Daytona 500: GM teams race notes, quotes

Jamie McMurray Wins the Daytona 500; Team Chevy Scores Three of Top-Five and Five of Top-10 Finishers Daytona Beach, Fla - Jamie McMurray took his No. 1 Bass Pro Shops/Tracker Boats Impala to victory lane in the 52nd running of the Daytona 500....

Jamie McMurray Wins the Daytona 500; Team Chevy Scores Three of Top-Five and Five of Top-10 Finishers

Daytona Beach, Fla - Jamie McMurray took his No. 1 Bass Pro Shops/Tracker Boats Impala to victory lane in the 52nd running of the Daytona 500. It is his first victory in the Great American Race, but his second at Daytona International Speedway (DIS), his first in July, 2007.

Today's race was McMurray's debut behind the wheel of a Chevrolet in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) and his first race back as a driver for Earnhardt Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates (EGR). He led once for just two laps, the least led by the race winner in Daytona 500 history.

The race ran eight laps beyond the scheduled 200 laps as the result of two green-white-checkered attempts at the finish. Red flags delayed the race twice for approximately two (2) hours and 25 minutes when issues with the surface of the track forced track officials to halt the action and make repairs. There were nine cautions for a total of 40 laps and 52 lead changes among 21 drivers.

McMurray's margin of victory over fellow Team Chevy driver Dale Earnhardt, Jr., No. 88 AMP Energy/National Guard Impala, was just eleven one-hundreths of a second. Junior led once for a total of four laps. The runner-up run was his 12th top-10 finish in 21 DIS races.

Clint Bowyer, No. 33 Cheerios/Hamburger Helper Impala, finished fourth to give Team Chevy three of the top-five finishers. He led a total of eight times for 37-laps in the season opening race of the 2010 NSCS season.

Kevin Harvick, No. 29 Shell-Pennzoil Impala, finished seventh after leading seven times for 41 laps.

Juan Pablo Montoya, No. 42 Target Impala, McMurray's EGR finished 10th, the fifth Chevy driver in the top-10 finishers. He led twice for two laps during the three hour, 47-minute race.

Greg Biffle (Ford) and David Reutimann (Toyota) completed the top-five finishers.

Race two (2) of 36-race 2010 NSCS schedule will be Sunday, February 21, 2010 at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, CA.



FROM JAMIE MCMURRAY: "Unbelievable. Unbelievable. I told my wife today, she was like if you win tonight....oh I am going to is so unreal. I thought if I made it without seeing my Dad or my wife, I'd be ok. (IN TEARS) It is unbelievable really. I can't explain it. It is a dream. I mean it really it is.

"Where I was last year...and for Johnny Morris (Bass Pro Shops) and Chip (Ganassi) and Felix (Sabates), Bass Pro Shops to take a chance on me and let me come back, it means a lot to me. What a way to pay them back. Happy Valentines Day to my wife. My Dad is here, it is just very emotional.

"After we won Talladega, we went to McDonalds. I think tonight we will have a Big Mac."

TALK US THROUGH THE LAST LAP: "Biffle helped me out. I spun the tires on the restart. It is just a gamble on which line to get the biggest run. Greg gave me an unbelievable push down the backstretch. Then when I saw the No. 88 (Dale Earnhardt, Jr.) behind me, I thought 'Oh no'. He had a good car and Earnhardt at Daytona is just, I mean they win all the time it seems like. So you never know what to expect.

"I certainly thank the fans that stuck around. That was tough having to get in and out of the car but they stuck with us and it was cool to here the applause when I got back in car. Sprint for everything they do. I went to one of their parties the other night and Dan Hesson is just a great guy and it means a lot. Not only Sprint, but everybody that is a part of our sport. With the economy the way it is, we couldn't be here to put this show without all these sponsors. I want to get with my team."



"I guess this means I'm going to Disneyland! That was awesome. Chip, Felix, and Teresa give us everything we need. Brian Pattie, you couldn't ask for a better teammate and brother. You'd better watch out for this Earnhardt Ganassi Team this year. Thanks to everyone who helped push. I don't know; I closed my eyes for the last lap."



