Michigan II: Jamie McMurray race report

McMurray Motors to Fourth-Place Finish in Michigan BROOKLYN, Mich., (August 23, 2004) --- Detroit is known as the "Motor City." Jamie McMurray and the Texaco/Havoline team upheld that reputation yesterday as McMurray motored to a ...

McMurray Motors to Fourth-Place Finish in Michigan

BROOKLYN, Mich., (August 23, 2004) --- Detroit is known as the "Motor City." Jamie McMurray and the Texaco/Havoline team upheld that reputation yesterday as McMurray motored to a fourth-place finish in the GFS Marketplace 400 at Michigan International Speedway.

The fourth-place finish was McMurray's fifth top-five and 12th top-10 finish of the season. McMurray maintains 15th place in NASCAR NEXTEL Cup points, but has closed to within 70 points of breaking into the NASCAR Top 10 and earning a spot in the Chase for the Championship.

"We had a great run today," McMurray said. "This Texaco/Havoline Dodge was up near the front most of the day and there at one point when we were leading, I thought it was going to be our day."

"Kasey (Kahne) finished behind me and Dale (Jarrett) finished right in front of me," McMurray added. "That's all we can do, go and try to win every race. Unfortunately for us those other guys had real good days. Everyone in the top 15 in points is capable of running good and winning races. It'll be interesting to see what happens at Bristol next week. We've got three to go to make the top 10 and when one of those three is Bristol, anything could happen."

After qualifying was rained out for the second consecutive week, the field was set by 2004 car owner points, placing McMurray 15th on the starting grid.

In the early stages of the race McMurray radioed his crew that his Texaco/Havoline Dodge was "tight in the middle and free off." By lap 12, McMurray had blasted his way into the top 10.

During a caution period on lap 45, McMurray headed for pit road for two tires and fuel while the Texaco/Havoline team made air pressure and wedge adjustments to free the car up. McMurray exited pit road in fourth place.

McMurray maintained a top-five position by lap 80 and rocketed the Texaco/Havoline Dodge into the lead on lap 83. McMurray would hold the top spot for three laps.

As the race reached the midpoint, McMurray found himself running inside the top 10 as the Texaco/Havoline team continued to make adjustments to the car with each scheduled pit stop. By lap 150, McMurray was running in fifth place.

The team made its final pit stop during a green-flag run on lap 175. McMurray was fitted with four tires and fuel while another air pressure adjustment was made. He exited the pits in fourth place.

In the closing laps of the race, McMurray was in a heated battle with rookie driver Kahne as the duo exchanged fourth place for several laps. But when the dust settled and the checkered flag waved, McMurray proved to be the victor as he crossed the finish in fourth place ahead of Kahne.

Next up for the Texaco/Havoline team is the fast, high-banked, half-mile oval of Bristol Motor Speedway in Tennessee for the running of the Sharpie 500 this Saturday night under the lights.

-cgr-

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jamie McMurray