Dodge Motorsports Teleconference Tuesday, May 11,2004 JAMIE McMURRAY (No. 42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge) NOTE: McMurray has recorded top-10 finishes in four of the last five races and moved from 19th to 12th in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup ...
Dodge Motorsports Teleconference
Tuesday, May 11,2004
JAMIE McMURRAY (No. 42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge)
NOTE: McMurray has recorded top-10 finishes in four of the last five races and moved from 19th to 12th in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Standings. The 27-year-old Joplin, Mo., native will make career start No. 53 on Saturday night at Richmond. He finished eighth and seventh in the previous two short track races this season
OUTLOOK FOR RICHMOND
"It's quite a bit faster than it was, and it seems like it might be hard to get a hold of the track. Even though it's got a lot of grip, on cold tires, it's hard to get a hold of. It's been known to have two-wide racing every time we go there. It seems like the first race after they pave the track it messes that up, but hopefully it'll widen out, maybe the Busch cars will widen it out and we'll have some good racing."
DO YOU NEED A WEEKEND OFF?
"My weekend off probably wears me out. You probably go harder than you should, but I like to continually keep going. That's one of the reasons I want to get back in the Busch car. I feel like I'm (more) tired on Sunday not running the Busch race because I sat around all day on Saturday. For me, I like to go, go."
ARE OPPORTUNITIES OPENING UP FOR YOU OFF THE TRACK?
"I'd love to get to go do anything for MTV. Any time you get to do something outside of racing that's that big, that's fun. It's so much different. I grew up watching MTV and CMT. To get to be a part of those awards shows that you've watched for so many years, that's cool. Junior was the only guy I've ever seen on any of those. I think maybe Jimmie Johnson did the CMT awards, so it's amazing the opportunities that come along being a racecar driver. I know 10 years ago you never would have seen a racecar driver on one of these shows, so it's pretty neat."
COMMENT ON TWO WEEKS AT CHARLOTTE
"Every week after a race I sit the whole next week and think about the racetrack. You kind of eliminate that because you've been there (Lowe's Motor Speedway) all week. The best part about being in the same place for two weeks is that you live five miles from it. You don't have to travel in the plane or sleep in your motorhome. You get to stay at home. That's a fun racetrack. It's different. I know they talk about moving that race around, but the thing that's cool about Charlotte is you get to put a setup in your car that's not totally based on aero. Guys aren't running 400-pound springs in the front and 800-pound springs in the rear. They run a more conventional setup. That makes the racing better. That place is still rough. You get to move around and find a groove, so that's a great place to be two weeks in a row. You've got to keep your car balanced. It's so rough. You've got to have everything there. For the all-star race it's not that bad because it's such a short race. The 600 is such a long race. Five hundred miles is a long time. Six hundred miles is just incredible. I think one of the big things in Charlotte it's one of the first races where it's really, really hot. Even though it was really hot in Fontana, I didn't break a sweat during the race. I got tired, but I didn't really break a sweat. But when you go to Charlotte, it's hot and muggy. They put that right window in the car and the heat.... It's a long, long race. Four hundred mile races are about the perfect length I think. You're not junk at the end of it. Some of the 500-mile races you're not tired. At California, I was tired after the race. When your car drives good, those races aren't so bad. I hope my car drives good and I'm not tired after Charlotte. I get hungry. You don't get light-headed, but you're hungry and fatigued."
COMMENT ON TIRES AT RICHMOND
"Tires aren't going to be a factor at all. We ran just as fast on our 70th-lap as you could on brand new tires. I think you're going to see people not even up on tires and just put in fuel to gain track position. You're not going to see anybody pit and put four tires on and drive back through the field. Tires just aren't a big deal. The track's got a lot of grip and the tires are not wearing out, so it's going to be interesting. It'll be similar to last year."
COMMENT ON TONY STEWART
"He hasn't done anything to me. I've read stories and heard the gossip, but I don't know what's going on with him right now. He's one of the best guys there is, at least with the helmet on. It seems like sometimes he loses his head, but he's cool with me. I don't have an issue with him. I think sometimes you don't see the whole story with what's going on. There might have been something in the past, but he might just be having a bad day."
