Bristol: McMurray - Dodge interview

JAMIE McMURRAY (No. 42 Texaco/Havoline Autism Society of America Dodge Charger) COMMENT ON BRISTOL MOTOR SPEEDWAY "This is one of my favorite racetracks. Rockingham was until they took that away from us, but this is an incredible place. My...

JAMIE McMURRAY (No. 42 Texaco/Havoline Autism Society of America Dodge Charger)

COMMENT ON BRISTOL MOTOR SPEEDWAY "This is one of my favorite racetracks. Rockingham was until they took that away from us, but this is an incredible place. My dad drives my motorhome and I told him he wouldn't believe it when he got to Bristol. He made the comment, 'I've been to a lot of racetracks Jamie. Nothing is going to really overwhelm me.' He called me as soon as he got here and told me he couldn't believe this place. It's a breathtaking racetrack. The fans obviously make this place. When something happens on the track, it's incredible to hear the response whether it's good or bad."

COMMENT ON YOUR WORK WITH AUTISM "It's something we need to learn more about and the fact that I have a niece with autism makes it very personal to me. I'm very fortunate that Havoline and Chevron Texaco are willing to help promote it. It's a cool looking car, and hopefully we can run well this weekend and get a lot of TV time to help raise some awareness."

ARE AERODYNAMICS AND TIRES LESS FACTORS HERE? "Yes, I think so. This place, honestly when the Busch race was over at Nashville, I woke up on Sunday morning ready to get to Bristol and Martinsville. You never hear people talk about bodies being good enough for those places or we didn't have the right aero balance. This place is about what we all grew up doing, and that's racing on short tracks and really hard racing and rubbing on each other. This is what it's all about."

ARE YOU CONCERNED ABOUT THE WEATHER? "We've run pretty much the same setup here the last four or five races and finished in the top 10 every time. The new setups people use aren't something you can do here. This place is a very conventional setup and it's very basic. I don't think (the weather and possible lack of practice time) will be an issue."

IS IT DIFFICULT TO ALWAYS KNOW WHERE YOU ARE ON THE TRACK? "I've tested here before, like on a one-day test, and at 10:30 or 11 o'clock at night it's confusing to know which end of the racetrack you're at. It's so fast and it's mentally training. It's not as bad as a superspeedway, but so much happens here so fast. It's crazy out there."

NOTHING HAS CHANGED HERE FROM LAST YEAR? "Nope, this racetrack, I was just talking with Jeff Hammond, and we're still running a similar setup to what they ran in the 90s. It's a little different. Every time you come here you do something a little different, but for the most part it's pretty conventional."

YOU HAD PROBLEMS HERE LAST YEAR WITH INSPECTION. DID YOUR TEAM MAKE SURE THAT WOULDN'T HAPPEN AGAIN? "That will never happen again with our race team or anyone in our organization. It's just a mistake we made last year. I thought about it when I woke up this morning. It's April Fool's Day and I thought someone might play that joke on me, but it's not something I consider any more."

WOULD YOU LIKE BRISTOL TO BE PART OF THE FINAL 10? "It wouldn't really matter to me. It would be exciting, but when you get down to the last 10 races it's nice they include one of every type of racetrack, but places like superspeedways you're out of control if there's a wreck in front of you and you're involved in it. It almost seems unfair. You only get 10 races to race for a championship. You've got to have a little bit of luck, but it doesn't matter to me. When they have a wreck here it's two or three people and it's light damage. If you get torn up here, I've seen guys run well with no front fenders. If you get torn up on a superspeedway, your car goes to junk. It's a little different."

WHY DO YOU THINK YOU RACE SO WELL HERE? "My first two Busch starts here I think I ran a total of six or eight laps. I got caught in a wreck and the car was torn up so bad I couldn't continue. We've just had a lot of success here in the Cup car. I love coming here. Here and Martinsville are two of my favorite tracks, and I think when you enjoy going somewhere you're typically successfully at it. You hear a lot of guys say they're going to bring an old car to Bristol because they know it's going to get torn up, but I think that's the opposite of what you should think. If you come here and have a slow car you get run into and you get spun out and torn up. If you have a fast car, you're doing the running into. I think you bring your best car here. You've got to have a little luck, but you've got to have a good handling car."

DO YOU HAVE TO BE AGGRESSIVE HERE? "I don't think so. I remember running here third or fourth with Kurt Busch leading and I caught him because a lapped car was holding him up. I'm like, 'man, just move this guy out of the way so we can go on.' He was very patient with him and he ended up winning the race because he was patient. That's key here. There are times when you have to be aggressive, but I think for the most part patience here is huge. If you're a good car and they know you're a good car... I guess there's a time to be aggressive, but not all the time."

COMMENT ON SAFER BARRIERS AT BMS "The safer barriers are wonderful and if they take three grooves away they're worth it."

COMMENT ON PENALTY YOU RECEIVED HERE LAST YEAR "Obviously that 25 points was huge at the end of the year. We look back on it now and we know how important that would have been, but it wasn't anything intentional. Aero at this track is a small factor. I'm sure they're more careful when they bring cars to the track, but last year was just an error, an accident."

COMMENT ON THE HENDRICK AND ROUSH TEAMS. ARE YOU BEHIND THEM? "I don't know that we're behind. Those guys are really on the ball right now. It's amazing that every one of their teams are running well, not just one or two. I'm really not surprised (with Carl Edwards' success). I look back at when I won at Charlotte, and I wasn't really ready to win a Cup race. Right now, I feel like I'm ready. When you get in a car that's capable of winning and you've got really good teammates, it makes it easier. Carl is an awesome racecar driver, and he's really good at being out of control. When you've got the spoiler package and tires we've got right now, that's what it's all about. I don't know mind being out of control, as long as you're out of control a second faster. I'm not a big fan of the spoiler. I'd love to see them leave the tires the same and put the spoiler back. The cars aren't fun to drive anymore. It's more fun to drive the Busch cars. I think it's harder to pass in the Cup cars. Hopefully we'll make some changes for next year or hopefully even this year."

SO WHAT'S THE AERO ANSWER? "I wish they would try to limit the front travel on the cars so you could lean the spoiler back and you were limited on the front spring you could run or limit the front travel some way. Slow 'em down that way and take downforce away versus taking it off the back."

WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT BACK-TO-BACK SHORT TRACK RACES? "I think it's great to go from Bristol to Martinsville. Those are two of my favorite tracks. It gets old racing on mile and a half and the two-mile tracks. It's nice to come here and to me this is what racing is all about. I feel like I've got to win at both of them, so I don't care. Both of them are really good tracks for me. If we had to race at Bristol every week it wouldn't be fun, but it's fun to go from here to Martinsville. Change is good. If your car handles bad here, this place will kill you. If your car handles good here, I've gotten out and run to the motorhome before."


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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Kurt Busch , Carl Edwards