Martinsville: McMurray, Friedman - Friday media visit

Jamie McMurray, driver of the No. 26 Crown Royal Ford Fusion, and Russ Friedman participated in a press conference this afternoon regarding the Russ Friedman 400 at Richmond. JAMIE MCMURRAY: "I went to the Walter Reed Hospital in January.

Jamie McMurray, driver of the No. 26 Crown Royal Ford Fusion, and Russ Friedman participated in a press conference this afternoon regarding the Russ Friedman 400 at Richmond.

JAMIE MCMURRAY: "I went to the Walter Reed Hospital in January. Crown Royal and Diageo actually invited me to go to President Obama's inauguration and before we went to the inauguration on Sunday we went up and Crown Royal took the showcar over to the Walter Reed Hospital and we got to go through the hospital. If you guys have ever been there, it's very touching and it's remarkable when you talk to the injured troops, you really don't know how what to say when you first walk into the room. I was just amazed how every one of them would tell you that they want to get better so that they can go back and go overseas and fight for our country. When that was over, Christy and I were on our way home and I was talking to my agent and we talked that we would like to do something to give back to everyone. There are a lot of drivers that do things and we just felt like it would be a really good idea to get the foundation involved in this and to try and give back. So we kind of went over different ideas of what we could do and then when we made the announcement for the Your Name Here 400 in Daytona, I met Russ and it was the same thing over again. As soon as they told Russ that he would have the race named after him, which is a once in a lifetime opportunity, he immediately wanted to figure out a way to give back to all the other soldiers. It reminded me of meeting everyone at Walter Reed, so I met with Crown Royal and what we decided to do to try to give back is we're gonna give away 80 tickets at each race to soldiers and we're gonna give a total of 400 tickets away, so ti's gonna be 80 tickets for each race leading up to the race at Richmond. On top of that, we're going to have someone from a local unit serve as an honorary member of the Crown Royal 26 pit crew. This weekend it is Sgt. Ashley Ayers is gonna join us in the pits and hopefully see our car go to Victory Lane. This is just a way for the Jamie McMurray Foundation to give back to our troops. Again, it's hard for me to explain how inspiring it is to meet the troops and then when I met Russ, he had the same initial reaction and it just made you want to do something nice. So I have to thank Crown Royal, obviously, and the foundation for doing all of this."

RUSS FRIEDMAN: "First off, I have to thank Crown Royal and Jamie. I can't thank them enough and tell them how much this all means to me, getting my message out there that this is all about the troops. When I entered the contest, it took me a couple of days to be OK with it because I wouldn't be OK with it if I won for myself receiving the purple hearts, so I kind of said, 'If I do it can I do it about the other men and women?' And that sat right with me, so I went ahead and did it. When you're over there, morale is everything. I can't tell you how important that is. I'm sure it's kind of similar with the drivers if you're having a low couple of weeks, you've got to get your spirits up. Crown Royal, Jamie and everything they've been doing really helps the men and women overseas. They feel inspired because they know we're all behind them and that's what this is all about for me -- making sure they know that we are still behind them. They've gone above and beyond my expectations. I can imagine what's ahead for everything they've done. In addition to the tickets that Jamie mentioned, they're gonna be giving to local men and women from other local units, as you see behind me we have some stuff here. We have a hood with the race replica on it, 'Crown Royal Presents the Russ Friedman 400,' and we also have this gigantic card over here. So what's gonna happen is the drivers at Richmond are gonna be able to sign this hood and it's gonna be sent overseas to the troops to boost their morale, and this card over here is gonna be opened at every track from Martinsville to Richmond and fans, media, everybody is gonna be able to sign it and maybe say a little something just to say thank you, and then we're gonna ship that all overseas to them. I know their efforts won't go unnoticed, what Jamie and Crown Royal are doing, because once this gets over there, it's definitely gonna be a big boost in morale. I can't thank them enough."

JAMIE MCMURRAY: HOW MANY TROOPS DID YOU SEE AT THE HOSPITAL? "I think we met a total of about 12. Some of them were not in their rooms when we would show up. It wasn't a tremendous amount, but we spent maybe 15-20 minutes with each of them. Most of them had their families there and it's amazing when you go there how all of them are fans of NASCAR. There were lots of racing questions."

-credit: ford racing

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jamie McMurray