McMurray Grabs Second at Richmond
Team ASE/Carquest Dodge Driver Finishes as Runner-Up to Ultra Motorsports Teammate Musgrave
RICHMOND, VA (September 9, 2004) -At the end of Thursday's Kroger 200 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at Richmond International Raceway, all Jamie McMurray could think about was what might have been. All that stood between McMurray and victory were just a few feet of precious Virginia asphalt and one ill-timed caution flag. The 28 year-old Joplin, Mo. native was in the process of attempting to pass his Ultra Motorsports teammate Ted Musgrave for the lead with just two laps remaining when Jimmy Spencer's engine erupted in smoke, freezing the field under caution and denying McMurray his shot for the win.
"I thought I had him," McMurray said following the race. "Right at the end I got up on the outside of him. The outside groove came in and I really started getting good runs on the outside. I really thought I could have completed the pass, but the caution came out and I got up beside him in three and four. I can't say enough about how well this Team ASE/CARQUEST Dodge ran tonight. Crew Chief Trip Bruce and all the guys did a terrific job especially considering it was our first time out together."
All in all it was a good day for McMurray. He set a track record by qualifying his Team ASE/CARQUEST Dodge on the pole, touring the 0.75 mile tri-oval in a blistering 21.52 seconds (125.436 mph). It was McMurray's third career NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series pole position.
"The truck was really good from the time we unloaded it," McMurray said. "I was pretty happy with that lap. I overdrove it a little bit but it was still good enough for the pole. We were real consistent in practice so I knew we were going to be competitive during the race. It was really good in race trim."
McMurray and Musgrave started side by side on the initial green flag with Musgrave taking the lead near the end of the first lap. It was a lead that Musgrave almost never relinquished throughout the evening as he and McMurray dominated virtually the entire race. Musgrave led 198 of the 209 contested laps with McMurray solidly on his bumper throughout the course of events.
"Jamie was right there," Musgrave said from Victory Lane. "I was trying to focus and hit my lines. The spotter was telling me, 'OK, clear by one' or 'clear by two.' We have a communication between us. I wouldn't even have to look in the mirror. I'd know where he was at. I guess he had to be really-really close. Throughout the night he was really close on the long runs. He could have forced the issue early and probably have taken the lead, but Jamie is in the 2 truck right now to run and bring that team up to speed again. It would have been really dumb to go three wide and put two of our brand new trucks in trouble. He's a very smart racer, and it's really good to see that."
"I got beside Ted two or three times with lapped traffic," McMurray said. "I knew that guy was racing for points, and obviously that was a teammate to the truck I was driving. More than likely if it had been anybody else I would have been the winner of the race tonight. I'm not going to wreck the guy that's my teammate. On the last restart I drove in turn one so deep I got loose, and that was all I had. It was a good run for the first time out with this team. They made some good calls in the pits. I like the short tracks, and when it's fun it makes it easier. The upper groove came in at the end, but I just didn't find it quick enough."