COMMENT ON ROCKINGHAM
"I love Rockingham's racetrack. It's somewhat like Charlotte. You run setups as soft as you can get 'em in the front with the nose dragging and you run more of a conventional setup. It's a wonderful racetrack. It's just too bad they can't get fans to go watch the races there. Rockingham would be a good test track for Darlington. You run similar setups. Shocks are about the same. You can't go test Rockingham for Richmond or Fontana. It would be a good test track for Darlington and maybe to go shake a car down. The only down side to Rockingham as a test track would be tires fall off so much you'd have to put new tires on all the time. That was one of the cool things about Richmond. If you ran 80 laps on a set of tires and went back out and made a change and your times picked up you knew tires were eliminated as a factor because they didn't give up."
COMMENT ON KASEY KAHNE
"Kasey has been doing great. I've been talking a lot to him. We've become friends this year and he's doing a wonderful job. I think what's helping Kasey out a lot, other than he's in wonderful equipment, he's getting to run that Busch car on Saturday. He's done a phenomenal job. He should be proud of himself and the team. I'm not jealous of anyone. I hope one day I get to be him and run well every week. There's no point being jealous because everyone gets to have their turn being successful."
WHAT'S YOUR BUSCH STATUS?
"I might to get to do something this weekend, I'm not sure yet. I might have a Busch ride for this weekend, and I might be in a Busch car for awhile after this. I've just got to wait and see how things work out with sponsorship, but I might have something put together for Friday night (at Richmond)."
COMMENT ON CUP SEASON AFTER FIRST 10 RACES
"I feel like we've had a top-10 car every single week. We had some trouble in a few races earlier in the year, but we've just got to keep doing what we're doing. We struggled at Fontana. We got home on Monday and I went to the shop and told them I wanted to go test somewhere to try some things for the faster tracks. Maybe we need to work on our bodies a little bit, get some more downforce. We're going to go test and try to find something that'll help at the faster tracks. I think everything has gone well. The new tire is good. Even at Talladega it seemed the tire made a little difference. That's nice when you're not depending on pit strategy to make the car handle."
COMMENT ON YOUNG TALENT
"It seems like team owners are more open now. You don't have to be from a NASCAR family. I think most teams have scouts that search around and find good, young talent. It seems like right now if you're talented and young and have got the skills and you can showcase that, they'll give you a chance. We see a lot of young talent right now coming along in good equipment, so I think it's easier to get in now than it was 10 years ago. Chevron-Texaco wanted someone that everyone could relate to, that could go out and speak and sound intelligent and have a conversation with everyone from a plant worker to the main people at the corporate headquarters. The No. 1 thing is you've got to be able to drive a racecar. You have to be able to win races and perform well, but at the same time you've got to be able to go and speak before a group of people. The racing side, the driving part, for me, is the easiest part. You love it and that's what you're good at. Traveling and speaking, I don't look forward to that part very much because it takes away from your focus of racing."
HOW DID KARTING HELP YOUR CAREER?
"Anytime you can be in something racing, whether it's a go-kart or a stockcar, it doesn't matter what it is, just racing, that's going to help you later on for sure. You get used to practice, qualifying and racing go-karts. Then you move up to stockcars. You need to be in something racing for sure."
HOW CONFIDENT ARE YOU RETURNING TO TRACK WHERE YOU GOT YOUR FIRST CUP WIN?
"I was more excited last year when we went back. We ran terrible in the 600 and The Winston last year. I love that racetrack. It's just a fun place to get to go race. We're taking the car that I ran so well with last year. We wrecked it at Vegas, and they're supposed to have it ready to go by (all-star race). It seems like guys that are successful there are successful every time they go back. I can't wait to go back."
WERE YOU ALWAYS INTENT ON RACING STOCK CARS?
"I always wanted to do stockcar racing. I can't imagine with how popular NASCAR is now that the majority of the kids in go-karting don't have that. When I was racing go-karts, open-wheel and NASCAR were kind of hand-in-hand. There wasn't one that stuck out more than the other, but NASCAR is so huge now. I can't imagine a kid in a go-kart not wanting to end up in NEXTEL Cup racing. I think next year you'll see me do some different things. Chip (Ganassi) has a sports car deal, and I want to try to do the 24 Hours of Daytona. One day, I don't know when, I'd really like to try to do the Indy 500 I think. It's something that's different. I don't even know that I could do it, but Chip and I have talked about it. I'm going to try to test one of those cars sometimes. I don't have any plans for it right now. It might be five years, but that's something I think one day I'd like to try. I always thought of myself as a driver. No matter what you get in, you try to do your best. I was pretty successful in what ever kind of car I got in."