Charlotte II: Dodge Motorsports McMurray follow-up

JAMIE McMURRAY (No. 40 Coors Light Dodge Intrepid R/T) "When you have a good race car, lapped traffic is so much easier to deal with. You can take your car different places on the track. It seems like if they were low, I went high. If they went...

JAMIE McMURRAY (No. 40 Coors Light Dodge Intrepid R/T)

"When you have a good race car, lapped traffic is so much easier to deal with. You can take your car different places on the track. It seems like if they were low, I went high. If they went high, I went low. That's what it was. I would just kind of watch and Lorin (spotter Ranier) would help me a lot. He'd say 'this guy is running up high in three and four. This guy is running down low. I just went where they didn't. The car was so good. It was effortless because my car was so good. I drove really hard, but you drive hard every week. You've got to have a good race car underneath you, and that's what I had.

CHIP GANASSI (Car Owner Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates Dodge Intrepid R/Ts)

"We were having a good night obviously. We pitted a little early. We were somewhat out of sequence about the second stop. We were a little early and we wanted to make a change on the car. I think it was right after that he cycled right up to the front. I saw him do that move in three. We were having a good night, when he and Bobby split the 44 car, that was my turning point for the race. I said, 'OK, this kid's a racer.' It's validated now. He's got what it takes. The next thing that happened in my night was Spencer blew his engine up. I thought I hope that's not something that's catching. If you remember last week, if you're an engine building, you hope you don't have a problem like that. That was the next thing that went through my mind.

"Suddenly it was our race to lose. The only thing that could happen was we could lose the race. With 40 laps to go we cycled back to the lead. We had our last stop and it was our race to lose and it was our race to win, too.

"A lot of the Busch drivers were already committed. I went to Jim Hunter and said, 'hey, we've got to find somebody. Have you got any ideas? We were looking for somebody for next year at that point when Jamie's name came up. The rest is history. What did you see in the guy? I think what you see is a genuine person. He hasn't been tainted by everybody in this room. He's a genuine person, and I think that's what the world needs more of today - genuine people - and you've got one right here.

"It was Jim Hunter who gave us the first heads up, and I've been looking for him all night. I saw him in the pit lane about halfway through the race and I kind of gave him the eye and he gave me the eye. I think a lot of these young kids today have the talent. It is down to demeanor and it is down to.... Everybody is fast these days. When I met Jamie, I keep using the word heart. He's got a lot of heart. I think you see that here tonight.

"Obviously worst case scenario we're starting last (at Martinsville). Obviously he has his Busch commitments to fulfill and maybe we'll talk to Clarence (Busch Grand National car owner Brewer) this week, and Clarence will let him be there the whole weekend. You never know. It's up to Clarence, not us.

"Everybody wants to look at me for that, and it's not about me at all. It's about the team. It's about Tony Glover and Andy Graves and Lee and all the guys. We're talking every day. There's not a day goes by that we're not trying to improve this team. Even in tonight's victory, there are still a lot of challenges this team faces. It's by no means do we think we're there yet where we need to be. Tonight we'll have a nice party and drink a lot of beer but tomorrow it's back to work. That's what this business is about. You can put your particular spin on it whatever way you want, but we're working at it every day trying to improve, look at our weak spots and try to improve those and not get too excited about our high points.

"Quite honestly when we asked Jamie to sit in the car, we said, 'let's work hard and hope for the best.' That's what we did. Quite frankly after last week, the owner's championship was probably the last thing on my mind. Somehow I have to say it did pop in my mind those last 10 laps tonight. It's certainly back on the radar screen now."

FELIX SABATES (Co-owner Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates Dodge Intrepid R/Ts)

"The first thing we talked about when Sterling got hurt was we still had a chance to win the owner's championship. I think that would be kind of interesting how NASCAR would handle that in New York. One driver on one side and the other driver on the other. The higher we finish in the car owner points, the better it is for us next year. I still think we can do it. We didn't gain much on Tony Stewart, but we gained a lot on some of the other teams. I think we still have a legitimate shot to win the (car owner's) championship."

LEE McCALL (Crew chief No. 40 Coors Light Dodge Intrepid R/T)

NOTE: McCall is a 34-year-old crew chief from Travelers Rest, S.C. McMurray's victory Sunday night at LMS was McCall's fifth with the No. 40 team.

"They wanted to know what I felt like when Jamie was hollering down the backstretch. We had about a six or seven car-length lead in turns three and four. Jamie was excited and of four everyone was excited. He (Bobby Labonte) closed right up on our rear bumper and I didn't know if Jamie thought the race was over or what. I'm going ecstatic on the radio, 'come on, come on, come on.' It says a lot about this race team and how strong it is, and certainly Jamie coming in here and doing the job he's done the past two races. I felt like at Talladega we had a great race car. I made a mistake on pit road and ran him out of gas. I felt like we had a top 10 car there. Jamie has done everything we've asked and certainly there's great things to come from him in the future.

"I'm a pretty big worry-wart when it comes to lapped cars. When you've got a race car like we did tonight, to be passing Dale Jarrett and people like that... Jamie did a tremendous job getting through traffic. I can't say enough. Bobby Labonte is a past Winston Cup champion and it just makes it so much sweeter. I know Lorin (spotter Ranier) gets tired of hearing about these lapped cars, but it's just one of my pet peeves. The guys worked with us and when they're in that position, we'll do the same for them.

"Certainly it was a big blow to our race team to hear about Sterling. We had a meeting with all our guys and they went through a day or two trying to get through it. We still had a goal, and one of our goals was to give Jamie the best equipment we had. Obviously, we wanted to go out and win every week. As a race team, we have certain things we want to accomplish and one of those was to run strong. It goes to show a lot about this race team, how strong it is. I think a lot of people might have given up on our race team, not only with Sterling being out but bringing a rookie in. I can't say enough about Jamie. He's a great guy to work with. He's got a good head on his shoulders. I really think you'll see bigger and better things come from him. It goes to show what kind of people we have put in place in this organization. I'd like to thank Chip and Felix for that. To be successful, that's what you need."


Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Jarrett , Bobby Labonte , Tony Stewart , Chip Ganassi , Felix Sabates , Jim Hunter
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing