Dodge MotorsportsTeleconference Clear!Blue JAMIE McMURRAY (No. 42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge) NOTE: McMurray finished third in the 2003 Brickyard 400. He's currently 15th in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Standings, 133 points out of 10th place. The ...
JAMIE McMURRAY (No. 42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge)
NOTE: McMurray finished third in the 2003 Brickyard 400. He's currently 15th in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Standings, 133 points out of 10th place. The 28-year-old Joplin, Mo., native will make his 63rd Cup start on Sunday.
COMMENT ON SPONSOR CONFLICTS IN VICTORY LANE
"It seems like everything gets blown out of proportion. I don't think they'd care so much if you'd just step out of the way. The guys were getting up and knocking them off and swinging at 'em. That's probably not the right thing to do, but that's a tough position to be put in. Some of the other guys seem to have commitments to a lot of other sponsors, but it hasn't been that bad for me so far. I think that's probably a good problem to have though."
DO YOU HAVE A LOT OF CONFIDENCE GOING BACK TO INDY?
"We tested there two weeks ago and felt like we had an incredible test. Really of all the races we've run this year I think we'll have our best shot at winning. We ran well there last year, and I love going there. It's a fun racetrack. It's different. If you can get your car to handle there, the fact that you have four corners versus two typically, you can really make up a lot of time."
IS THERE PRESSURE BEING 133 POINTS OUT OF 10TH PLACE WITH SIX RACES REMAINING TO DECIDE THE FINAL 10?
"I'm a little disappointed. We've blown up a couple of motors while running in the top five, top 10. You take those out and we would be about seventh in points. This weekend we had another car, I think I was running sixth or seventh, and had another motor break. A couple of weeks ago I was really watching it, but now.... There's really nothing you can do about it. Every week we're fast enough. Our cars are quick enough, but we struggle some in the pits and struggle some to finish races. I kinda ignore that deal right now. It's just gotten frustrating to me."
HOW DO YOU HANDLE THE FRUSTRATION?
"You can ever blame the engine builders. When parts break that's not necessarily their fault. It's really frustrating. It's easy to point fingers, but I've never really been upset at our engine shop or any engine shop because you get on those guys about building the most power and how you want to turn more rpm's. You can't get mad at them when engine failures happen. Other things that are more maybe in your control you can get frustrated at, but as far as engines go that's just part of it. Everyone has engines break. Some guys might have more than others, but that's just part of what we did. It's hard to get mad at those guys."
IS THERE TIME TO STEP TO THE SIDE IN VICTORY LANE BEFORE TV GETS TO THE CAR?
"Yeah, all you've got to do is just walk away. You're the center of attention. They're going to follow you. It's funny we're all talking about this right now because in a couple of weeks nobody is going to pay attention to it. It's just a hot topic right now. All you've got to do is walk away. It's not that big a deal, and they're going to follow you. I don't see that big of an issue with it."
TALK ABOUT THE CHALLENGES AT INDY
"We tested there a couple of weeks ago, and it's one of my favorite racetracks. I like flat racetracks. If you get your car to handle you can make up a lot of time. If your car is not handling you can lose a lot. We ran well there last year. When we left the test last year I felt like we had a shot to win the race. We went back this year and our first day of testing was horrible. By the end of the second day I felt like we had a shot to win the race. If we can get in and out of the pits and finish the race, I really feel like we'll have a shot to end up in victory lane."
TALK ABOUT THE SUCCESS OF YOUR TEAMMATE, CASEY MEARS
"Casey sat on the pole last week. That's cool. That's always fun. He's done a really good job this year, so that's cool to see how he turned his season around from last year. I know he hated it for the whole team. They really struggled, but they really turned it around and changed a lot of people on that team. I think Casey has matured a lot as a driver. He seems to understand the cars better. I think last year he might have been a little bit too picky. When the car wouldn't handle right he'd get frustrated. I think he wanted to make it handle like an Indy car. He's done a great job this year, and it's cool to see them running so much better. I'm genuinely happy for them."
DOES IT HELP WHEN YOUR TEAMMATES RUN WELL?
"Most definitely. Any time everybody is running better you can go talk to them and see what they're doing. Most of the time Casey and I don't run setups that are that close. I know at Pocono, me, Sterling and Casey all qualified in the top seven and all three cars had completely different setups -- all different shocks, springs, everything was different. It was kinda funny to see us all do well with such different setups."
HOW DO YOU APPROACH THE NEXT STRETCH OF RACES?
"I'm not even paying attention to that anymore. I wanted to throw up after Pocono this week. It's so frustrating as a driver when you're driving your heart out and have bad luck I guess you'd call it when you have engine failure or have trouble in the pits. It's really disappointing. I'm just not going to pay any attention to it. I used to come home last year and watch all the racing programs on TV. I don't even watch racing now during the week. All it does is get me upset. I'm not even paying any attention to it."
