you qualify here it's a struggle because the car just loses a lot of grip, but I got through one and all the slow corners really good. I was really happy with my car. We struggled a little bit through the high-speed corners and we adjusted on it for qualifying and still didn't hit on it, so I was a little bit nervous. I felt like somebody could definitely run a 117.20 and we only ran a .50, so I thought with Ryan and Juan going out as late as they did that I didn't really think it would hold up. I kept telling everybody I didn't think it was gonna hold up because everytime I think it holds up, I get beat, so I just went in the trailer and didn't pay attention."
WERE YOU SURPRISED WITH YOUR SPEED?
"No, from my rookie year we've run really well at the road course, we just haven't been like a Jeff Gordon or a Tony Stewart. I was up early this morning and looking at stats of Tony and Jeff and it's incredible what those guys have been able to do. We definitely haven't been at that level, but I really like coming to the road courses. These are the two races, I really look forward to it. I'm a fan of Formula One and I watch that every weekend when it's on. I bought some go-karts recently to do more of this because I really enjoy it. I genuinely like the road racing, so I look forward to coming here and I think that's a big deal. When I woke up this morning my heart was beating fast because I was excited about coming here. If you had to run the same race track every week or the same type of tracks, it gets old. It's the same thing, but when you get to come somewhere new it's fun."
WHAT CHANGES HAVE YOU SEEN WITH THE COT ON THIS COURSE?
"As strong as what the Hendrick and Gibbs cars have been with the car of tomorrow, Jack has been a little bit vocal with the amount of testing and everything that they've done and he's put together a test team and an engineering team and Boris did all of our testing. He tested four or five times getting ready just for this race and the package that we have with the springs and swaybars and shocks, it's all based on our engineering program and Boris' feedback. When we unloaded here, I ran my first four or five laps and I'm like, 'The car feels great,' and it had a lot of speed built into it. Most of our work, like a lot of the other teams, it was done before we ever got here. You just can't do it unless you have your test team going on and guys developing new stuff for you."
DID YOU TALK TO BORIS AT ALL?
"I haven't seen Boris this weekend. Actually, I saw him on the way to get my trophy (laughing). Boris was one of the guys that for my very first time to road race in a stock car, Boris road in the passenger seat of like a two-man car like he does for everybody else and talked me through a lot of that. Boris has helped just about everybody in this series learn the fundamentals of road racing. He's an incredible teacher and an amazing driver, so he's helped me in a lot of ways."
IT'S BEEN A LONG TIME SINCE YOUR LAST WIN. HOW WILL BEING ON THE POLE HELP BREAK THAT STREAK?
"It's been frustrating not to be able to get back to victory lane. When I moved to Roush, I thought with the success that they had in 2005 -- with the amount of races that they won and how many laps they led -- that that's what I needed and we had just a horrible year last year. It was my worst year since I started racing in Cup, so this year with Larry and pretty much a new team, we kind of started over. It's been different this year. Our cars are so much better than what they were last year, and a great team and, like I say, I kind of feel like we've started over. We've run really well this year. We haven't really been a threat to win a race, but you hope every weekend when you show up you try something new, you're trying a new geometry or you're trying different types of springs or shocks. You think that's what you need to get to that next step. Someone asked me this morning when I woke up did I think I was gonna be on the pole and I said, 'Yeah,' because if you don't wake up every single morning and think you're gonna be on the pole and think you're gonna win, you're not going to. This sport is so mental that if you don't feel that way, then you should find something else to do."
IS THIS A REPRIEVE AFTER LAST YEAR'S FIRST LAP?
"Yeah, I spun out going into turn two last year and went all the way to the back -- the last car basically in the pack -- and then I got to turn 7 and I was involved in another wreck and then about five laps later I was involved in another wreck. I thought, 'Damn, if you could just get me on the track, I promise I won't run off again and I won't hit anything else.' I was like, 'I can't believe this is happening.' Jack reminded me this week in our team meeting that I ran off in turn two on the first lap after qualifying. We were talking -- me and Greg and David Ragan and having our team meeting and he was giving David pointers and I happened to be one of the things that you didn't do. He said, 'If you'll stay on the track all day, you'll run in the top 10, just ask Jamie.' So, yeah, certainly it feels great to get to be on the front row. I might run off in another corner, but I will not run off in turn two this year."
-credit: ford racing