Indianapolis: Winning team press conference, part 2

Continued from part 1 Q: Kevin, Juan seemed to run on clean air for most of the race. After he pitted for four, he found himself in dirty air. How much do you think that played in him not being able to recover? KEVIN MANION: I think that...

Continued from part 1

Q: Kevin, Juan seemed to run on clean air for most of the race. After he pitted for four, he found himself in dirty air. How much do you think that played in him not being able to recover?

KEVIN MANION: I think that was everything. We knew on that last stint there that people were gonna take two. It's a fact. It's written in stone that, you know, maybe fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth, tenth, some of them guys are going to take two.

If you are a leader, have a really good-balanced car, it's hard not to take four tires. Greg Biffle and Juan were running 1-2, they both took four. That was their opportunity they thought to win the race. Our opportunity to win this race was to take two. When Glove asked me in the team meeting this morning, What's your plan today? Whatever it takes to win the race. That was our plan. Our car ran best in clean air. Juan and the 16, of two cars that I know that took four, that were running 1-2, 1-2-3, traffic definitely played a major part in Juan or Biffle not winning.

Q: Jamie, I don't know what it is about you in the big races. Daytona 500, Darlington, the 600, Indy. Do you have any idea why it seems to step up in those? Bono, developing chemistry with a new driver seems to be a science that takes a while to develop most of the time. We've seen multiple examples this year where it doesn't work. What do you attribute your success to with Jamie this year?

KEVIN MANION: I would have to say similar likes, similar age, Jamie being around, being available. Starting last year around Homestead or a week before Phoenix, you know, we really kind of thought we were gonna get something started and continue. From that day forward, the relationship grew. We knew we had to put it in fast forward. We didn't have time. So it was testing over the winter. Simply going to lunch two or three times a week. I know Jamie is a germ-freak now. So am I. He's made me a germ-freak - almost (laughter).

That's it. It's just really simple. We had to speed the process up. That's through testing and, like I said, a couple weeks ago we had a day off, he came and picked me up on a tracker boat. I took him tubing. I was doing the driving.

It's just good friendship, good chemistry, but also business. I'm business. I'm at work every day. It's just a good team. Chip, Felix, Teresa, have assembled a good team.

JAMIE McMURRAY: I think it's coincidence a little bit that we've run well at all those big races. After sitting on the pole at Darlington and running second, then going to Chicago with the same car, sitting on the pole, finishing fifth, we had a car that they had given all the updates to, and we were going to bring here. I asked Bono, Any chance we could bring the same car we ran at Darlington and Chicago? He's like, Absolutely. We raced Chicago Saturday. I went to the shop on Monday, the car was stripped down, they were taking it in to repair it.

A lot of it has to do we brought our best stuff and the guys worked hard to get the car ready to come here. Felix said it's because they pay more money. That might have something to do with it.

Q: During qualifying, Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon both pegged your team as well as Juan's team as the main contenders for this race. What does that respect mean to you?

JAMIE McMURRAY: I think that's awesome. It seems like every year you have an organization that is a little bit above the rest. It seems like it's been Roush, it's been Hendricks. I think our organization, I really don't think there's any better cars out there. The science that's behind it, it's not just trial and error. I mean, the engineers do a really good job at using the tools that they have, and those tools function when we get to the track. You can have computer programs that tell you a lot, but if it doesn't function when you get to the track, it doesn't matter.

They just build really fast, lightweight cars. The setups and stuff that go in them, they just work really well. So I think that means a lot to me that that organization who you would consider one of the best thinks that we're a threat.

Q: Chip, Kevin Harvick said something very simple a while ago about what your teams have accomplished this year. He said this will probably never happen again. Your reaction, please?

CHIP GANASSI: I want to thank Richard for giving me the 29 engine this weekend. He gave me the 29 and the 31 engines. I tell him that every week, you know (smiling).

First of all, those guys, they give us great engines, ECR. Kevin and I are old buddies. For him to say that, that's a pretty big statement. He's a great guy and I've always liked him as a friend. I respect him as a driver. I hope I'll learn to respect him as a historian and maybe hope he's right (laughter).

Q: Chip and Jamie, getting back to the Juan situation. This is the second consecutive year he's dominated this race and did not win. You know him pretty well. What effect will this have on him?

CHIP GANASSI: He's probably over it already, I'm sure. I mean, I know he's mad. I'm sure he's mad, but he's over it. It's racing. This is what he does for a living.

Q: Jamie, is there any part of you that has sympathy for what he went through here today and last year?

JAMIE McMURRAY: Absolutely. For anybody that can lead that many laps of a race, they certainly had the best car. It's been their year, though. I would guess that they're not shocked by what's happened today because it seems like they've had a lot of bad luck. I don't know what happened to him. Honestly, I didn't even know he was involved in a wreck until under that caution I saw him walking out of his car. I didn't want to ask what had happened because I was more concerned with what I was doing at the time.

Yeah, I mean, that's hard on anybody to lead that many laps. This is a special place to Juan from winning the Indy 500, being the guy that can be the only guy that's won both those races. So, yeah, that's really tough.

Q: Chip, if you were to speak to a group such as the Kelly School of Business, what would you tell them are the two or three things to building a business for the kind of success you've had?

