JAMIE McMURRAY (No. 42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge Charger) NOTE: McMurray scored a career-best runner-up finish in last fall's Cup race at Martinsville and won the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race here last fall. COMMENT ON BRISTOL PENALTIES...
JAMIE McMURRAY (No. 42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge Charger)
NOTE: McMurray scored a career-best runner-up finish in last fall's Cup race at Martinsville and won the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race here last fall.
COMMENT ON BRISTOL PENALTIES "Bristol frustrates everybody and every driver has his own side of the story when something happens. NASCAR has put a standard on penalties whether it's giving the finger or whatever it is. They give the same penalty to everybody. I don't have an in-car camera every week, but guys who do will have to be a little more careful. Every situation is different, but you can't penalize one guy for something and not penalize the next. If something happens to me at Martinsville this weekend and I get penalized, I'm not going to get upset because they've done the same for everybody. NASCAR has been real good for that."
IS IT TOUGH RUNNING BACK-TO-BACK SHORT TRACK RACES? "Some guys got upset last week, and I'd say this is probably a pretty good place to pay 'em back. I think you're better off at a place like this rubbing on somebody because the speeds aren't as fast as going to Texas right after Bristol. You can't get away with stuff like that at Texas and if you try you could really hurt somebody. Here, you can do a little bit of that and it's not that big of a deal. You can wreck hard here, but if you tear up a guy's car here you have to go on because he can run as fast as he could before. If you tear up your car at Texas, you're done. I love coming to Bristol and Martinsville. These are two really great racetracks, and we can put on a good show, plus I run well at both of them."
YOU FELL OUT OF THE TOP 10 LAST WEEK. IS THAT A BIG DEAL RIGHT NOW? "We ran third to seventh last week for the majority of the race and some of the guys ahead of us in the points fell out. We could have gone up as high as sixth if we could have finished in the top five, but we fell to 15th. It's really frustrating because Bristol and Martinsville are two races we really felt like we could gain a lot of points."
DO YOU HAVE THE SAME DODGE YOU FINISHED SECOND WITH HERE LAST FALL? "No, we've got a brand new car. We tested this car at Phoenix. We actually took the car I ran second with here last year to Phoenix and tested it against this car. I told them I wanted to bring the new car back, so we did. Qualifying is very important here, but last year I was running second or third and I missed the commitment line and I went all the way back to the end of the longest line. When you do that, you have to do your pit strategy opposite of the leaders and pit when they don't and stay out when they pit. Last year we went from 31st to second on one pit stop because we stayed out. Fortunately pit stops came again 50 laps later and it worked out perfectly. If you have a good car it's not a big deal to get in the back at a place like this or even at Bristol but if you don't have a good car it can be huge."
YOU'RE WEARING A MASTERS CAP. WHAT'S THAT ALL ABOUT? "Top-Flite is my sponsor on my Busch car, so I'm into golf. Chevron-Texaco was nice enough to take me to the Masters on Monday and Tuesday. I went and hung out and got to watch Tiger and Phil Mickelson and all these guys play some golf. They have this thing called The Tree, and it's where all the golfers and agents and companies hang out and make all their deals. We hung out under the tree and talked with everybody. I had a wonderful time. I'm trying to make some deals, yeah. I'm a weekend golfer. Rusty enjoys playing, and I've played with him a few times. Casey lives on a golf course. I'm not an avid golfer, but I'm a Monday and Tuesday golfer. For me, golf is not a serious sport. It's something I go and relax and have fun at. If the day doesn't go right, I throw another ball down and hit again. I'm average. I'm not great, but I'm not terrible. Actually I worked at a driving range when I was 14 for a couple of years. I hit a lot of golf balls the two years I worked there. I got into golf a lot at that time, but racing keeps me so busy that golf is something I don't get to do as much as I like."
ARE YOU A BETTER DRIVER IN A CAR OR ON THE GOLF COURSE? "I'm a better driver in a car, for sure. I don't know how far I can drive a golf ball. I can drive it a long way. It just doesn't go straight. I played with Rusty at Dover last year. I can beat Rusty. I'm just kidding. We're probably close. The cool part about playing with Rusty is that he's so competitive I was worried about him getting serious and if things didn't go well he was going to get mad. He's just like me. He went and enjoyed himself, and if he didn't hit a good shot instead of getting mad he just threw another ball down and hit it. That's what I'm all about."