JAMIE McMURRAY (No. 42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge) NOTE: McMurray qualified sixth on Friday in a backup Dodge after his primary car failed to pass inspection Friday morning. Currently ranked 19th in the series standings with two top fives and two ...
JAMIE McMURRAY (No. 42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge)
NOTE: McMurray qualified sixth on Friday in a backup Dodge after his primary car failed to pass inspection Friday morning. Currently ranked 19th in the series standings with two top fives and two DNF's this season, McMurray talks about Friday's problems and his outlook for Sunday's Food City 500.
"Donnie (crew chief Wingo) acted like it wasn't even close. I asked him at a place like Bristol why wouldn't NASCAR look past it? Aero is not really a big deal here. They tried all they could to make it fit and it wasn't even close. They've got to do that. You can't play favoritism. If they let it go for us, they'd have to let it go for everybody at other tracks. I guess they'll keep the car and we'll have to go down and cut the body off and get our car back later.
"I don't think that Donnie or Andy (Team Manager Graves) know how it happened. The car goes through two or three different lines at the shop, and it's supposed to get measured. Apparently it either didn't or it was mismeasured. They went back and have all kind of notes that show where the body is supposed to be located, and it all looked good on the notes. I don't know how, but it slipped through somewhere."
WERE YOU SURPRISED YOU QUALIFIED SO WELL IN THE BACKUP CAR?
"Well, the backup car is the backup car. It's still a good chassis, and it's got a good body, but we changed a lot of stuff with the brakes. We've updated all of the cars except the backup cars. That's something I complained about a lot last year. We've worked hard to get the brakes better, but we still have all the stuff we raced last year in the backup cars. We never really intended on using it, but they drove up this morning with all new stuff so we could convert this car over to be like one of our new ones. We raced this car last year, and I was a little bit worried that we wouldn't get enough practice, but I ran an .07 in practice and qualified with an .04, so I knew the car would be good. We were pretty quick with it the first lap out in practice, so I wasn't really concerned. We had to change engines, and that's something we need to get to. We need to have engines in all our backup cars so the guys don't wear themselves out getting the car ready. I think it's wonderful that we were able to unload the backup car at about 8 a.m. and get it ready to go. You don't need that many practice laps here. That's about all we ever run on Friday morning. It's not that big a deal. If you unload and have a problem and can't get your car balanced right then you might be concerned, but we were pretty good on our second lap. I like this track, and of all the places we could unload a backup car, I'd rather do it here than one of the bigger tracks."
YOU HAD TWO GOOD FINISHES HERE LAST YEAR
"Yeah, I finished third and 11th. I really enjoy coming here. I struggled here in a Busch car, not because we weren't fast. I seemed to always get caught up in someone else's mess or get run into when a caution came out. Last spring we got spun out by Ward Burton under a caution deal. In the fall race we ran good. We finished third and had a good car."
YOU'VE HAD YOUR SHARE OF BAD LUCK IN THE FIRST FIVE RACES
"Yeah, we haven't had many breaks. Of all the races, even Daytona, I thought we had a car that could win. As long as we keep having good cars, our luck will change. I've already forgot about Darlington and Atlanta. When you come to a new racetrack you worry about that and forget about everything else. I forgot about Rockingham and Las Vegas, too. We didn't have the fastest car at Rockingham, but we put ourselves in position to win the race. At Vegas with 40 laps to go we had one of the best cars. At Atlanta when the motor broke we had one of the best cars. At Darlington we had one of the best cars. Something has bitten us each week. Hopefully we've got all that stuff out of the way. As long as we keep running well, that's the most important thing."
ARE YOU CONCERNED ABOUT THE POINTS YET?
"If we can get within the 400 points, the way it's looking now we're running well enough we just can't seem to buy a break. If we can get down to the last 10 races, we've got a team that's most capable of winning the championship. I really feel like we'll be in the top 10 when it's all said and done. We've run well at every track so far. If we can just get through the superspeedways and not get caught up in the wrecks there, and we're going to go test at both road courses. If we can survive that, it seems like we're running well enough at the other tracks. It shouldn't be a huge problem if we can just have a little luck."
WHAT'S THE SECRET AT BRISTOL?
"You've got to be very lucky and hope that when there's a wreck somebody doesn't run into you. This place is so fast and things happen so quick it's hard to get out of the way and not get in trouble. I just go out and do my thing and that's worked in the past. I think I'd hate to be the guy leading on the last lap."