WHAT WOULD IT MEAN TO WIN THE BRICKYARD 400?
"I'd say the Brickyard and the night race at Bristol would be the two, obviously the Daytona 500 is big but that's such a different type racing, but the Brickyard 400 would be one of the biggest races I could win I think."
ARE YOU CONCERNED YOU'RE TOO FAR BEHIND TO REACH THE TOP 10?
"I think 130 is a lot to make up in six races. You never know. I never would have thought we'd broke a motor at Pocono. We all go through the same thing and it all equals itself out. I guess you just have to hope that maybe someone else will have some misfortunes the next few weeks."
COMMENT ON JIMMIE JOHNSON'S FINE
"That's tough there. Jimmie is usually politically correct about everything. I don't know. I know Jimmie pretty well and if they told him not to do something he'd usually obey. I didn't get to see what happened, but that seems pretty steep. I don't know why he just didn't step out of the way, but that would be frustrating."
WHAT DO YOU DO TO CONTROL EMOTIONS AND KEEP COMPOSURE?
"It's a lot different in the Busch car. Every time I'm at a Busch race, if I can't win, it really doesn't matter if I run fifth. It would have been nice for Rusty's team. They've struggled all season and wrecked a lot of racecars. I was upset about that. If it were to happen when you were 50 points out of 10th place to make it into the chase for the championship, it would be a lot harder to control that. I know Kyle (Busch), and I heard Rusty say this after D.J. wrecked him on the last lap, you know there are guys that wreck you intentionally and other guys that didn't mean to. I've always been really nice to Kyle, and I usually talk to him every week just before the drivers' meeting, just 'hey, what's going on?' We're not buddies away from the racetrack, but he's certainly a guy I wouldn't get into and I wouldn't expect him to get into me. I don't know what happened there. It's frustrating, but in a Busch car, if I don't think someone did it intentionally, I don't have a lot riding on that. In my Cup ride, it's totally different. That is my job. It's probably a little bit harder to control that. It's probably fortunate I had 20 minutes to cool off after I got spun out or maybe it would have been different."
COMMENT ON RACING AT MARTINSVILLE
"I think I've run in the top 10 every time I've been to Martinsville. I might have broken a motor there last year. It's a good racetrack for me, like all these guys that grew up racing on the short tracks. It's a change of pace. It's something different. I enjoy going there."
WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS WITH RUSTY'S BUSCH TEAM?
"That's something we pretty much agreed to do for the remainder of this year and see how things went before we decided what to do for next year. We wanted to make sure everything was going to work out and make sure I got along with the guys and we were going to be successful before I committed to another whole year deal. We're just going to wait and see how the next few races go. We obviously got started off on the right foot. I hope the next six races I run it go as well as Loudon did. That is a team that you'd have a shot to win the race every week they go to the track. I think when fans see cars they see pretty paint schemes, but sometimes they see great equipment. Every single thing about that organization is first class, -- the transporters, the race shop, the cars, the people that work there. If I would start a race team, and I'm very picky about things, you couldn't do it better than Rusty has done. It's very well thought out and every thing is there to win every single week."
WHY WOULD YOU LIKE TO WIN THE NIGHT RACE AT BRISTOL?
"You put that many people in that small of an area, it's incredible. I love that racetrack, and the fans just go nuts there. You're in such a small area. It's an exciting racetrack. I think everyone wants to watch the night race at Bristol on TV. I think every driver wants to win that race. I'm not awed. I think Indy, the (Daytona) 500 and the night race at Bristol hands down are the races everybody wants to win."
WHERE DOES MICHIGAN RANK?
"I sat on the pole there my very first race in a truck. I've always liked going there. I don't think my finishes or my results have shown how well we've run there. I was running fifth there a month ago and blew up the motor. Sterling actually led that race, and I think our car was better than Sterling's. It's a good race track for me, and it's a good race track. You can race five wide if you want to, and that makes it fun."
WHAT'S TEAM MORALE LIKE AFTER POCONO?
"I think everybody probably feels the way I do, kinda frustrated. I think if you'd run 15th every week and you were there just because you were consistent (it would be different). We've run in the top five or top 10 in almost every single race, and things bite us. It's frustrating for a race team when you feel like you've run better than where you're finishing. I don't think you count yourself out. When I saw Ryan down a lap at one point and Harvick broke, I thought it was going to be a good points day for us because we were running so well. The same thing happened at Michigan. Ryan was down a lap and somebody else broke that was running real well in the points. Every time I think that, it seems like we have something happen. It's frustrating. If you run well this week, you can kinda forget about last week."