"I am just disappointed to come that close and not win it but, I'll tell you. We did the right thing by coming down and getting two tires. The AMP Energy/National Guard Chevrolet was pretty good all day. Just working on some handling issues. I don't know if got them fixed or not. When it gets cold, everybody's car handles good. I want to thank my team for working really hard. The engine shop did an awesome job. The car worked really good. I'm happy for Jamie and his crew chief Bono who helped me when I was younger."



YOU NEVER SEE RACING LIKE THIS AT DAYTONA. WALK US THROUGH THOSE LAST TWO LAPS "Yeah, the No. 88 (Earnhardt Jr), wow, what a push he gave me on the outside. Just holding on. Probably made a mistake there. I needed my teammate behind me on that restart. I chose the outside. Probably hindsight wasn't the best decision, but the Cheerios/Hamburger Helper Chevrolet was very strong and we had a lot of fun. This is the second year in a row we've had a 4th place finish here at Daytona; hopefully we can get a little bit better."



WHAT HAPPENED? "It was something with the drive, either the axel or the rocker broke in the rear end or something with the hub on the left side. We only have drive in the right rear tires, so something broke coming through Turns 3 and 4 and I just had the one wheel driving."

WAS THAT A SAFETY ISSUE? SHOULD THEY HAVE STILL BEEN RUNNING THE RACE? "They are doing their best to get the show in. The thing keeps coming out (patch to fill the hole) whatever they're putting in isn't getting hard enough to stay. But we were all dodging it. Now we know where it's at. Everybody is dodging it."

SO YOU WEREN'T WORRIED ABOUT SAFETY AT ALL? "No, when I thought I had a flat tire I was screaming the hole is really big hoping we'd get a caution (laughs) and then I realized we didn't have a flat tire so it's like, oh well. I was just looking for something."

SO THAT DIDN'T HAVE ANYTHING TO DO WITH THE HOLE? "It's hard to say. I don't think so. We'd been hitting it with the right side tires and something in the left side broke. So I don't think it was that."



WAS THIS RACE A SAFETY ISSUE? "It was pretty risky but the fans got what they paid for. It was a little risky to do it."

IS THIS A CRUMMY WAY TO START OUT THE DRIVE FOR FIVE? "Yeah, without a doubt. It sucks. But it's a long season and we came out of here last year with a crashed race car and still came back. We have a little work ahead of us."



"It was wild. The No. 99 (Carl Edwards) doesn't really know where he's going. He went to the middle and kind of jammed it all up. But a great job by my Shell-Pennzoil guys. I just wish we knew we had somebody behind us who knew how to draft."

ALL IN ALL, HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE THIS VERY ODD DAY? "It's been a great day for us. We just thought we had the car to beat and just zigged when I should have zagged."

ON THE HOLE, HOW HARD WAS IT TO GAIN A RHYTHM? "Ah, nothing really. It was fine."



HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE THE DAY? "It was a great day for the team with Jamie (McMurray) winning; that was huge. We both had good cars and good opportunities. I just got stuck on the bottom when I was running up front and lost a lot of ground. But overall, this is big. Starting the season like this is what we need."

WHAT ABOUT THE BIG HOLE IN THE RACE TRACK? HOW MUCH OF A DIFFERENCE DID THAT MAKE? "It was nothing. It is what it is. I think the track did an amazing job making sure we could get the track ready and for all the fans here, we got the race in."

HAVE YOU EVER EXPERIENCED ANYTHING LIKE THAT BEFORE? "Oh, yes. We've had problems before. People think it only happens here but it happens everywhere."



HOW WAS YOUR RACE TONIGHT? "It wasn't very good for us. We just missed. We've missed it since we got here. I'm not sure what we missed, but we'll figure it out."

