Kansas: Jamie McMurray race report

Jamie McMurray Scores Top-10 Finish in Front of Hometown Crowd KANSAS CITY, Kan., (October 5, 2003) --- The phrase "There's no place like home" echoed the thoughts of NASCAR Winston Cup Series driver Jamie McMurray today in the Banquet 400 at ...

Jamie McMurray Scores Top-10 Finish in Front of Hometown Crowd

KANSAS CITY, Kan., (October 5, 2003) --- The phrase "There's no place like home" echoed the thoughts of NASCAR Winston Cup Series driver Jamie McMurray today in the Banquet 400 at Kansas Speedway. McMurray, driver of the No. 42 Havoline Dodge for Chip Ganassi Racing, finished in the eighth position and scored his 10th top-10 finish of the 2003 season.

McMurray, a native of nearby Joplin, Mo. was pleased with his effort in front of the hometown crowd.

"The car wasn't very good in happy hour so we made the right adjustments again and Donnie (Wingo, crew chief) did a really good job on making the right pit calls there at the end," McMurray said. "We were up front and pit strategy put us in the back and he got us back up front again. It was a pretty good day for the Havoline team. If the cautions hadn't come out, we would have finished third or fourth. I really thought the cautions would help us but we got jumbled up in those lap cars. It's just hard to get by lap cars."

"We've been in the top-10 every week so that's all you can ask for," McMurray added. "I'm glad we were able to get this Havoline Dodge up front and in contention for the win. It was a special weekend to have my family and friends there with me."

After qualifying 15th, McMurray wasted little time getting his Dodge to the front and by lap five was running eighth. By lap 38 McMurray's Havoline Dodge was running in the sixth position.

During a scheduled green-flag pit stop on lap 58, McMurray came to the attention of his crew and was fitted with four Goodyear tires and fuel as the crew made an air pressure and wedge adjustment to correct a tight condition. Lightning fast work by the Havoline crew enable McMurray to re-enter the race in the sixth position.

As the race reached the middle stages, McMurray was fighting a tight racecar as the Havoline Dodge was running 13th on lap 130.

During a caution period on lap 181, Crew Chief Donnie Wingo made a call that would pay off big for the Havoline team later in the race. Knowing that he could not make it on gas, Wingo called McMurray into the pits during the caution period to get four tires and fuel and a chassis adjustment. This pit strategy would allow McMurray to come in and only take fuel in the later stages of the race while the leaders would need to pit for tires and fuel, thus giving McMurray excellent track position.

McMurray restarted the race from the 19th position, but Wingo's pit strategy soon paid off as the caution flag waved on lap 200. As the leaders headed for pit road, McMurray took fuel only and exited the pits in the third position.

With 25 laps to go, McMurray's Havoline Dodge continued to run third as he was in the mist of a spirited battle with Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson. McMurray and Gordon's cars made contact down the front stretch, shoving in the left front nose of McMurray's Dodge. McMurray's car began to smoke as a tire was rubbing against the fender.

The smoke dissipated a few laps later and McMurray was able to continue his charge. When the checkered flag waved on the Banquet 400, McMurray's Havoline Dodge crossed the finish line in the eighth position.

The finish was McMurray's 10th top-10 finish of the season and his fifth top-10 finish in the last seven races.

McMurray took top Raybestos® Rookie honors for the 16th time this season. He was the only first-year driver to place inside the top-10. McMurray has taken top rookie honors in the last seven consecutive races and in nine of the past 10 Winston Cup events.

McMurray leaves Kansas 17th in NASCAR Winston Cup Series points and is only 138 points out of 15th place with six races remaining. McMurray also extended his lead in the Raybestos Rookie-of-the-Year battle. McMurray now holds a 25-point lead over Greg Biffle.

Next up for McMurray and the Havoline team is Lowe's Motor Speedway, the site of McMurray's shocking victory last fall in the No. 40 Dodge. McMurray's victory last fall at Lowe's Motor Speedway set a new NASCAR modern as he became the quickest driver to win a NASCAR Winston Cup race. It was McMurray's second Winston Cup start

The UAW-GM Quality 500 will get the green flag this Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. EST.

-cgr-

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jeff Gordon , Greg Biffle , Jimmie Johnson , Jamie McMurray , Chip Ganassi
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing