JAMIE McMURRAY (No. 42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge) "I don't really care (rank in the standings during the race). The only time that's going to be important is if you aren't running well and there's 30 or 40 laps to go and some of these other guys...
JAMIE McMURRAY (No. 42 Texaco/Havoline Dodge)
"I don't really care (rank in the standings during the race). The only time that's going to be important is if you aren't running well and there's 30 or 40 laps to go and some of these other guys fall out and they say if you can just maintain what you have... Everybody has been running well it seems like from eighth to 15th in points every week. For us, it's the same deal. We'll go and try to win the race or at least finish in the top five. If you can do that, you'll probably make it in. If not, you probably won't.
"Getting to run the truck race last night was a lot of fun for me. It took my mind off all of this. I'm pretty young. I've never had any stress in my life. I've had a pretty good life, so this is just something that's hard not to think about. The sleepless nights I've had were when I got this ride. Now, it's all about laying there at night and hoping you can make it in. You're close like all these guys are. I never would have thought it would have come down to this, not only with being 11th, 25 points out, but so many of us within the 400-point range. Jimmie and those guys checked out early in the year, and now they're having bad days. For me, I hope those guys have bad days and we all get in.
"I don't have to keep my guys pumped up. Even with everything that's gone on with my contract and all that, actually when all that happened, my team started running better and everybody's attitude got better. I really don't know why. We've run well all season, but for the last six weeks we've run really well. My guys are all pumped up and pretty excited. As far as the 25 points, we've blown up four or five engines and drug a hole in the oil pan at Daytona this year and didn't finish, got wrecked here. We've run well enough to be in the top 10, but when you have six or seven DNF's that's why we're here right now. You can't reflect on just one thing. I know the guys in my fab shop or on suicide watch right now. They all came up to me this week and like, 'please, just anything to do to get in so the 25 points we took away doesn't keep you from getting in.' I'm not mad at those guys. It was just a mistake. We wouldn't be here right now if we had just finished all the races.
"I think everyone deserves to be in. As close as it is, it's not really fair for 20 points to keep two or three guys out. In Jeremy's case, 55 points. I think that would be cool to see 15 guys in this chase. It would be a little more exciting, and my sponsor would be happy, too.
JEREMY MAYFIELD (No. 19 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge)
"I think we all know we've got to be in the top five or top three to get in this thing. I'm just going to try to finish in the top three or win the thing. If you're out of the top 10 (in the race) then you might be wondering what you have to do to get up there (top 10 in points). For us, we have to win the race or finish in the top three to have a shot at it, and that's what we're going to do.
"I don't think so (change driving style). We've got to go all out and run as hard as we can. Whether that means being aggressive or not being aggressive, I think you have to be. That doesn't mean going in there and taking somebody out and causing a lot of wrecks, either. It just means racing hard. That's what we've all pretty much been doing anyway. You can still see a lot of good racing and not have the cautions. That would be fine, too. I'd say we've all got to go out and run as hard as we've been running and see what happens.
"When all that stuff happened last year my team started running good, and we've been decent since. They're as pumped up as they've ever been. We had a bad week last week with pit stops, but it was just a normal deal. Everybody is pumped up right now. Kenny (Francis) my crew chief doesn't say very much anyway. I don't know if he's slept or not. I think he has, but I think everybody is in good shape.
"It would be cool for all of us to be in. I think it would be a better show if 15 of us were running for the championship.
"The one thing that sticks out in my mind is Sears Point when we were going to finish in the top 10 with seven or eight laps to go. I went over whatever number hill that is and spun out and tore the transmission out and all that stuff and ended up 30 something. For me personally that sticks out in my mind, but there were a lot of little instances that happened throughout the year you look back on. You can't look back in this sport. You've got to look forward. It's a cumulative points system and it starts in Daytona. You can't make it all up in one week, either. You can't look back. You've got to look forward and not worry about it.
"This is almost like a non-points race for us. If we don't finish at least in the top three, we're not going to make it. You've still got to be there at the end. I'm not going to take any chances I wouldn't take in the past, but I'm going to be running extremely hard.
"I'm excited about it. I'm glad to be a part of this. I don't have anything negative to say about it (points system). It's helped us either way. It's going to be good when it's over. It's going to be a relief either way. There's a bunch on the line, but it's all good. Kasey has been running good, and we've got a shot to get both cars in the top 10. Our guys have been positive through all of this and nobody is down."