JAMIE McMURRAY (No. 42 Havoline Dodge Intrepid) - Finished third, top Dodge, top Raybestos Rookie-of-the-Year finisher "To be the way the bodies are now, it's a lot easier to race. I think it was a lot worse last year. You don't get as tight ...
JAMIE McMURRAY (No. 42 Havoline Dodge Intrepid) - Finished third, top Dodge, top Raybestos Rookie-of-the-Year finisher
"To be the way the bodies are now, it's a lot easier to race. I think it was a lot worse last year. You don't get as tight behind guys as you used to. I'm not one that knows a lot about that, but just listening to Sterling and some of the other guys, it used to be a lot harder to pass here than it was this year. It's easier, but you're in control when you're in the lead. I felt really good about it. If we can start a run and not stop, we're really good. Even in practice, I noticed when we came in and changed and went back out, it wasn't any good any more. We didn't really need the tires to cool down.
"I might have knocked a little time off my speed in qualifying (when he scraped the wall), but I listened to 20 people say they didn't get enough out of it because there was so much grip out there. I decided I wasn't going to do that. I wanted to get all I had. I just barely scraped it.
"I think the good thing about today is that it did not come down to a fuel mileage race. The Dodges don't typically get good fuel mileage. We're a Dodge, and we don't get good fuel mileage. I'm glad it didn't come down to that. Even 150 miles in, I kept asking if we were on the right strategy.
"The restart, I was out of control. I couldn't go. I couldn't do anything. I was just kinda stuck behind them.
"I ran so well with a car at California and Chicago. I always ran well with it. We brought it here to test with this car. This is a brand new car. This car is a little bit better than the one we always ran so well with. This is a really good racecar. That's what I'm trying to get at. The first day of testing, we didn't run very well. The last three hours of the second day, we found something that not at just this racetrack, it worked last week at Pocono, too. We just hit on something. We were not really good on the get-go at the test, but we didn't fall off at all. I felt really good about coming back here. It's going to be hard to believe but we changed two front shocks from the time we unloaded. Throughout the whole race, we didn't change anything.
"This is an intimidating racetrack, so much different than anything else we run on. Testing here for a rookie is crucial. I knew we had a good car the whole race and felt like we had the best car for most of the race. Just having Donnie reading my lap times, and I knew if I could get out front.... You're always faster when you get out front. I thought if I could get there we would be in really good shape. I've got to give kudos to my pit crew, too. I felt like we had the best pit crew today. We beat the 17 car out twice, and they have one of the best pit crews in Winston Cup.
"Really once I got out to the lead, I struggled just to stay focused, trying to take in where we were at and what was happening and the fact that I was getting farther away from them. It was hard to take all that in and stay focused. At one point I kinda got grumpy at Donnie. He talked to me, and I told him not to talk to me. Then I told him to talk to me now. I was really struggling to stay focused and do what I really needed to do.
"This is a huge race, and I can't imagine winning my first time here.
"There's so much history behind this racetrack, especially for our race team with Chip having such a big background in open wheel. Obviously he wants to win here. It's not like anywhere else we race. Like Pocono, I think that's an intimidating racetrack because it's not like anywhere else we go to race at. It's a different shape. A lot of guys test here, and they really want to do well at this track. So, to me, to run well at a race like this just shows you've got a really good team and everything went your way because a lot of guys try to run well here.
"When we go to Watkins Glen next week, some guys will test there, but people just don't focus on those races as much as they're going to focus on Daytona and the Brickyard.
"I really feel like he (Donnie Wingo) is the most underrated crew chief in Winston Cup. The guy always seems to make the right call. He's really good, and a crew chief is a leader. My team really respects him. Donnie is not the kind of guy that stands on the top of the trailer and yells down 'do this.' He likes working on racecars, and I think my whole team really respects him for that. I do. With Donnie, there's such an age difference. My dad is back there so I've got to be careful how I word this, but he's almost like a father figure to me. I don't really joke around about girls with Donnie, like I don't joke around about girls with my dad. You just don't. I look at Donnie more like a father. We have meetings every week at Ganassi's, and that's never been an issue. I feel really blessed to have him.
"I'm a little disappointed that we finished third because I felt we had the dominant car or at least one of the best cars all day long. I just couldn't put it together there at the end. The restarts really hurt us, but I'm happy for the whole raceteam. I think it shows what we're capable of doing. This is a really big race, and to finish well here means a lot."