Charlotte: Jamie McMurray race report

Jamie McMurray Rallies to Fourth-Place Finish in Coca-Cola 600 CONCORD, N.C., (May 30, 2004) --- Jamie McMurray has a love affair with Lowe's Motor Speedway. McMurray rocketed the No. 42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge to a fourth-place finish tonight in...

Jamie McMurray Rallies to Fourth-Place Finish in Coca-Cola 600

CONCORD, N.C., (May 30, 2004) --- Jamie McMurray has a love affair with Lowe's Motor Speedway. McMurray rocketed the No. 42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge to a fourth-place finish tonight in the closing laps of the Coca-Cola 600. The fourth-place finish marked McMurray's third top-10 finish in four races at Lowe's Motor Speedway. The speedway is also the site of McMurray's stunning NEXTEL Cup victory in October 2002 in only his second start. The finish tonight was McMurray's third top-five finish of the season and his first top-five since Las Vegas back in early March. McMurray also led 15 laps tonight and raised $1,890 for his "Drive for a Cure" awareness campaign for the Autism Society of America.

"I'm very happy with our finish tonight in the Texaco/Havoline Dodge," McMurray said. "We had a top-10 car all night, and there at the end, Donnie Wingo (crew chief) made a great call to stay out during a caution period, and that helped us gain track position. We didn't have anything for the 48 car, but it's always good to finish in the top five and be a contender."

After qualifying 21st, McMurray quickly began his march towards the front as the Texaco/Havoline Dodge was running in the seventh position by lap 45.

During a caution period on lap 122, McMurray headed to pit road with the leaders and was fitted with four fresh Goodyear Eagles and fuel as the Texaco/Havoline crew made several air pressure adjustments to correct a tight handling condition. McMurray exited pit road in the 12th position.

As the race reached the halfway point on lap 200, the Texaco/Havoline Dodge was running in the sixth position as McMurray and crew chief Donnie Wingo continued to discuss chassis adjustment strategy for upcoming pit stops. By lap 292, McMurray found himself running in fourth place.

As the race reached the closing laps, McMurray had blasted into third place and had his attention focused on race leader Jimmie Johnson.

A caution flag on lap 367 would prove beneficial for McMurray. As the entire field headed down pit road, the No. 42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge remained on the speedway and took over the top spot. Crew chief Donnie Wingo made the call in hopes of gaining track position on the leaders.

The gamble paid off as McMurray held the point for the following 15 laps until eventual race winner Johnson passed him on lap 384.

With 10 laps to go, McMurray was running second when the caution flag waved on lap 393. The red flag was waved in an effort to the end the race under green. When the race resumed on lap 397, McMurray found himself in a heated battle for second place with Michael Waltrip and Matt Kenseth.

When the caution flag waved again on the final lap for Bobby Labonte's wreck, the field was frozen with Johnson taking the victory and the Texaco/Havoline Dodge crossing the finish line in fourth place.

Next up for the Texaco/Havoline team is the "Monster Mile," also known as Dover International Speedway in Dover, Del. for the running of the MBNA America 400 next Sunday.

-cgr-

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Matt Kenseth , Michael Waltrip , Jimmie Johnson , Jamie McMurray