CHIP GANASSI: I don't know. Hard work, passion and sacrifice. That's what I'd tell 'em. Does that answer it?

Q: It's not going to fill up much column space (laughter).

CHIP GANASSI: You got to work hard at what you want to do. You got to work hard at it. It's the only way I've figured out how to do it: work hard at it. You got to turn the other ear to a lot of things and turn your head to a lot of things and keep focused on what you're trying to do. Stay on your plan. I can't tell you how many times, I mean, we've been staying on our plan for a long time, how we go racing week in and week out. We've been staying on plan for a long time. So you got to sacrifice. You can't listen to other people. You got to make sacrifices. You have to pick and choose sometimes, make a call, A or B, X or Y, make a left or right. Those are tough calls you have to make. But you have to plan your work and work your plan and have some passion about what you're doing. You have to love what you're doing. I love what I'm doing.

Like I said, I'm privileged to be in this for a living and honored to represent the people we represent and the companies we represent. I'm a lucky guy.

Q: I'm assuming you have not spoken to Juan at this point?

CHIP GANASSI: I haven't spoken to him.

Q: Jamie, you were talking about how appreciative you are, how great it is to be back with Chip. Do you ever wonder what if you never left what might have happened?

JAMIE McMURRAY: We're not dating. I mean, we're not (smiling).

I know where you're going with that. I think that me leaving was good for me. You know what I'm saying? I know by me leaving it's made me appreciate the situation I'm in, the relationships I have with Chip, Felix and Teresa. Even though he just informed me that's not the same car we ran at Darlington and Chicago, I would say, I'm sorry, I forgot to call you (smiling).

CHIP GANASSI: That's what I like about Jamie, he's got his finger on the pulse of everything going on.

JAMIE McMURRAY: Honestly, I don't think it would be the same if I had not left. Our friendship is much more than it ever was before. For me, it's because I've matured so much from when I was here before and learned a lot.

Q: Felix, when this whole fiasco started with Chip Ganassi being an IndyCar owner coming into NASCAR, I seriously challenged whether he was going to go through with it. You teamed up with him and stuck with him in one of the longest contracts you've had. What made it work for you?

FELIX SABATES: He wasn't a fiasco. He saved my butt.

Chip and I have been friends for a long time. When I got a call from mutual friends that he wanted to come to NASCAR, it was music to my ears. Chip is the most dedicated person in racing I ever met. If you cut his veins, motor oil would come out of his veins. We have come together for 11 years, and we had one argument, and that was who was going to buy dinner here in Indianapolis.

If I don't talk to him at least once a day, there's something wrong with him or vice versa. So we have the relationship that it breeds winning because everybody in the race shop see that him and I speak from the same side. So it's been a great ride.

The guy that got to feel like an idiot tonight has to be Jack Roush. He's the one that let him go.

CHIP GANASSI: Inches from a clean getaway (laughter).

Q: Jamie, eighth race here in Indianapolis. You were third in '03. Had your best start today. Qualifying, racing here in Indianapolis, fourth time in the top 10. What are your thoughts on Indianapolis?

JAMIE McMURRAY: You know all my stats.

Q: Your thoughts on Indianapolis? Do you have another favorite track you like to race at?

JAMIE McMURRAY: I mean, I think being a NASCAR guy, Daytona is kind of always -- for me growing up, that was the race I always watched. But when stock cars started coming here, this became a track that everyone wants to win at Daytona and Indy. I told Chip today, we were going to do an appearance together. I told him, When I walked in the garage this morning, there's just a different feeling in here than you get at almost any other racetrack. There's just a lot of energy. And the teams put so much effort into this race, with building new cars. You always bring your best engine here, everything is just the best.

I've always enjoyed coming here. Certainly this is just one of those tracks that every driver would like to say they've been able to win at. Plus we only race here once a year so it makes it twice as hard to be able to have that. It's a very special place, for sure.

Q: Bono and Jamie, not to remind you, you're still chasing the Chase. It's an understatement to say you come to every race looking for a win. What is the philosophy, the wild card of Watkins Glen, how do you get into the Chase?

KEVIN MANION: We're testing tomorrow for Watkins Glen. That will help there. It's going to be tough. But consistency is the key to making the Chase. We had a string there, second, 34th, second, 30th. The seconds are cool, but the 30ths don't cut it.

I think there's six more races to the Chase, or five. It's just going to be five top fives. We picked up another 30 points today. 30 times five is 150. We're 151 out. It's going to take some good, strong runs. That's all I got to say.

JAMIE McMURRAY: Well, I view the Chase differently I think. Every time I pay attention to points, we run 30th. I don't even really care where we're at in points. I think you show up every week, do your job. If you make the Chase, that's wonderful.

Everyone wants to make the Chase. Getting to win the Daytona 500 and the Brickyard 400 means more to me this year than making the Chase. This year or in 10 years, the guy that won that race one time everybody will talk about. The guy that finished third in the points, nobody cares. I would really like to be in the Chase, but I have no focus on that at all. I know Bono doesn't want to hear that, but I don't.

THE MODERATOR: Gentlemen, congratulations. Thank you for your time.

-source: nascar

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jeff Gordon , Kevin Harvick , Greg Biffle , Jimmie Johnson , Chip Ganassi