WHAT DID YOU THINK OF THE HOLE SITUATION? "NASCAR did the best job they could with it. I mean, what can you think about? It is what it is. It's not something that you plan for, but obviously NASCAR has done a lot of preparation in case something like that happens. They were prepared for it. The hard part is, you have to fix it, and they did a good job of that, especially in a crisis situation."



"I don't know if Elliott (Sadler) blew a tire or lost control or what, but I got hit in the right rear and it shot me right straight in the wall. Luckily it stayed right side up this time. Unfortunate for this US Army Chevrolet. We were just biding our time in the back, working our way up when it singled up. I am not sure what happened, but I was the recipient."

YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE TRACK ISSUES? "That is just a part of the race track and it is unfortunate. I guess it will be a part of history. That is racing. It is part of a race track. It is not the first time it happened and it won't be the last time it happens. There are more things than that to talk about we'll see here at the end of the race."

HOW DISAPPOINTED IS IT TO RUN ALMOST TO THE END? "Even more disappointing than you can think."



TELL US WHAT HAPPENED THERE AT THE END: "The multiple green-white-checkereds worked for some and not for others. It was just a mess out there. I was real happy with our team, the effort that was put out. Our pit stops, the calls that Steve (Letarte, crew chief) made and our race car. It was really good. We didn't get anything to show for it. Even prior to that, our car was so good, we just couldn't get in the right line. It seemed like if we were in the inside lane, the outside was moving. If we were in the outside lane, the inside was moving. It takes all of those things to be able to go to the front and win here at Daytona. We were going for it and unfortunately it was just a mess out there on the last lap and someone got in our left rear and cut the left rear and away we went.

"Our car was really good, but it doesn't matter because the green-white-checkered just didn't work our way. Even there in the closing laps, Steve made a great call for the two-tire stop. Our car was driving great but every lane we were in just didn't seem to be the right one. That is what it takes to win the Daytona 500. Congratulations to Jamie (McMurray). I know how much that means to him and that whole team. Obviously a disappointing day for us. Those last laps were bumper cars at 195 miles an hour. There is no other way to describe it. It is crazy. It is moments like that you wish some things were different. That is what we do and you know what, it puts a heck of a show on most of the time and madness the others. You don't want to see races end like that. You want to see a great finish and there was a great finish for the win. From about 10th on back, it was pretty ugly."

HOW WAS IT RUNNING OVER THE PATCH? "I never had any issues. That was the one thing that went my way today. When the hole started opening up, I was in the outside lane. I could see the cars starting to pull, I don't know, dust, dirt, whatever it was out of it, it started to slip and slide around. It was real unfortunate for the fans. It shows how incredible our fans are to stick around and see that and almost see Dale, Jr. win."


REGAN SMITH, NO. 78 FURNITURE ROW IMPALA -- Sidelined in multi-car crash:

"It was just one of those racing deals. Brad (Keselowski) looked like he blew a right front tire up in front of me. I was hoping he was going to stay against the wall. I was the first car behind him and I tried to go to the bottom to miss him, but about the time I went to the bottom, he came back down across the nose. It's frustrating. You don't ever want to start the season this way, but all you can do is try to get all the points you can and make the most of it.

"There must have been debris on the track or something, which is a shame that it's only five or six laps into the race and there's debris out there. But I'm proud of what the Furniture Row guys did this week. They worked hard and we had a good race car. We were just going to chill out and ride and wait 'til the end, but that didn't work out."


MIKE BLISS, NO. 36 WAVE ENERGY DRINK IMPALA -- Sidelined in multi-car crash:

"I guess qualifying with a backup car on Thursday was our biggest day here. We felt really good about the Wave Energy Drink Chevrolet at that point, but the race really didn't go too well for us. We got out there and rode around for a few laps and were waiting to see how everything played out. Then we had to slow down for a wreck and just got clobbered in the rear. The rest of the day went really bad. It wrecked our wing and the car was just really loose. I guess it could have been worse though. I'm just real proud of the guys and that we had the opportunity to be here today."

-source: gm racing

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Juan Pablo Montoya
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing